A “crazy” idea was hatched over beer one night in 2012 when five friends huddled around a fire and decided to open a burger restaurant in their neighborhood of Canyon Creek.
“There was no real crossover reason to get me or him or any of us involved other than thinking ‘that guy would be fun to work with,’” cofounder Greg Cooney said. “So we literally sat around [cofounder Anthony]Bolner’s firepit with a bunch of beer and started brainstorming.”
Six years later, Shady’s Burgers & Brewhaha anchors the II Creeks Plaza development at Custer Parkway just south of Renner Road. The property was once partially owned by Cooney, who was looking to sell the space that Shady’s now occupies before deciding to turn a backyard pipe dream into a reality.
“We felt it was something the neighborhood would want,” cofounder Dave Swiney said.
As fate would have it, the neighbors felt equally compelled to make Shady’s happen. Almost 100 percent of the funding needed to open its doors was generated within the community, Cooney said.
“We raised the money for this restaurant from friends and family in the neighborhood in one month,” he said.
The guys knew from the jump they wanted to serve burgers, Swiney said, but in light of their collective lack of restaurant experience, they hired consultant Larry Levine, founder of Chili’s, to help execute their vision.
“We would get together at our houses and do taste tests,” Swiney said. “We all wanted to be involved in that process to decide what Shady’s was going to be.”
What resulted was a fresh, never-frozen menu that includes seven burgers, hand-cut fries, a selection of “not burgers”—including tacos, chicken tenders and BLTs—salads and appetizers as well as craft beer.
The “neighborhood feel” the founders have prioritized since Day 1 is still palpable at Shady’s, where the roofs of Canyon Creek homes are framed like art by the restaurant’s windows. And even as the business grows—a Lake Highlands location opened in 2016—the goal is to always retain the original vision that made Shady’s a success, Swiney said.
“We want to be very careful about expanding and expanding the right way,” he said. “We are not going to go anywhere unless we are confident there is local support.”
Shady’s Burgers & Brewhaha
2701 Custer Parkway, Ste. 915, Richardson
Hours: Sun.-Wed. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Thu.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.