Bowling & Dogs: How This Duo Is Improving Restaurants
Mixing cocktails and upping your bowling game, former SMU roommates Kyle Noonan and Joshua Sepkowitz have peppered Dallas—and now San Antonio and soon Houston—with unique restaurant and bar concepts, like Bowl & Barrel. Three years after opening their first business, the founders of the Dallas-based FreeRange Concepts are growing throughout Texas and have their sights set on a Midwest expansion. It was a failed bowling excursion that gave Kyle and Joshua their first idea: creating a bowling alley focused on good food first and bowling second. In 2011, Kyle (who worked in restaurants) and Joshua (who worked in private equity) decided to quit their corporate jobs to start the company. Since then, they have launched three successful Dallas concepts: Bowl & Barrel (the bowling concept), Mutts Canine Cantina (a combo bar/dog park) and The Rustic (a restaurant bar and music venue.)
Kyle tells us they approached all their concepts from a restaurateur’s perspective, rather than a bowling alley that just happened to have some food. After 13 years with the Pappas organization, Kyle says he knows well the importance of food, service and hospitality. Last year, FreeRange began planning for expansion efforts in San Antonio and Houston. Their plans are centered on a trend the guys noticed: putting a Bowl & Barrel into a shopping center resulted in doubled and tripled sales in surrounding spaces. They’re taking advantage of the traffic generated by the destination entertainment by being their own neighbor. This June, the company opened a Bowl & Barrel with a new American tavern concept (called The General Public, which is the only FreeRange concept that’s truly just a restaurant/bar) next door at The Rim (17619 La Cantera Pkwy) in San Antonio.
That same pair of sites will open in early 2016 at Midway’s CityCentre in Houston. Kyle and Joshua plan to continue to co-locate the concepts. (The General Public takes about 3k to 4k SF and Bowl & Barrel takes about 15k SF.) CBRE-UCR’s Jack Breard has secured all of FreeRange’s locations and is searching for more sites in Arizona, Tennessee, Colorado and the Carolinas. Joshua says the concepts will go west and then go east. There are some big projects in the works, and they’d like to open something every four to six months. They declined to release the specifics just yet, but said they hope to have announcements by the end of the year for the next 24 months of projects.