Fried food aficionado Isaac Rousso is opening a restaurant concept inside a Plano Walmart store next week that will make the State Fair of Texas a year-round experience, the Dallas Business Journal reports.
As the Journal says: In addition to masterminding fried foods, Rousso and his family operate a booth called Taste of Cuba, the Magnolia Beer Garden, Magnolia Pavilion, Magnolia Smokehouse and the Craft Beer Terrace at the fair. In all, they reach roughly 2 million customers during the two-week event each fall.
Rousso, who calls the fair “the heartbeat of everything I do,” plans to reach at least that many people year-round with the first location of State Fair Treats. The fair-focused eatery will open Sept. 20 at the Plano Walmart, located at 425 Coit Road.
“Walmart was looking for a creative new food concept to energize high-profile locations,” Rousso said, acceding to the Journal. “During the State Fair of Texas, we have the opportunity to serve more than two million people during the fair’s 24-day run. At our first Walmart location alone, we’ll have the chance to see 1.5 to two million people per year.”
The retail giant first approached Rousso during the second week of last year’s fair about bringing innovative food offerings to its locations, Rousso said.
“The main reason was they had seen some stories about us and the creative items we’ve been doing the past few years and realized we have a synergy between our customer bases,” he added. “Since we come up with unique products every year, they thought it would be fun to put something like that in their stores.”
After launching his first location, Rousso plans to open a unit in Ennis and then a couple more in the Plano and McKinney area. By the end of 2017, he expects to have 15 to 20 North Texas locations inside Walmart stores, each ranging between 1,500 and 1,800 s.f.
He also is working with venture capital firms to secure the funding he needs to take the concept national. While he declined to give exact figures, he expects State Fair Treats to reach hundreds of Walmart locations.
The restaurants will feature a 45-item menu with classic fair foods like fried Oreos and Twinkies, pretzel bun sliders and funnel cake fries. Customers also can order some of Rousso’s creations, like last year’s Big Tex Choice Awards finalist the Cowboy Corn Crunch. The concept will serve breakfast items like egg and cheese biscuits and French toast, too.
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