Fry Street home to new family owned and operated bar

Fry Street home to new family owned and operated bar

Fry Street home to new family owned and operated bar
October 19
15:23 2016

Next door to Salata and across the street from Riprocks and Lucky Lou’s is Fry Street’s newest local business, Caskey’s Bar and Grill. What used to be Hickory and Fry, a craft-cocktail bar and tapas restaurant, is now a family owned and operated bar and grill, serving small batch whiskeys and Texas-local brews.

The crew had their soft opening on Oct. 7 and, once they have all the kinks worked out behind the bar and in the kitchen, will soon celebrate their grand opening, though no date has been set yet.

At the soft opening, friends and family of the crew got to see the major selling points of the new bar. Some of the custom pieces incorporated into the business include handmade oak-paneling around the bar and the bar’s refrigerator, a custom cut copper bar top, rustic, hand-painted walls and repurposed railroad wood as footboards. In addition, Caskey’s will be serving drinks from local distilleries, including Texas-local beers from the Deep Ellum Brewing Co. in Dallas and Armadillo Ale Works in Denton and local whiskeys from the Firestone and Robertson Distillery Co. in North Texas.

Extra copper sheeting from the bar top was used as the backdrop for the draft taps behind the bar. Kyle Martin

Extra copper sheeting from the bar top was used as the backdrop for the draft taps behind the bar. Kyle Martin

Almost everything in Caskey’s is custom designed and hand-picked by two of the establishment’s co-owners and managers, Casey Glenn, 36, and Mitchell Hooten, 33.

“We’ve talked about doing this forever,” Glenn said. “This has been a goal of Mitchell and I’s ever since we were little kids. I mean literally, since we were [in] junior high, high school, we were always like, ‘One day we’re going to own a bar, it’s gonna be sweet,’ and we finally just decided to pull the trigger.”

Having lived in Denton their whole lives, the pair saw fit to put their dream to work in the town they grew up in, adding to the ‘everything-local’ theme they wanted to incorporate into the bar.

“We wanted to provide something where people can actually come in, calm down, unwind and have a nice cocktail,” Hooten said. “We wanted to keep offering the sipping drinks and not necessarily the chugging style that you typically get out of these bars.”

Glenn and Hooten have both been involved in the service and bar industries for years and have brought their experiences together to come up with a bar all their own. Apart from their separate endeavors, they both worked at the Fry Street bar, Riprocks, years ago and have close relationships with many of the bar owners, managers and employees.

“Really a lot of our friends at other bars have helped us out,” Mitchell said. “We’re all a really tight bar family in Denton.”

Apart from an ‘everything-local’ theme, the duo wanted things to be old-fashioned and simple. When thirsty patrons walk in, they’ll likely hear old 60s music, a la Otis Redding, playing across the sound system to match the feel of the bar.

Despite the handmade feel of the establishment, the copper bar top was the one thing the pair wanted to stand out.

“This is going to be the cornerstone of the bar,” Glenn said. “This is what you want everyone to see when they come in and talk about, and it’s worked. So far the reception of the bar top has been good.”

Gayla Hooten-Caskey, Hooten’s mother, is one of the other co-owners of Caskey’s Bar and Grill as well as a partner at Riprocks and other businesses. Her husband is also a Caskey’s co-owner. Between herself, her son and Glenn, she says they have roughly 37 years of combined industry experience.

In front of the bar, close to the ceiling, a photograph of Hooten's great-grandparents is perched on the wall. They are the "Caskeys" whom the bar is named after. Kyle Martin

In front of the bar, close to the ceiling, a photograph of Hooten’s great-grandparents is perched on the wall. They are the “Caskeys” whom the bar is named after. Kyle Martin

In front of the bar, close to the ceiling, a photograph of Hooten’s great-grandparents is perched on the wall. They are the “Caskeys” whom the bar is named after. Family is a significant part of the makeup of the bar, as all of the co-owners are family to each other. The photograph sits as a tribute to the family name.

She said watching her family come up with a concept and see it through to realization has made her proud.

“One is my son and the other is my ‘chosen son’ because they’ve been best friends forever,” Hooten-Caskey said. “To be able to do something like this with our family [and] work together like this and to fulfill a dream is just amazing.”

Hooten-Caskey said that, after listening to customers and clientele for so many years, they are working towards bringing the people what they want.

“We’re trying to give something to Fry Street for everyone,” Hooten-Caskey said.

For the bar’s food menu, which is still being developed, Hooten-Caskey will be putting together what she calls the ‘Blue Plate Special,’ which will be “whatever [Gayla] feels like cooking that day.”

The special pays homage to homestyle comfort food that she’s dished out to her kids and employees for years.

“Come get a little bit of Mama Gayla’s comfort food and you’ll feel better,” she said. “When it’s gone, it’s gone.”

Along with the Blue Plate Special, the bar’s main attraction and theme to the menu will be ‘Frys on Fry.’ Menu items, like chicken fried steak, hot wings, chicken and dumplings, spaghetti and more will be served over a bed of fries of the customer’s choice.

Colton Notley, 25, stopped in for a beer at the bar for the first time this week to see what the buzz was about. A kitchen manager at Fry Street Tavern, former UNT communications major and a Denton resident of five years, Notley said he has known Gayla for a while and promised he’d come out and check out their new site. Like the bar staff at Caskey’s, Notley said there is a “camaraderie” around the conglomerate of businesses, specifically the bars on Fry Street, wherein people support each other.

“It’s ‘if you do well, we do well,’” Notley said. “Everybody knows each other. It’s a community.”

He said that though the overall atmosphere of Denton is not what it used to be five years ago, this new establishment is something valuable. Being that it’s a local company ran by locals, he said it’s a good fit for the town.

“Denton’s changing and this is definitely going to help assist that in, I think, a good way,” Notley said.

Featured Image: Gayla Hooten-Caskey, a co-owner of Caskey’s Bar and Grill, stands admiring her family’s hard work. The copper bar top was custom cut and designed by Ergo Simmons, a local businessman. Kyle Martin

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Kyle Martin

Kyle Martin

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