Legendary Lariats and Lavish Dining

By Allie Spletter

Trick Riders (those that perform stunts while riding horseback) are adventurous, passionate, hardworking, courageous, and unafraid to face challenges. They have a unique way about them and seek to continually hone their highly specialized crafts while maintaining balance, poise, and style. They all have one thing in common – a love of pleasing the crowds. As Frisco continues to grow and mold itself into a destination city full of opportunity, character, and excitement, the addition of the upscale dining venue Trick Rider at the Omni PGA Frisco pays homage to its name, authentic Texan rodeo culture, and pleasing crowds from near and far. 

The concept behind Trick Rider was inspired by legendary rodeo trick rider Sydna Yokley Woodyard who earned her spurs growing up on a Texas ranch. Woodyard was a top calf roper and trick rider that performed nationwide and ultimately founded the American Quarter Horse Association. 
 Woodyard’s inspiration is evident as patrons visiting Trick Rider are enveloped into an experiential space thoughtfully designed to celebrate Texas culture and provide an experience centered around exceptional quality, attention to detail, and a genuine pride in serving diners. Walnut herringbone floors and cognac leather and fabrics add elements of texture and luxury throughout the entire space, which leans into Texas culture and solidifies the space’s uniqueness. The restaurant has no shortage of art installations that only add to its character, including a stunning hand-cut crystal chandelier in the shape of a galloping horse (“Cinnamon,” – rumored to be the name of Woodyard’s favorite horse) hanging above the horseshoe-shaped bar, an instillation of hand-painted vintage belts with patterns that give a nod to Western culture, and a stunning display of vintage pistols. Subtle yet impactful additions to the restaurant’s character and decor include Texas Lone Stars sewn into the banquettes, a breathtaking painted Texas “sky” on the ceiling in the center of the space, and a balanced mix of colors and textures throughout, offering a simple, timeless elegance.
Executive Chef Joe Riojas thoughtfully created the entire menu, and it complements the essence of Trick Rider as he set out to create an experience for diners that offers a timeless menu highlighting Texas artisans’ ingredients and unmatched quality and technique. Chef Riojas’ experience precedes his work at Trick Rider, having built a decorated career working with and for famed chef and restauranteur José Andrès’ Think Food Group as well as Major Food Group, each of which includes Michelin Star and James Beard Award-winning restaurants. Chef Riojas has most recently honed and displayed his culinary skills in Dallas’ renowned Carbone and Uchi restaurants. 
When it comes to being an executive chef, he contends that his area of expertise simply lies in top-of-the-line, high-quality products. “We don’t cut any corners,” Chef Riojas admits. “We offer a different element of cookery that we’re doing across the board. So, the design, the techniques, the things that we do back there, again, is simple, but it’s all the small details we take care of.”
He continues, “We’re all able to utilize our creativity when it comes to that, so that’s the coolest thing.”

 Trick Rider’s menu, created by Chef Riojas, celebrates culinary excellence in true Texas fashion, ensuring that “bigger in Texas” is evident as it features large format cuts of meat, including whole fish and lobster. The menu also highlights and features ingredients from Texas artisans. “Our Wagyu tasting is all Texas Wagyu from Rosewood Ranches out of Ennis and A Bar N Ranch in Celina. We use Killer Pecans out of Lucas, Texas, and Bresnan Bread and Pastry out of McKinney for our bread service,” Chef Riojas explains. Chef Riojas most wants patrons to understand that quality is at the center of everything that happens in his kitchen. “I want them to take away how important high-quality ingredients are. You know, we’re not doing anything crazy around here – everything is very simple, but we take our time, everything is incredibly fresh, and we just do really simple food really well,” Chef Riojas admits. 
While food is undeniably a crucial aspect of being a chef, Riojas credits his personal success and the achievements of the restaurants he works for and has worked for to the people involved. “It’s about the group of people you come across and the lifelong friendships and relationships you build,” Chef Riojas says. 
Though Frisco has no shortage of fine dining establishments, Riojas believes that the food, level of service, attention to detail, and quality found at Trick Rider are all significant contributors to what sets it apart. 
The kitchen of any restaurant is where the magic happens, but Trick Rider prides itself on its front-of-house experience just as much as it does its food, and General Manager Edgar Fernandez works closely with Chef Riojas to give diners an incredible experience. His decorated career has taken him around the world, and his expertise and leadership stem from 30+ years in 5-Star and 5-Diamond hotel properties in New York City, Berlin, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, to name a few. His management experience ranges from Front Office to Food and Beverage operations. Though the shining star at Trick Rider is the food, Fernandez attests that the true experience at Trick Rider lies in the people, too. “There’s a difference in service and hospitality,” Fernandez clarifies. “Service is the actual act of serving, but hospitality is how we make that person feel, so that’s our goal here. We have the opportunity to share great experiences and great memories.”

 Fernandez believes Trick Rider sets itself apart by creating an authentic experience for diners. “It’s the blend and the balance between the senses…” he explains. “…the food, the music, and the actual feeling of being welcomed, appreciated, and recognized each time you dine with us, which, hopefully, again creates those memories that bring you back each time.” Even more so than the stunning art installations and architecture of the space, Fernandez believes the energy of the space diners experience when they arrive deeply plays into Trick Rider’s uniqueness. “It’s alive; it’s vibrant; it’s exciting. You have a horseshoe-shaped bar that allows you to engage people and look at them. There is privacy in the booths, but you also have engaging parts of the space that allow for interaction and a little more involvement – to be part of the space.”

Through the process of opening a new restaurant, Fernandez maintains that his point of pride is his team. “I’m so proud of the team I have now and how individuals come from different experiences and restaurants come together. It’s as challenging as it is the most rewarding,” Fernandez concludes. “If you have a positive team and take care of them well, that transcends to people they engage with. It’s contagious. And lastly, having them be able to instill trust in the person they speak to and allow the customer to have an incredible culinary experience.”

 New Texans, Native Texans, and visitors alike can experience an authentic dining experience that allows them to walk out feeling like they’ve tasted Texas in an incredibly thoughtful, imaginative, and stunning venue and a uniquely Texas ambiance. A man once said, “Texas New Texans, native Texans, and visitors alike can take in an authentic dining experience that allows them to walk out feeling like they’ve tasted Texas in an incredibly thoughtful, imaginative, and stunning venue with a uniquely Texas ambiance. A man once said, “Texas is neither southern nor western. Texas is Texas,” and Trick Rider has done an incredible job at establishing its uniqueness and tried and true pride in all it does. This new upscale addition to Frisco’s restaurant repertoire is making both Frisco and Texas alike proud. We’re sure glad you’re here, Trick Rider; keep making us proud!
Trick Rider is in the Omni PGA Frisco Resort, and the Texas-style supper club’s well-rounded menu features items and experiences ranging from signature steaks, seafood, and shellfish dishes, including caviar service, a 45-day dry-aged Tomahawk, a Grand Wagyu Beef Tasting, and Australian Lobster Tail. Reservations recommended.
To learn more visit omnihotels.com/hotels/pga-frisco.
Allie Spletter is the Managing Editor of Frisco STYLE.
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