The train station that put Keller on the map more than a century ago is long gone but a new restaurant called the Station Patio Icehouse wants to capitalize on that history.
The train-themed eatery will bring burgers, hot dogs, steak and chicken kabobs, salads and other American-style fare to Old Town Keller. They’ll have 15 beers on tap and more in the bottle, including several from local craft breweries.
Renovations are going on now at the former La Casita Mexican Cuisine with plans to open the Station Patio Icehouse by late September.
The restaurant concept is the brainchild of Rick Figueroa, a developer, and Randy Brown, an executive with BoomerJack’s. They were originally going to build the first location in North Richland Hills but they fell in love with Old Town Keller.
“We went from not planning to do anything in Keller to starting our first location there,” Figueroa said.
It was the city’s $4 million investment in new roads, pedestrian walkways and utility lines in Old Town Keller that drew Figueroa to build in Keller.
“The stars aligned when we found this place,” Figueroa said. “There’s the whole history of the railroad station. There’s an historic railroad locomotive right in front of our building. That’s why a lot of things jelled.”
The restaurant will have a 3,000-square-foot interior dining space, an 1,800 square-foot climate-controlled patio and a 3,000-square-foot beer garden with cornhole, fire pits and lounge chairs.
Figueroa has a background in metal fabrication so the restaurant will have rustic, vintage decor throughout.
The restaurant will have an area called the platform and a replica of the historic Keller water tower.
“It’s going to be a lot different from what’s there already,” Figueroa said, referring to Old Town Keller. “We’re going to try to create what I would refer to as a backyard environment. We’ll have the biggest patio in Keller.”
The patio will also feature two stages, one for quieter acoustic shows and one for bigger shows with amplifiers. The outdoor area will be dog friendly, too.
We believe in this area
Brown cut his teeth at BoomerJack’s, where he’s vice president and minority owner, but this is a chance to do things his way. He said he’s like a mad scientist coming up with new recipes for lunch, dinner, dessert and alcoholic drinks.
"It’s been 30 years in the making," said Brown, a Keller resident. "This is the first time I’m really fulfilling my dream. We really believe in this area."
There will be a scratch kitchen serving the main part of the restaurant and a food truck serving smaller items in the beer garden area.
"I think we’re going to trick it up to set ourselves apart and get some really good recipes for kabobs, hot dogs and other items," Brown said.
He envisions the outside food truck serving hot dogs and “adult snow cones” mixed with vodka or other liquor.
The Station Patio Icehouse will have a tailgate party with burgers, drinks and face painting from 2 to 11 p.m. July 1 on the restaurant patio, 111 W. Vine St. Construction will still be going on and the restaurant renderings will be on display for the public to view.