We recently visited The Roost, here in Van Alstyne, had some lunch and then sat down and had an enjoyable chat with owners Ben and Chantae Simmons. We had the opportunity to learn about them, their love for fresh food and how they ended up in Van Alstyne.
Running a small business can be challenging, and opening a restaurant definitely has it’s share of challenges! We wanted to know how Ben and Chantae got into the restaurant business and what brought them to Van Alstyne.
Ben told us: “I’m from the northeast and moved to Dallas in 2009. I’ve always cooked. I’m half Italian, we just always cooked and I like to cook! In New England, where I’m from, they specialize in Deli’s. Everything is made fresh right there, and I always thought that would be so cool down here, because you don’t see anything like that. My background originally, is all insurance. I was the manager of the claims department for Progressive Insurance for 17 years. Nine years in Connecticut and seven or eight here. I was just done with corporate America, and the commute was terrible. It’s always been my dream, and when this space opened up, we just walked into it. We live in Van Alstyne, and if we hadn’t done it, every time I crossed these tracks on my way to work I would have had a ‘what if’ moment, every day. So, we just put all our chips in and said ‘let’s just do it’. I like the concept stuff that we took from everywhere we’ve travelled, San Diego, Florida, Chicago, we took a lot of stuff that we liked at different places, whether it be decor or food and incorporated it into our own, and then while we were opening we started with a very limited menu, and it took two or three months for us to actually open. We officially opened April 11th of 2018. It evolved a lot faster that we thought as far as not only menu, concept, everything changed on a whim, and we just rode it through.”
Chantae said: “My family has restaurants in Dallas called Ojeda’s, and they’ve been established for many years. So growing up, we were kind of part of that, but I never worked there. We bounced ideas off of them, to see if our concepts were good or not. For Ben, it’s a passion, he loves to cook, and I mainly stick to front of the house.
People will ask me ‘what kind a beer goes with this?’ But ultimately, it’s a group effort. Everybody has a hand in it, someone will say ‘hey I saw this the other day and I think it might be cool, can I try it out?’ So, we’ll have the guys try it out and everybody gets to taste it, and if they like it we put it out there as a special.”