Philip Romano, Restaurant Artist

In 2010, Joe Palladino’s phone rang. On the other end was Philip Romano, his partner in three Dallas restaurants, asking him to come out to the undeveloped 65-acre lot Romano co-owned in West Dallas, Texas. The restaurateur said he had something to show his friend. Palladino arrived to find Romano excitedly sketching out a development plan — a row of restaurants side-by-side near the Trinity River that bisects Dallas.

Palladino, a fellow restaurateur, was astonished at how quickly the plan evolved before his eyes. “He’s like a mad scientist, just putting stuff together,” he says of watching his partner of 15 years work. What Romano was inventing on the spot was a restaurant incubator, Trinity Groves, which began operating in 2012 and so far has two restaurants serving customers, with more expected to open this year. For the remaining 20 or so spots in the incubator, the founders have chosen 12 more restaurant concepts from about 270 applications.

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