Someday soon, most likely during the latter part of this month, the doors of the new Mercury Chop House will open, and patrons of fine cuisine will walk through them. And they’ll quickly realize they are party to one of the more exciting grand openings in the city’s recent history.
That’s saying a mouthful, given the various grand openings going on in Arlington these days and in the days to come. But when you note the history behind the new restaurant – and the future ahead – you’ll be tempted to lift a glass of whatever beverage was just served you by the friendly, attentive wait person at Mercury Chop House to give a toast to Jim Ross and Zack Moutaouakil, the new restaurant’s owners.
As for the history, consider where the Mercury Chop House is located: 2221 E. Lamar Blvd., specifically on the ninth floor of one of the few buildings in the city to have nine floors. Yes, the city’s newest high-end eatery is moving into the spot where one of its legendary high-end eateries, Cacharel, once thrived.
Then consider what Mercury Chop House represents. In Fort Worth, where the original MCH is located, it’s one of the “go to” places for great food and fellowship – a spot where deals get closed and marriages get started. In other words, a resoundingly successful commercial and social hot spot in just its first year of existence.
And the future? Ross and Moutaouakil are counting on two tried-and-true business strategies to ensure that Mercury Chop House’s stay in its lofty locale will be as celebrated as that of its predecessor: one principal who knows the restaurant industry and another who knows a lot of people.
“I’ve been in the restaurant business since 1981,” says Moutaouakil. “My dad had a restaurant in southern Spain, and I learned a great deal from him.”
In fact, he learned enough to work his way through the M Group family of restaurants, whose signature establishment, Mi Cocina, is also a Fort Worth favorite, before opening Mercury Chophouse in 2016.
Ross, meanwhile, is one of Arlington’s premier and more popular attorneys after serving in the Marines, as a local policeman and DEA officer, and as a longtime principal with the Arlington Police Foundation. Over the past several decades, he has made many friends in the Arlington area, not the least of whom is his new business partner.
“We’re really more like family,” Ross says of Moutaouakil. “There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for him or him for me. When we first talked about the idea, I jumped at the chance to be a part of this.”
Moutaouakil says the Arlington Mercury Chop House will feature more cuts of meat than are offered at the original restaurant. “It also will offer more of a modern steakhouse look, with a lot of wood, chandeliers, an entertainment lounge, a bar and a piano bar,” he says. “The dining room will be divided into three sections that include areas for intimate dining experiences as well as a private room for group gatherings.”
Mercury Chop House, which will employ upwards of 30 staff members, is tentatively scheduled to open on Oct. 15. Operating hours will be 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on weeknights and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. on Sundays. It will be open just during dinner hours on Saturdays.
“I couldn’t be more excited,” Ross says.
Arlington, no doubt, shares that thought.