Last month, the Tin Man Diner opened in Old Town. Specializing in pizza and ice cream, the diner is looking to expand on its menu, while keeping the Old Town tradition and feel.
Owner Craig Jennings said his inspiration for the restaurant came from his passion for pizza and having been in the business prior.
“Probably my two favorite things to eat in the world are pizza and ice cream,” Jennings said.
That pizza is namely specialty pizza, with names such as “Chicken off the Rails,” “Hawaiian on the Hook” and “Marguerite.” Jennings said his pizza is built with quality ingredients and heavy on the toppings.
“We have fresh dough made daily and import our flour from Naples,” Jennings said. “It’s cooked on bricks…veggies are cut fresh daily and the cheese is prepared fresh daily.
Another main component of his restaurant he is introducing is something he called a “Freak Shake.”
“We haven’t rolled them out yet,” he said. “But they’re just off-the-hook shakes.”
Jennings described it as family style. They coat the inside of the rim with a cream, depending on the shake, then stick in the chosen topping, be it Oreo or Reese’s. Finally, they drizzle chocolate on top.
His restaurant will serve Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream, an ice cream store based out of Plano. His menu will also expand over time to items, such as pizza with lobster topping.
Jennings entered the restaurant business in southern California around 16 years ago, taking over a pizza restaurant called First Class. This one restaurant eventually turned into three.
“I had three pizza places and I had three young kids,” Jennings said. “My kids wanted my nights and my weekends and so did the restaurant business.”
Jennings either sold or shut down the three locations.
At the end of November last year, he saw a for-lease sign on the unit. Within the week he had a lease agreement with the landlord. By the end of December he knew what he wanted to serve. He ordered equipment and by the end of February they were open.
“This thing has come really quick and really fast,” Jennings said.
Tin Man manager Jay Lovejoy said his experience so far at the restaurant has been great and spoke highly of his boss.
“He will spend the extra money to make sure it’s a quality product,” Lovejoy said. “It’s so rare.”
Lovejoy also explained the restaurant is part of a “pay it forward” program, where people can donate money with their bill. This allows people who are in need to have access to free slices of pizza.
“I think it’s responsible for a community,” Lovejoy said.
Since the restaurant is a few weeks old, it is still developing its menu and identity. One area Jennings was big on was it helping the identity of Old Town.
“We want to have that Old Town feel and develop and bring people down here,” Jennings said. ”It’s a destination.”
To do this, Jennings has done a couple things to his decor, which includes having his wooden tables burnt on their edges to give them an old-time look. He also brought up the possibility that his restaurant might be home to a couple Lewisville apparitions, as he saw ghost tours occurring on his patio.
He also commended the city on their plan and vision for Old Town, as well as how easy it was to work with them.
To see directions to Tin Man and see their menu, visit their website.