There are two things that newcomers to Texas learn pretty quickly: we like our barbecue and we love our beer, y’all. Plano has no shortage of places to find the latter, but there’s one pub that was designed specifically with beer in mind. Last year alone, they served 811 different types (that’s big, even by Texas standards). It’s aptly named The Holy Grail Pub.
Open since 2009, it’s the joint venture of husband and wife team Brian and Christi Rudolph. Veterans of the restaurant industry — Brian has run everything from an upscale restaurant to a piano bar — they designed their bar to combine great beer and great food.
Situated in a strip mall just off Preston Road, the exterior is nondescript. But, step inside, and you’ll be transported to an Irish pub with heavy wood beams and a sweeping back bar. In addition to the 57 different types of draft beer on tap, there are also 100 bottled varieties. “The thing that sets us apart,” says Christi, “is that we have a list of rotating beers.” Some of these specialty kegs have been known to sell out in minutes. Now, their selection is becoming more heavily influenced by American craft beer as that market continues to grow.
When it comes to food — and let’s be clear, this isn’t your typical bar fare — the menu is flavorful, fun and always unique. From the balsamic chicken sandwich (the couple’s favorite) to the fish & chips and burgers, “everything is designed to go with beer,” says Brian. The menu is small and changes often, which allows them to incorporate fresh, seasonal ingredients. That way, nothing ever gets, well, stale.
The owners and their staff often design the menu around current events. In celebration of the State Fair of Texas, the team created deep fried candied bacon topped with maple whipped cream. “We have the most fun with the fried food,” confesses Brian, “because we get really creative.” Not every concoction is a hit, though. There was the time they got the idea for fried Jagermeister. It didn’t work out so well, but it was worth a try.
If it sounds like a cool place to work, that’s because it is. They have a low turnover rate due in part to the owners’ belief that their staff should enjoy what they do. The “culture of the Grail” is paramount, and it’s a place where many of the servers have turned into beer aficionados — even if they didn’t start out that way.
Beer aficionado or not, we’re betting you’ll find something you like at The Holy Grail.
The Holy Grail Website >