- Deve Sanford, Upscale Living Magazine

A True Taste of Texas in the Heart of Dallas’ Uptown, Haywire Restaurant opened its doors to the public early this summer.  Its second location in the city, the restaurant boasts a beautiful, outdoor patio complete with a fireplace and retractable roof, creating the perfect atmosphere to grab some apps and cocktails under the starry night sky.

Within moments of stepping through the doors, the ambiance sets the tone for what will be a distinctive ranch-to-table dining experience. The rich, warm colors and enticing aromas pouring from the kitchen transport guests to a swanky Texas-style ranch house complete with a wine cellar, rare whiskey library, and an eye-catching Shasta transformed into a private dining room, perfect for any celebration.

Just like its location in Plano, Haywire in Uptown boasts its own robust cocktail program including its famous Texas Lemonade made with Western Son lemon vodka, elderflower liquor, ginger ale, lemon simple syrup, and of course a Luxardo cherry on top!

Open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, Haywire Uptown has unique flavor profiles to tempt any palate. From southern comfort food like chicken and waffles to its signature shrimp and grits with tasso and andouille sausage with red-eye gravy served on creamy green chili, white cheddar grits. Sourced from the best local farms, Haywire offers an array of farm-raised Texas beef. If guests manage to keep room for dessert, don’t leave without trying the Route 66 Pecan Pie with locally soured pecans, cinnamon roll crust, Balcones Texas Whiskey caramel sauce, served with local vanilla ice cream. Who is to thank for this delicious menu? Skylar Gauthier is the Chef Partner at Haywire, and Upscale Living Magazine had the opportunity to catch up with him to learn just what makes his patrons keep coming back for more.

How did you get your start in the culinary industry?

I have been in the restaurant industry in some form or fashion since I was 15. I did not start cooking until I was in my twenties where it happened in a complete accident. I just happened to be helping my mom in the kitchen one day make chicken cordon bleu. It was so satisfying to not only enjoy something that I made but also to see the enjoyment of others from what I made. After that initial encounter, I went to tour a culinary school and walked out with tuition.

What is your earliest food memory of a specific meal? 

Varenyky. Ukrainian pierogi. I remember the excitement every time my siblings and I found out our mom was making it. Varenyky was also the best part about visiting Baba (my grandma in Ukrainian) because we were sure to get some.

Who are your mentors in the culinary world?  

Years ago, when I first began this journey, I would have said, my mom. I think I still and always will.

What would you say is your signature dish? 

I wouldn’t say I have a signature dish. I am a fan of the low and slow mentality with food. There is something special about the transformation of a cut of meat that is cooked for long periods of time.

What is the biggest inspiration behind your cooking?  

I want to have fun. Food can be just that. To take something unassuming or common and to transform it into something whimsical is not only an awesome challenge, but it is extremely fun and rewarding when you achieve your vision. In your opinion how much of an impact will sustainable practices continue to have over the preparation of cuisine in the future. People’s awareness of sustainability is growing exponentially in this country. The locavore and seasonality movement is real and it will shape the cuisine of our country for years to come.

How much of a responsibility do you feel to implement these actions in your kitchen?  

Our brand is built on this concept. Farm to fork, locally sourced. We partner with dozens of small businesses and farms all over the state to bring the best Texas has to offer. I have partnered with multiple farms and small businesses that were just getting started that have grown leaps and bounds since we began our journey together. Ross’ Rowdy Bees, for example, provides Haywire with honey and honeycomb. They were only doing farmers’ markets when we met. Now they are in 20 something stores. As a staple in the community, I do believe that it is my responsibility to contribute to the community’s growth and I will continue to seek out the little shops and farms so I can be a part of their growth and success, and ultimately the communities’ growth and success.

When developing menus in a place like Dallas what local flavors if any do you incorporate. What do you think appeals to your clientele at Haywire the most?

I try to incorporate as many local ingredients and products as I can. From the products of local companies to the cooking methods and equipment of the cuisine around Dallas. I think the appeal is comfort. Not necessarily comfort food, but the comfort of the hospitality and the cuisine combined. We also have a little something for everyone at Haywire. From high-end to low-brow country food and everything in between.

Is there a place you would travel to just for the food? If so, what would you eat?

Mexico. I think there is a strong relationship between what we do here at Haywire and Mexican cuisine. And I am not talking about Tex Mex. And what would I eat? Anything a grandma is preparing!

What has been your biggest challenge in pursuing a career in the culinary arts?

Quality of life. I am a chef, but I am a husband and father first. I always say, I began my career for me, to do something I loved, but I will finish it for my family. I try to make sure I use this mentality for those that work under me as well. I always try to provide for them what they need to have a healthy family life, as this industry can be brutal.

What has been your biggest achievement?  

Again, quality of life. I worked hard for a long time. I missed a lot with my kids. I am at a point in my career where I can begin to give back, not only to my family but to my employees too. It was pretty cool to get to go to the James Beard House in NYC to cook a Foundation Dinner though!

Least favorite/favorite ingredient to cook with?

I love cooking with tough cuts of meat. I love the transformation that takes place. Short ribs, beef cheeks, lamb shanks…the wait is worth it. I don’t dislike anything. I always say you don’t hate the ingredient, you hate the preparation. Someone somewhere can make something you “don’t like” be good. I do try to avoid tedious things though like shelling peas, cleaning fava beans. Things like that.

When creating the menu for Haywire Uptown what were some different elements you tried to incorporate to set it apart from the flagship location in Plano?

Our Uptown team strives to have zero difference in the menu from location to location. The amazing experience you have at the Plano location is the same one you will have at the Haywire location.

 What do you think is the single most important quality and advice you would give to a chef just beginning his/her career?

Challenge yourself every day. There can be a lot of monotony in coming in, setting up your station, executing, breaking down, etc. It is important to push yourself, even when there is no one pushing you.

Do you have a fun cooking hack or favorite recipe you’d like to share

Make your own stock. It is miles better than the store-bought stuff. I measure out 1 cup and store them in snack-sized zip lock bags in the freezer, so I always have it on hand when I need it and it is always measured out. This way I know exactly how much to pull out. Take it a step further and reduce your stock by three quarters and freeze it in ice cube trays for instant homemade bouillon flavor bombs.

Haywire, 1920 McKinney Ave. #100 (Uptown). Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m to 11 p.m. Friday; 4 to 11 p.m. Saturday; 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday.

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