Main Street Social sets sights on June opening
By Rachel Madison
James and Tambra Prince are the first to admit their new food hall, Main Street Social, has been a long time coming. Delays no one could have predicted—namely COVID-19—pushed their project back several times, but now they are just weeks away from opening on Loop 332 near downtown Liberty Hill.
“Because there are so many moving parts, we don’t have an exact date set yet, but the community can plan on June,” Tambra Prince said. “We got pushed back several times, and we’ve had to get creative.”
Finishing touches are being made across the food hall. Décor is already up on many of the walls, and necessities like the bathrooms are almost finished. The hall boasts a large arcade room with every wall covered in games—including vintage games like Pacman—where families will be able to play together. Large garage-style doors to the outside will typically be open, weather permitting, to allow for fresh air to flow through the hall. In the center of the hall, a 42-seat bar is almost finished, with just mirrors and chandeliers left to install. The bar will have 18 beers on tap, ranging from long-standing classics to craft beers. Wine will also be served from the bar.
“We were going to hire a designer but decided to do it ourselves,” Tambra Prince said. “We’re using a lot of architectural details from all over the world, like Mexico and India. We have even used wood from one of the oldest barns in Liberty Hill in the bar area and for an accent wall. The bar area is going to be elegant, and we are using vintage barstools from The Frisco Shop, which was an old diner on Burnet Road [in Austin] that closed a few years ago. We wanted to incorporate things locally, too, from Liberty Hill and Austin.”
The hall also has a behind-the-scenes room where trash will go after customers are finished eating, Tambra Prince said, so that trash will never be out for people to see. Wood tables throughout the hall were made locally, and other unique touches, like vintage posters and bus benches refinished with upholstery round out the décor.
The food hall will be home to several different food counters, including Udder Love Ice Cream Parlor, fish-and-chips and chicken stall Coop to Coast, Mainstay Kitchen, Cosmic Pizza and Moonie’s Burger House. Tambra Prince said the first stall to open will most likely be Cosmic Pizza since it’s the closest to being finished out.
Just outside the food hall in Main Street Social’s backyard there are seats for more than 500 guests. The backyard also has a large fire pit, outdoor couches for lounging, outdoor games like corn hole, hopscotch, four-square, tether ball and gaga ball, and an intimate outdoor stage for acoustic concerts.
“We will do acoustic music only, because we really want to honor the neighbors,” Tambra Prince said. “We believe the music should be for ambiance and background, so when you go out to dinner you can talk. Eventually we’d like to have music several nights a week, but we’ll let the community tell us what they want.”
The backyard also has a play area called Kiddie Social for children age 6 and younger, which is completely fenced in and has activities just for the younger set. A brand-new toll booth in the center of the yard has been converted to provide drinks outdoors and will be the center of a beer garden.
In the front of the building, another area, called Birdie’s Social, will have bird feeders, hummingbird feeders and a butterfly garden. Tambra Prince said the next phase she’ll be working on is to have tables in that area so customers can enjoy their food and beverages while watching the wildlife in the garden.
Natalie Harbison, recently hired general manager for Main Street Social, said her goal once the food hall opens is to have a full house every day with a family-friendly atmosphere.
“We want people to be able to host everything from a day after work with the crew to birthday parties and graduation parties,” she said. “This is exactly what people need right now. People are craving the aspect of being social.”
The food hall also has a “blue room” that is available to rent for private events, and an area outside with an enclosed tent that can be used for larger private events, like wedding receptions.
“Health and safety are also a huge priority here,” Harbison said. “There will be plenty of indoor and outdoor seating for the best possible experience, and we will be using a health service to keep things clean. We will have two main entrances and plenty of parking, so that we can focus on the health and safety of every guest.”
Harbison held interviews earlier this month to staff the food hall. The goal is to employ locals as well as young workers.
“We are helping to staff for every food stall, and we are hiring employees to float from station to station,” Tambra Prince said. “Employees will constantly be going from station to station making sure everything is working, bathrooms are clean, and customers are happy. Some people are going to want to work at a specific counter, which they are welcome to do, but most employees will be floaters. They’ll never get bored.”
Tambra Prince said a grand opening celebration has not been planned yet, but once the official opening date is set, one will be in the works.
“We might not have every [food stall] open right at the beginning, but we will open regardless,” she added. “This is just phase one. The possibilities for phase two, three, four are limitless. This is our baby and something we really wanted to do for the community.”
Main Street Social is open to service animals only and will have free WiFi. It is located at 1750 Loop 332 and will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, visit www.mainstreetsocial.com.