By: Courtney Dabney
Fresh off last week's announcement of his plans to open Gemelle, an Italian restaurant in the former Thurber Mingus location in The River District, chef Tim Love tells of yet another project he has been working on — Mopac Event Center on Rogers Road.
Love and his wife and business partner, Emilie, took over the lease at the end of 2018. The party/wedding/event venue is getting some major upgrades.
Hoping to bring more live music to the space, a section of the back fence folds down to create a stage. The sound system has been upgraded, and Mopac now has state-of-the-art lighting and projection capabilities.
Love plans to book bands that “usually play to audiences of around 7,000 people, and we'll bring them here to our space that can host around 900 inside and out, allowing for a much more intimate setting and concert experience.”
Mopac will host a summer concert series this year, but he's not ready to announce the talent just yet.
VIP tickets will include a meet-and-greet with the band members and a seated dinner in the dining hall (which seats around 300), where the band will play a few songs. Then, the band will move to the outdoor stage to join the rest of the ticket holders for the full concert.
Love also plans to host some all-day festivals, from music to comedy. "One- or two-day festivals are common in Austin but not seen much in Fort Worth," he says. "This space lends itself to a festival atmosphere."
To better accommodate weddings, Love added two new suites with mirrors and dressing areas on either side of the main entrance (what used to be an oversized foyer). There’s an improved plating kitchen, and Love is also offering his own services from Tim Love Catering and Woodshed Smokehouse, located just down the street.
Mopac has already restructured its wedding pricing. Now there is the option of booking either Saturday daytime or nighttime weddings.
"Our team can turn the space quickly,” Love says. “It's what we do, and it's a win-win for both sides. It allows us to book more events, and it lowers the cost for our clients, since most people do not want or need the space all day long. So why should they have to pay for it all day?"
A new side entrance has been added to help with traffic flow and give more flexibility to the space, which created a smaller courtyard as well. A stacked stone wall encloses the space on one end, with a painted cinder block wall on the other.
Sliding garage doors still provide access from the dining hall to the large patio, which has been dressed up with landscaping all around. The central, brick fountain remains with its two-sided fire and waterfall display. Insta-worthy backdrops will be installed soon, Love says: "We will have some artists add local flair to the space by painting outside murals. We really wanted to create a sense of space.”
The most eye-catching change has been the addition of a permanent, metal canopy structure (with attractive brick pillars) and the installation of level, lush and green artificial turf in the back — where most events used to install party tents. The space is fully landscaped, has a wooden trellis feature and includes industrial fans and string lights overhead.
Mopac has a lease on the parking lot next door, but valet will still be suggested for larger events.
Photos by Courtney Dabney
By: Courtney Dabney