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Culture / Restaurants

The Burger Princess and Chicken Prince

Restaurants Rule in this Texas Family — and a New Generation’s All In

BY // 01.04.17
photography Scot Redman

Family-owned and Texas-grown are words the Street family lives by.

“I always thought I’d wind up in the family biz,” says 32-year-old Mariel Street, the brainchild behind Liberty Burger and the daughter of legendary restaurateur Gene Street. “Opening Liberty Burger was more than a job, it was a part of who we were as a family, and I attached that to my own identity.”

Patriarch Gene is somewhat of the godfather in the restaurant game. He is a former chairman of Consolidated Restaurant Operations, Inc. (CRO), and was behind some of our state’s biggest chains, including Good Eats, Cantina Laredo, III Forks, and Black Eyed Pea.

Hot off the heels of marrying Nadra Varner in Puerto Vallarta, Mariel is back and busier than ever. With seven Liberty Burger locations now open throughout the metroplex since the first debuted on Forest Lane in 2011, the restaurant just made its Fort Worth entrée and has a franchise location in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Mariel Street at Liberty Burger

Mariel’s mighty food chops are a trait that apparently thrives in the Street family. Also following in dad’s footsteps is Marco Street, 30, who with help from Mariel, brothers Gene and Dace, and cousin Tony Street, opened Street’s Fine Chicken on Cedar Springs earlier this fall.

Coincidentally, the location is the same spot where Gene Street and Phil Cobb opened the original Black Eyed Pea in 1975. “The opportunity fell in our lap,” says Marco of the location. “It’s been in our family forever, and having a concept with our name on it just made sense.”

Marco, who works in the restaurant six days a week, admits that working with his family has been a gravitational force in his life. “If I’m not at Street’s, I’m in the office,” he says. “If I’m not there, I’m on my way.”

Currently in your fridge.
Mariel: A watermelon, some wedding cake, and a leftover pizza — the basics, of course!
Marco: Kale, three kinds of olives, Parmigiano-Reggiano, bacon, Coulotte, and Karbach Love Street beer.

Always on tap at casa Street.
Mariel: Texas Ale Project’s Fire Aunt Funeral and Dallas Blonde. If there’s no beer in my fridge, I must be out of town. We just installed taps in the backyard bar.
Marco: Chianti and local beer.

Favorite dish to cook at home.
Mariel: Veggie stir-fry, at least twice a week.
Marco: Handmade pasta with my backyard chicken eggs, fresh ricotta with cream, and Limoncello we made with our homegrown Meyer lemons.

You’re homesick. Best comfort food.
Mariel: As shocking as it sounds — Jimmy John’s. Turkey Tom for life …
Marco: My wife’s chicken enchiladas.

Midnight snack.
Mariel: Did this last night. String cheese. Every. Single. Time.
Marco: Cheese or almonds.

For your last meal, you’d order …
Mariel: Blue Bell’s Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream. That’s it — an entire tub.
Marco: A two-inch thick rib-eye (medium rare) cooked over wood, crispy kale, and mashed potatoes with cream gravy. My favorite thing in the world is a perfect cotton candy. And also … mashed potatoes because … you just have to.

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