When Lynae Fearing and Tracy Rathbun first discussed pairing up to provide a fun and unique food experience, they were thinking about a taco stand.
But these partners will boldly overhaul even their own ideas. They instead found restaurant space in need of a redo and went “all-in” to create Shinsei, a destination and one of North Texas’ most talked-about dining experiences.
Tracy and Lynae are now building on a 12-year legacy that includes a brainchild known as Lovers Seafood and Market around the corner from Shinsei, and now, their first franchise.
Paradies Lagardère, a travel retail and restaurateur leader in North America, announced the opening of Shinsei at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. With construction complete, staff training begins in mid July.
“Shinsei is an institution in the Dallas food scene. The concept will not only bring an exciting and eclectic food and cocktail menu, but a sophisticated vibe that will appeal to many traveling through the airport,” said Bill Casey, Paradies Lagardère senior vice president of food and beverage.
Tracy and Lynae set out to create service, hospitality, great food and drinks when they established Shinsei in 2006. As their concept caught fire and Shinsei became a place everyone wanted to be, the accolades followed.
“The goal was always to provide an experience where people want to come back,” Tracy said. “Both of us are pretty driven at being the best at what we do.”
Instead of resting on the laurels, Lynae and Tracy doubled down. Around the corner, they found another eatery popular with the neighbors in need of overhaul – just like the former Yamaguchi’s on Inwood Road that had been so successfully retooled as Shinsei. They unveiled Lovers Seafood and Market in spring 2017.
“It was really run down, but it still had a really great neighborhood following,” Lynae said. “We had to do the same thing. Gut it and completely redesign it.”
Lovers Seafood and Market is said to be a little more low-key than the full-on party at Shinsei. At the heart of both approaches, though, is a hands-on commitment to excellence. Either Tracy or Lynae can be found at each restaurant six nights a week.
It’s a team effort, however, and the partners’ most important role is one the customers never see --choosing the staff to help deliver the experience.
“We love our team. And it is a team,” Lynae said. “And the underlying feeling is that Tracy and I care about each and every one.”
“We still have 10-12 employees who have been with us since Day 1,” Tracy said. “We’re more interested in finding people that have the right attitude than, necessarily, the right experience. Team-oriented. Hard workers.”
There’s a philanthropical side to the partnership as well. Lynae and Tracy have been involved in the Vogel Alcove, where the mission is to help children overcome the traumatic effects of homelessness; the Genesis Women’s Shelter, helping women caught in domestic violence situations; and the Heroes for Children charity to help families whose children are diagnosed with cancer – just to name a few.
But whatever happened to the taco stand?
“We might still do that,” Lynae said.