A trip to the AT&T Byron Nelson wouldn’t be complete without a little PGA TOUR player spotting. Pros come to the TPC Four Season to compete, but hey they need to eat too. So during the week of the Nelson they are practically everywhere, all the time, and for the most part, they’re used to being gawked at and signing autographs. But if you want to avoid looking like a creeper, I suggest you eat, shop, drink and play among the pros in their natural habitats—a mix of restaurants, bars and uniquely Irving establishments (make your reservations now). We give you: Top 5 Places to See PGA TOUR Players Off the Course During Nelson Week. Now... just act natural.
1. COOL RIVER CAFE
Location: 1045 Hidden Ridge
Rumor has it, this might just be the unofficial-official AT&T Byron Nelson after-party. If you've been to the tournament you've for sure heard about the party happening down the street at Cool River. They offer its $10-a-car, plus $5-a-person park and ride shuttle from 7 a.m. to one hour after play, with live music from Time Machine on Thursday, and Sprung on Friday and Saturday night. Promotion girls and samples will be plentiful from Heineken, Miller, Grey Goose and more. Make sure you make a reservation for this vibrant Southwestern-influenced steakhouse & cigar bar, or you could be looking at a long wait.
2. MIDORI SUSHI
Location: 4020 N MacArthur Blvd #114
A TON of the players hit up this local sushi joint. In fact, 2013 Champion, Sang Moon Bae is good friends with the owner and frequents Midori's year round. It's conveniently located across the street from the course in the Tom Thumb shopping center. Easy to get to and great food - score! This simple, strip-mall sushi house offers an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet. Come for a player sighting, leave with a California roll.
Location: 4030 N MacArthur Blvd #112
Spirit Grill, the cheers of Irving. By your second visit you'll be a regular. Lots of TVs, sport trivia, karaoke, drinks and really good food. The locals love Spirit Grill, it's known for it's down-to-earth atmosphere with American pub fare. It's a rock's throw from the TPC Practice Range. PGA TOUR pros frequent this spot to unwind after a long round. So, come on by and pull up a stool. There will be live music on Friday and Saturday to top off the fun.
Location: 855 West John W. Carpenter Fwy
Regardless of the opportunity to spot a player, this place is a sports lover’s dream. There are huge HD TV screens no matter which way you look. The wait staff is exceptional and the food is downright good. It's a super nice place to grab a meal or a drink while still being casual. On the Pro-Am day, they had about five pros sitting at the bar, so this is definitely a hot spot! They're running a ton of specials all week long. Happy hour drinks are $1 off and there are $5 select appetizers. Saturday and Sunday, they open bright and early at 9 a.m. serving brunch with $1 mimosas. Stop by Saturday for $3.50/$4.50 drafts and on Sunday they'll be a serving up a bloody mary and omelet bar. They'll also be providing park and ride shuttle service to the event, see Champps for details and pricing.
5. VIA REAL
Location: 4020 N. MacArthur Boulevard
Last but not least, Via Real is a "uniquely Irving" must-try. It too is located across Byron Nelson Way overlooking the TPC Practice Range. It boasts a nice bar and contemporary Mexican and Southwestern cuisine in an upscale setting. The food is outstanding. Players have frequented this place for many years. Pros love this Texas stop, so they can fill up on as much Mexican food as possible. So Via Real is an obvious choice for spotting a player and his entourage. Reservations are highly recommended. They're almost completely booked for Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. They have extended their hours until 10 p.m. on Thursday and 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Stop by starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday for a pre-tournament beverage.
What other local Irving restaurants would you add to the list? For more restaurant options in Irving, click here.