University Park restauranteur employs New York know-how to weather the cold
“We were the only ones open,” Hatem “Tom” Hammam said, thinking back to the devastating winter storm of the previous week.
A hint of a smile showed under his mask as he worked behind the counter of Solo Burgers & Wings on Hillcrest Avenue.
Hamman left his native Middle East for New York City, where he ran restaurants for years, finally transplanting his family to Dallas in 2018 for a better environment to raise his children.
Hammam opened his establishment at the height of the pandemic — a big gamble for any small business.
“We were just looking to help the community, to show the Park Cities who we are.”Hatem “Tom” Hammam
“It cost me a lot to build it this way,” he said, stressing that quality is paramount to the operation. “I looked for over a year to find this location.”
Even his 8-year-old daughter helped seat customers and hand out menus.
Surrounded by corporate chain restaurants and used to fierce competition, Hamman credited his NYC background with helping him cope with the arctic freeze and its devastating effects.
He winterized his restaurant as best he could, even buying salt at Home Depot for the sidewalk.
“If you can’t make it in, I will pick you up and drop you off,” he told his employees. “We were just looking to help the community, to show the Park Cities who we are — we work shoulder to shoulder with them.”
It was a tough week for Solo Burgers & Wings, but it became the best week the restaurant has had so far. The orders came in non-stop, and employees even had to turn a few away.
“We’ve been looking, and you are the only place open,” a pair of hungry policemen noted, impressed by Hammam’s stamina and generosity.
“All of our food is top-quality, fresh, never frozen,” Hammam boasted. “Nothing is made until it is ordered. We have the best wings in Dallas.”
GOING SOLO: Solo Burgers & Wings – 6413 Hillcrest Ave. Dallas, TX 75205, 214-434-1711 – serves up delicious burgers, wings, shakes, salads, and more from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.
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