At the Thursday night open house at Sunago Bell, Radical Hospitality unveiled its latest investment in downtown Denton.
Lots of cash was funneled into the top floor of what locals call the Wells Fargo building. Months of time, attention and money brought in swanky accent lighting, a great big full-service bar that leads into a huge catering kitchen and glossy, concrete floors.
The view of downtown Denton as the sun sank and the courthouse lawn lights came up.
“This is what it’s really all about,” said Kristen Pulido, who shares co-directing duties of Sunago Bell with Rhonda Tovar. “It’s really the view that makes this special.
“That drama you get going from day to night, that’s what really impresses people,” Tovar said.
The venue has been open for months, hosting micro-weddings and socially distanced events. At the open house, visitors and staff wore masks.
Visitors kept drifting to the floor to ceiling windows that wrap around the 3,200-square-foot loft throughout the evening at the open house. Sunago Bell began as a restaurant concept but shifted to an event space when the logistics of getting commercial kitchen equipment to the top floor complicated the renovations. The building has a standard, office-building elevator.
A DJ mixed up the tunes for the open house, weaving lo-fi chill beats eventually into Texas country (could that be a nod to the previous crown jewel in the Radical Hospitality crown, LSA Burger Co.?) A professionally produced film of a couple strolling around Denton in their wedding gown and tuxedo played on a loop on the north-facing wall. About 25 chairs were set up facing a pop-up backdrop that looked wedding-ready in the northwest corner of the space. Professional floral designs were at every table, which offered a preview of what wedding receptions and corporate events can get if they rent the event space for conferences, receptions and private parties.
Barley & Board, another Radical Hospitality company on the square, catered the open house, another sneak peak at what future clients can get when they book the venue.
Narciso Tovar, the director of marketing for Radical Hospitality, said the company took care in designing the sound system.
“We wanted to make sure the residents wouldn’t be disturbed by any events happening here,” Narciso Tovar said. “And we’ll have elevator attendants for every event so that we can get residents to their floor first.”
Sunago Bell can accommodate up to 200 attendees for a seated dinner, and 240 for non-seated events. The venue boasts a view of University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University buildings, the North Central Texas College downtown campus and, on a clear day, Frisco.
“The love of Denton is at the core of this,” Pulido said. “For people who love Denton, they are amazed by the view. It feels like something that celebrates the city and all the things that make it special — the universities, the courthouse, the local businesses.”
Pulido and Rhonda Tovar said the venue is a hands-on company.
“I think we want to maintain that personal touch, that face-to-face time with clients,” Pulido said. “This isn’t a venue where we just get the space ready and open it and then leave. From booking tours to customizing parties, we want to have that personal touch.”
“We focus more on hospitality, from building floorplans for events to helping people find vendors. We have the bar, and can draw on the bartenders from our other businesses,” Rhonda Tovar said. “I think it goes back to people who love the town. The view of everything is at the center and you can play the space the way you want. You can elevate your party or you can keep it really simple and keep the view the main thing.”