By June Naylor
Photos by Ralph Lauer
From the Four Seasons to the fast-casual Coolgreens, Luis Argote brings a personal touch to his work.
Though healthy meals are easy to come by in Southlake, you may not find them in environs as welcoming as those at Coolgreens. The newly opened restaurant on Southlake Boulevard, near the PGA Tour Superstore at Kimball Avenue, focuses as much on pure hospitality as on serving food that’s good for you. The moment you walk in the door, one of the owners greets you. Before you leave, an employee will stop by your table to make sure you’re satisfied with everything.
Credit goes to Luis Argote, who co-owns the restaurant with wife Shanna. Luis previously was a general manager of Four Seasons properties, with tenures at locations in four countries, as well as stints at other luxury resorts. He brings to the fore a level of service not typically found in a fast-casual restaurant.
Luis and Shanna followed a circuitous route to Southlake. After years of moving the family, which includes two young sons, with his job transfers through Latin America and the Caribbean, he and Shanna decided it was time to put down roots. “As they became teenagers, it just didn’t make sense anymore. So we left Colombia and came home,” Luis explains.
Home became Southlake. Finding the next career, however, required a bit of searching. A visit to a restaurant franchise expo in Dallas produced the answer, which turned out to be the Oklahoma City-based concept called Coolgreens.
“Shanna is very focused on healthy choices. And the fit was right because people in Southlake care about a healthy lifestyle,” Luis says, noting the multitude of nearby cycling, barre, Pilates and other fitness studios. “We wanted to serve the community, our neighbors and our friends, and this type of fare works well here.”
At the first Coolgreens location in Texas, the Argotes take pride in the restaurant’s practice of freshly preparing everything each day. Rather than rely on ready-made foods delivered from a central commissary or using ingredients with preservatives, they follow Coolgreens’ protocol of cooking chicken, fish and meat daily and crafting salad dressings from scratch. And as guests place orders, they see their dishes made in assembly-line fashion.
Day-to-evening offerings can fit any special diet, from gluten-free to vegan, while also offering loads of good flavor. Favorites so far are the Spicy Avocado Crunch Sandwich (with jalapenos, artisan cheeses, tortilla chips and spicy mayo on a crusty wheat bun), Bacon Blue Flatbread (with mozzarella, green apples and arugula) and Sesame Crisp Bowl (with quinoa and brown rice, edamame, spinach, cucumbers, carrots, crunchy noodles and ginger-soy vinaigrette). If you want something sweet, there’s a giant banana-chocolate chip cookie.
Thought also goes into beverage offerings: The ever-popular Topo Chico is available, along with aguas frescas that include cranberry-orange and pineapple-coconut. Infused waters, made on-site daily, include H2O Amor, so named for employee Amor Flores, who suggested the purified water with fresh orange and lemon slices.
While Luis and Shanna decide where to open two more locations in the area, they’re enjoying the short commute to the new family business, with both sons also working shifts at Coolgreens. All the while, Luis is looking at ways to bring guests back. To that end, he minds every tiny detail, including placing two gorgeous flower arrangements — complete with fan palms, lilies and birds of paradise — in the ladies’ room.
“Luis knows what makes a good impression, and he knows women appreciate a beautiful bathroom,” Shanna says with a smile. Indeed, that’s a touch rarely found at your typical salad stop.