New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung Newspaper
Article by Keith Domke
A new local dinner theater is offering an all-inclusive experience with a variety of entertainment options for audiences to enjoy.
Opening this Sunday, New Year’s Eve, the Sylver Spoon promises to give its guests great food and live theatrical performances, as well as scenic views overlooking the beach of the Texas Ski Ranch Sports Complex, 6700 Interstate 35. The theater is on the upper floor of that facility with a private entrance.
“Get ready, New Braunfels, a new night out is coming,” Sylver Spoon Dinner Theater Owner and General Manager Sylver Monaco said.
Monaco is one of three sisters who are running the dinner theater. All three are in their 20s and have specific talents that will aid guests in having a enjoyable experience.
They all have an intense passion for food, wine and art, and all grew up in the New Braunfels-Seguin area and attended Canyon and Navarro high schools.
“We’ve always been very close,” said Sylver, who at age 28 is the oldest of the Monaco trio. “After college, we kind of split up. But we all missed each other. So, we decided we wanted to come back together and figure out a way to work together.
“We thought about what we could do, and decided the best way to combine our passion for theater and food was to open a dinner theater. We knew there really wasn’t anything like that around here, so here we are.
“It’s always been a dream of ours to work together.”
Sylver graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio with a bachelor of arts degree in theater arts and playwriting. She later obtained her graduate theater teaching certification.
Sylver used the restaurant business to support herself when she moved to New York City. Eventually, restaurants turned from a source of income to a source of love, appreciation and passion.
She met her husband, Bryan, in a New York City subway station, and they came to Texas to start a family. They now have three children, Gambyl, Cash and Royal.
“Our place will be a unique combination of food, wines and shows,” Sylver said. “The theater scene is rich here (in the New Braunfels area), but it’s with family-oriented performances. We wanted to come up with something different, so we decided to feature adult-oriented productions.”
By “adult,” the sisters said material rated PG-13 at the box office and with some adult language and themes will be featured.
“We’re looking forward to offering something new,” said Sylver, who will be an actor in some of the performances.
Madison Monaco, 24, the middle sister, graduated with a culinary arts degree from Le Cordon Bleu in Austin. She has spent her adult life working in several restaurants in New Braunfels, Austin and Chicago.
With her palate, and efficiency, Madison said she will ensure that the Sylver Spoon menu will be exciting and cutting-edge, and she will sprinkle in some “beloved family recipes.”
The sisters hired Michelin Star trained chef Juan Gomez to handle the menu duties. He will offer a “varied menu featuring global inspiration,” Madison said, including Italian, Mexican, Indian and seafood selections.
“He is very good,” Madison said. “He will not disappoint. His food is incredible.”
Madison moved back to Texas from Chicago with the goal of going into business with her sisters. She was the last of the three to return to the area — in 2015.
She has a 3-year-old son, Brave.
‘We wanted to bring something new and challenging to the New Braunfels area,” she said. “We’re bringing a little bit of New York, Chicago and Austin together to create an incredible experience for our guests.”
Tori Monaco, the baby sister at age 20, has a degree in directing from the University of Texas in Austin. Sylver said she will keep the management team on trend with her youth and vivacity.
Tori is the director of the theater for the business and the “go-to girl” for all art and live entertainment, such as music, theater, comedy and improv. She also was responsible for decorating the theater with local artwork.
“We’re trying to make every aspect of this place artistic,” she said, adding that she will “direct, act, produce — a little bit of everything.”
“We’ll have entertainment for all genres here,” she said.
Tori said the theater plans on having six shows per year that will run on weekends for two months each.
“There will be no ‘down’ weekends,” she said. “Every weekend will feature a show.”
The first one, which will open the weekend of Jan. 5-7, is the 1990 Pulitzer Prize winning “Dinner With Friends.” Tori described it as a dark comedy/drama.
When the trio knew what they wanted to do, they had to find a place to do it. Enter the Texas Ski Ranch site.
“When Paul and Christine Bialick (owners of the Texas Ski Ranch) approached us with the opportunity to open our own concept, it was an absolute dream come true,” Sylver said. “We could not have fathomed a more picturesque location to bring our three passions to life!
“The Monaco family is thrilled to be welcomed into the Texas Ski Ranch family. Combining upscale dining, compelling theater, a beach and a drop-in kids program into one venue is our way to expose New Braunfels to a new way to view the night out. We hope you’ll come see the fruition of our dreams!”
The theater offers three separate dining areas: a formal dining room with wall-to-wall views of the beach, casual outdoor patio dining overlooking the lake and a lounge which offers couches and side tables.
Sylver Spoon will offer live theatrical performances at 9 p.m. every Friday and Saturday and a 3 p.m. Sunday matinee. Dinner or brunch will be served beforehand.
Guests have the option of dining, attending the theatrical productions or both. Show tickets are $15 general admission for adults and $10 for members of the military and children. Packaged discounts are available.
“Our theater aims to provoke thought, incite conversation and open your minds to something different in the theater world,” Sylver said.
The theater also offers a drop-off day care where children can play while their parents dine and enjoy the theater. The cost for that service is $8 an hour.
“Gone are the days of finding a babysitter, choosing a place to eat, checking movie times and begging for something new,” Sylver said. “Sylver Spoon Dinner Theater is an all-inclusive entertainment venue.”
The theater also will offer weekly specials and entertainment. Children can eat free on Tuesday nights. Wednesdays will feature rotating events such as Comedy Night, Trivia, Wild Game and Wine Dinners. Every Thursday, local musicians and live music will take the stage.
“We know not everyone wants dinner and a show,” Sylver said. “This is why at Sylver Spoon Dinner Theater you can just have dinner, enjoy a show, or both.”
During the New Year’s Eve grand opening, guests will enjoy a four-course, chef-prepared dinner with optional sommelier selected wine pairings. Live music will be featured throughout the evening, and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight will take place.
The T-Spoons Tot Spot kids drop-off will be open from 5 p.m. until just after midnight.
Reservations are recommended by visiting www.sylverspoon.com.
The dinner theater will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.
For more information, call 830-627-7226, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website.
SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS NEWS
BY: Paul Stephen
Texas Ski Ranch was already an unusual venue. The 70-acre park in New Braunfels includes a man-made lake with a cable system giving landlocked wakeboarders a place to play. A trio of that city’s native daughters have further diversified entertainment options on the grounds with the launch earlier this month of a new restaurant that does double-duty as a theater.
Sylver Spoon features a chef-driven menu penned by Madison Monaco. Her big sister, Sylver Monaco, serves as director of operations and the youngest, Tori Monaco, is entertainment director. Sylver and Tori have theater and hospitality backgrounds, while Madison attended Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin.
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Unlike many dinner theaters, Sylver Spoon operates more like a restaurant that also happens to have a stage in the same building. Dinner service ends at 9 p.m., at which point the curtain rises. Menus are not thematically tied to whatever production happens to be on the stage a the moment.
Sylver Spoon’s current bill-of-fare includes appetizers such as mango and avocado fries, frog legs and lump crab salad. Heartier fare could be a six-pepper-crusted filet mignon or braised short ribs. Diners may also select a chef’s tasting menu for $50 per person (theater ticket included in price) in which Madison Monaco will customize a meal based on seasonally available ingredients.
Monaco said stage productions will be a mix of well-known and original works. They’re currently staging the Pulitzer winner “Dinner with Friends,” to be followed by their own “Devised Piece,” written and directed under the name Sylver Spoon Ensemble.
“We know New Braunfels likes theater and supports the arts, but (it) doesn’t have a lot of arts options for adults,” Sylver Monaco said. “We really wanted to bring something that was more edgy and new.”
In addition to dinner and a show, Sylver Spoon offers drop-in day care services for parents who’d rather enjoy the performance without having to explain why Willie Loman’s feeling so blue. The restaurant can seat about 50 with additional patio spaces. The restaurant serves beer and wine with a selection of wine-based cocktails.
Sylver Spoon is located at 6700 N. Interstate 35 in New Braunfels. More at 210-865-3711, SylverSpoon.com or Facebook: Sylver Spoon.
Seguin Gazette Newspaper
Article by Valerie Bustamante
The love of food and theater has a trio of sisters serving up dinner, drinks and drama at a new eatery.
Sylver, Madison and Tori Monaco — all Navarro High School graduates — have joined forces and combined their passions to create a restaurant that offers dinner theater — The Sylver Spoon, 6700 N. Interstate 35, New Braunfels.
“We are a dinner and live theater concept,” Sylver, director of operations said. “We’re really trying to push the envelope in New Braunfels with our cuisine and theater. We brought in a Michelin trained chef who’s going to be doing food based on global inspiration. With our theater, we’re trying to push the envelope in terms of tackling controversy in adult themes. We’re just trying to bring a new edgy vibe to New Braunfels.”
The idea of the Sylver Spoon started from the passions and backgrounds of the three sisters.
Sylver earned a Bachelor of Arts in Drama from Trinity University and worked as a theater teacher, while Madison studied at Le Cordon Bleu to become a professional chef. Tori is expected to graduate from the University of Texas with a degree in theatre performance and directing in May.
“We kind of realized if we were going to go into business together and be able to hang out as best friends for the rest of our lives we should do something we loved. And we felt the two things we love the most — theater and food— were not represented the same way in New Braunfels as they are in bigger cities.”
The idea was to get people to stay in the Seguin/New Braunfels area for food and entertainment instead of traveling out of town, she said.
“We started working on the concept two years ago,” Sylver said. “We already had our website and menus done. So we were just buying our time trying to save up money and get as much experience as we could.”
When they thought they were going to wait a year-and-a-half to sign with an open venue, the owner of Texas Ski Ranch approached the sisters with an available space on the second floor of the business, Sylver said.
“I remember sitting out on the porch with the owner, looking out over to the beach and I totally could see the vision for the dinner theater here,” Sylver said. “Of course, I got into my car and called both of them on three-way and said ‘Girls, this is it. This is our dream coming true.’ We couldn’t have found a more picturesque location or better opportunity to bring what we love and show it to New Braunfels.”
Once the girls had the keys in hand, they restored the establishment, which was a former fish taco restaurant, Madison said.
“We didn’t have money like other people do when they open up restaurants,” she said. “We painted all the floors and walls. Everything in this space was done by us three.”
Sylver said it’s been amazing to see the progression from start to finish.
“We wanted to bring it to the next level,” she said. “There was a lot of pushback because Texas Ski Ranch has been known as a no-shirt, beer in hand kind of place and so people were skeptical of the idea of bringing a more upscale, trendy, chic vibe here. However, this is a place where we have something for everybody. I think it’s completely exceeded our expectations. We really can’t wait to show it to everyone.”
Madison said it’s been amazing to not only work together as sisters but also as business partners.
“We’ve always been such best friends and we all bring a unique talent to the table that will help us succeed,” she said. “We’ve never been closer. In fact, we’re even closer now that we’re business partners. We feel so happy that we’re about to open and make our dreams come true.”
The restaurant has a main dining room, patio area and a lounge space, Sylver said.
“You can walk right downstairs and put your feet in the sand,” Sylver said. “We set up a lounge in the theater area to give a different theatrical experience. Typically you see the theater as a very stoic environment. You dress up, your elbows are knocking with the person next to you, but we set up couches and lounge chairs because we want people to be comfortable when watching a show. We also want that area to be used for nights when we don’t have a show, so people can hang out. We wanted to create more kind of trendy, little cocktail service area to contrast with the more casual and formal area.”
For the theater aspect of Sylver Spoon, the sisters wanted to focus on entertainment that an older audience could be drawn to.
“The New Braunfels theater scene right now is more saturated with family-friendly shows, which is amazing, but I think people are ready for something more than that,” Sylver said.
The shows at the restaurant will be one-act contemporary plays written by the sisters and ones written by local playwrites, said Tori, director of entertainment.
“They are going to be more adult PG-13 shows. We’re really interested in doing shows that are elevated and have some controversy and can spark conversations,” Tori said. “They’ll be shows where you don’t walk in and leave the same. You will gain something and learn something.
We’ve all lived in New York, Chicago and I’ve lived in Austin for the last four years and I know how art can be a vehicle for social change. We want to bring that to New Braunfels.”
While the sisters will be directing and acting in some of the shows, they hope to bring in local artists to also direct, Tori said.
As for the menu, the Sylver Spoon is set to offer a variety of eats for brunch, lunch and dinner options.
“It’s going to be more globally influenced,” said Madison, who will be overseeing the restaurant. “We’re going to do seasonal and chef-driven cuisine. We’re going to have a four-course menu with optional wine pairings or you can order off the A La Carte menu and just kind of create your own experience. It’s not one specific kind of cuisine. We wanted to really leave it open.”
The choice to create a diverse menu started when the staff interviewed Chef Juan Gomez.
“We were really looking for someone who was kind of able to do it all,” Sylver said. “When we interviewed Chef Gomez, we learned that he trained under Michelin chefs and restaurants in Ensenada, Mexico. We were open to Mexican food, but when we asked him if he could cook anything else, Chef Juan said ‘I can cook everything. Name something and I can cook it.’ So we were kind of intrigued by his confidence and openness to cook anything.”
While all of the contenders had impressive culinary backgrounds, Sylver said they believed their newly hired executive chef could take New Braunfels to the next level.
“We gave him freedom in creating the menu … he would probably tell you we didn’t, but we let him come up with his own menu and then we tasted things and offered suggestions,” she said.
One of Gomez’s original creations is Mango Avocado Fries, which are fried mango and avocado pieces with a habanero and smokey tomato sauce, Sylver said.
However, Gomez also incorporated recipes from the Monaco family, she said.
“We have an item called Monaco Meatballs … its a recipe that’s been in our family for generations,” Sylver said. “My dad’s side is straight out of Italy, so we brought some of those recipes into the menu. We let chef take some of those recipes that our grandma taught (dad) and put his own spin on them.”
Other food choices include Market Ceviche, Blackfin Tuna Salad, Frog Legs and Frutti di Mare Soup.
There is also an extensive list of white, rosé and red wines and craft beers to pair with the dishes.
When designing the Silver Spoon the sisters wanted to break a stereotype, which is that couples can’t have date nights when they have children, Sylver said.
So they created the T-Spoons Tot Spot, an area where parents can drop off their children while they dine and watch a play.
“We are young parents. I have a 5-year-old, 2-year-old and an 11-month-old and trying to find a consistent babysitter is hard. Madison has a 3-year-old and we hate that so many people just accept that they can’t go out because they have kids. We want to break that stereotype and give couples with children an opportunity to have a date night. It really just grew from realizing that the necessity existed in our own lives.”
The children will be supervised by two full-time-kid club staff members who are certified trained teachers with 20 plus of experience, Sylver said.
“It’s not a state-licensed daycare. It’s a casual care monitoring service, so essentially we’re babysitting your kids while you have a date night,” she said. “The kids will be partaking in games, activities and children’s movies. They are definitely going to be in good hands.”
The fee to leave a child with the service is $8 per child, Sylver said.
“The Tots Spot is open every night that we’re open for dinner at 6 p.m.,” she said. “It’s going to be open all day on Saturdays from 11 a.m. till 10 p.m. and Sundays during brunch.
The Monaco sisters will unveil the Sylver Spoon at its grand opening from 5 p.m. to midnight on Sunday for New Year’s Eve.
“People can come in and enjoy our chef-prepared 4-course menu,” Sylver said. “We’ve put some options in with each of the courses, so people can choose what they want, but it’s definitely tailored to wow people like a firework on New Year’s Eve with their first taste of Sylver Spoon.”
Additionally, there will be live music from 6 to 9 p.m. by David Russel of the Empty-Handed Vagabonds and from 9 p.m. to midnight by Tony Taylor.
Furthermore, there will be a complimentary champagne toast at midnight.
THE DAILY TEXAN--UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS NEWSPAPER
BY MASON CARROLLIn 90 days, the Monaco sisters transformed a fish taco joint with surfboards hung on mustard-colored walls into their dream theater.
The Sylver Spoon Dinner Theater, located in New Braunfels, is an all-inclusive entertainment venue that has food, live shows and a place to drop off kids. The theater opened on New Year’s Eve with a four-course meal, live music and the celebration of a dream come true for Sylver, Madison and Tori Monaco.
“It was a lot of work, a lot of late nights and favors from people who saw something in us,” directing senior Tori Monaco said. “They just helped us create our dream which is how we were able to create everything.”
All three sisters have experience in theater arts or the restaurant industry. Madison said each girl brings a special dynamic to the table.
“We love each other so much,” Madison said. “We are all so close that we wanted to bring our passions and do something together. We always have.”
Tori started as a theater education major but switched to pursue a directing degree to help with her business as director of the Sylver Spoon.
“It is a huge influence on what I do, and it is the reason I am qualified to be the director of the theater because UT really prepared me to be in a leadership position,” Tori said.
Tori said every success story counts for theater majors. Megan Alrutz, Tori’s theater and dance professor, said the skills students learn in a theater and dance program underpin the work they do and the relationships they build throughout.
“I feel lucky to witness our students’ success in so many areas of their lives,” Alrutz said.
Madison said the girls faced challenges gaining respect because people expected to see a man running the business, rather than three young girls.
“No one ever sees young women opening a restaurant, it’s always men in business suits,” Madison said. “We’ve shown them that we’ve done all of their positions, and we’ve been there and will get up there and do it with them.”
The girls hope to have a company of Sylver Spoon-paid artists, but right now they are focused on protecting their vision.
“This is it,” Madison said. “This is the dream. We will not let it fail. It’s our dream, it’s what we’ve wanted and we will make it work.”