Tell us a little about yourselves and what led you to opening your gourmet grocery store, Royal Blue Grocery?
Zac: The first Royal Blue Grocery was in a development I worked on in downtown Austin years ago. It became my go-to spot while there on business, and I really loved how it brought the neighborhood together. I met with the founders about expanding to Dallas and they ultimately agreed to let me, my wife Emily Ray-Porter, and our best friend Cullen Potts expand the concept to Dallas. Then, when Tom Thumb moved out, we all thought there couldn’t be a better place than the Village to open our first Dallas store and flagship.
How long have you all been leading the charge at Royal Blue Grocery in Highland Park Village?
Cullen: We’ve been so blessed with Royal Blue Grocery. In a way, it feels to us like it has been in the Village forever. It’s hard for us to believe, but it’s coming up on five years now. It feels like just yesterday that we were opening the doors. It shows when you love what you do, how fast time flies.
What’s your favorite or most unique thing about what you do?
Emily: We all love great food, but my favorite thing by far is the people. It’s so fun working with our team and meeting all our customers. We’ve made some great friends, and it has really changed our lives. I have to say, though, my second favorite thing is doing wine tastings to see what we want to bring in. It’s a great perk!
How long have you personally been visiting Highland Park Village?
Zac: I still remember my first visit to Highland Park Village. I’d just gotten my drivers license and drove in to meet family friends at Mi Cocina. It was Christmas time with all the lights and was just really magical. Funny enough, I then worked at Banana Republic Men’s between semesters at UT. Fast forward 10 years and my commercial real estate office was down the hall from William Noble’s third floor suite. And now, Royal Blue. So, in one way or another, I’ve spent most of my life working in Highland Park Village.
What do you enjoy most about the Highland Park Village community?
Cullen: There is nothing comparable to Highland Park Village. It’s so beautiful and when you get here, you’re greeted with a smile and just feel welcome. Everyone knows everyone. From neighbors to kids to the Highland Park police officers and valets to employees and customers. The Village makes me feel at home.
Are there any secret or fun facts you can share about the center or Royal Blue Grocery?
Emily: Our space was originally a Skillern’s Drugstore back in the ‘30s. We hung a black and white photo of that store upstairs on our top floor. When Zac was doing some research at the Downtown Dallas Library for our second location on Main Street, he discovered that space downtown was also a former Skillern’s! Our metal awning there even mirrors their design.
What are some of your other favorite spots around The Village?
Zac: I love all the restaurants. It’s where we go for dinner more nights than not. MiCo, Honor Bar, Café Pacific, Fachini, Bistro 31, and most recently, Park House. Ralph Lauren is such a great store. Probably half my closet is either Theory or James Perse.
Cullen: The Village is like a second home to me. It’s where I meet friends for drinks at Park House, Honor Bar, and Monkey Bar. I have family dinners at Café Pacific and date nights at MiCo. My closet is full of clothes from Baretta, James Perse and rag & bone. Groceries are always picked up daily at RBG for food around the house.
Emily: I love shopping at FRAME, Bandier, rag & bone, and MARKET. Dior is my go-to for a splurge! The Royal Blue patio and Park House are my favorite spots to meet friends for a glass of wine.