Presented By

Haggar-logo Dallas-logo

  1. The Elevation of Tex-Mex
    Mico Rodriguez
  2. The Bounty of the Barnett Shale
    Kelcy Warren
  3. The Entrepreneurial Woman
    Tomima Edmark
  4. The Growth of the Vietnamese Community
    Jennifer Nguyen
  5. The Founding of Uptown
    Phil Cobb
  6. The Changing Face of Politics
    Craig Watkins
  7. The Brain Gain
    Dr. Hao Zhu
  8. The Four Sport Town
    Mike Modano
  9. The Underground Culture
    Katherine Owens
  10. The Catholic Migration
    Father Ivan Asencio
  11. The Organized South Asian Community
    John Hammond
  12. The Next Way to Develop
    Jeff Blackard
  13. The Allure of the Silicon Prairie
    Anousheh Ansari
  14. The lighting of Reunion Tower
    George Schrader
  15. The New Old Tradition
    Jennifer Moreno
  16. The Test Kitchen
    Mariel Street
  17. The Art Magnet
    Kevin Moriarty
  18. The Glamorous Return of Dallas Shopping
    Brian Bolke
  19. The Strengthening of the Gay Community
    Jack Evans and George Harris
  20. The Resurgence of Downtown Dallas
    Art Ortiz
  21. The Megachurch Boom
    Ed Young
  22. The Fundraisers
    Lynn McBee
  23. The Refuge
    Pedro Amaya
  24. The Reason Dallas Took Off
    Ron Barzyk
  25. The Girl Who Stayed Home
    Erykah Badu
  26. The Preservation of Our Historic Buildings
    Virginia McAlester
  27. The Thriving Ethiopian Community
    Birhan Mekonnen
  28. The New Dallas ISD
    Jessica Leija
  29. The Rebirth of the Trinity River
    Peter Payton
  30. The Trains Start Running
    Ladrika Davis Gross
  31. The Architect of an Art Scene
    Stephen Lapthisophon
  32. The Calculator That Changed the World
    Vonnie Howard
  33. The Rise and Fall and Rise of Deep Ellum
    Frank Campagna
  34. The Big Move
    Kendra Norwood
  35. The Expanding Empire in Fort worth
    Scott Hernandez
  36. The Family Recipe
    Chuy Cruz
  37. The Transformation of Oak Cliff
    David Spence
  38. The Now-Legal Immigrant
    Jesus Castillo Carrizales
  39. The City of Philanthropists
    Lyda Hill
  40. The Transplants
    Tara Vornkahl
00 The Test Kitchen Friday, April 25, at 5:51pm at Pullen-Mayfield Ranch, where she sources beef for Liberty Burger

Mariel Street

Gene Street took a circuitous route to the chain restaurant business. He wanted to see the world, so, at 23, he volunteered for the Air Force. His various “duties” included bartending in an officers’ club in Taiwan and selling appliances and cars out of the PX to the locals. His skills as a hustler came in handy when, in 1971, he and Phil Cobb opened J. Alfred’s, a dive bar in Oak Lawn that morphed into a slew of Black-Eyed Pea and Dixie House restaurants.  

Street’s daughter Mariel was born in December 1984, and a large portion of her childhood was spent riding around Dallas with her dad in his old Town Car, visiting his restaurants. “He would walk in and talk to the busboys first and the managers last,” Mariel says. “I learned about walk-in coolers and how a dish machine worked. He knew everyone by name.” 

After college, Mariel began her own roundabout route to the restaurant business. She traveled across Europe, studied in Venezuela, and joined the Peace Corps, where she lived with 450 people on a remote island in the Republic of Vanuatu in the South Pacific for 27 months. She returned to Dallas at the end of 2010 and had no idea what she was going to do. Her dad had retired and told her she would be nuts to go into the restaurant business. “That only pushed me harder into it,” she says. 

Mariel loved the new culinary trends but believed burgers were an American staple that a vibrant concept could be built around. She opened the doors to Liberty Burger when a three-day breast cancer walk was happening outside its Forest Lane location. The line was instant, and the crowds never stopped. There are now five restaurants, two of them owned by franchisees.

“My dad is against the franchise model,” Mariel says. “For someone who grew 300 restaurants through that model to urge me to slow down is weird.” What’s more bizarre? Gene Street invested in the first franchise of Liberty Burger, which opened in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.