The Toyota Music Factory doesn’t exactly look like a new and impressive concert venue from the northbound lane of John Carpenter Freeway, just two exits north of the University of Dallas and about an $8 Uber ride from campus.
With the Toyota logo and muddy brown stucco on the side, it almost looks like a closed-in car dealership or windowless corporate office. Even from Las Colinas Boulevard, there is no apparent entrance. The building itself is almost completely obscured by the rows of bars and restaurants, many still under construction, that make up the complex.
Not until you park in the garage, nestled in the heart of the various shops, and emerge into the previously obscured plaza, can you see the Music Factory’s potential as a venue.
The path to the actual venue leads past several bars and restaurants, an Alamo Drafthouse, still under construction, and, finally, a plaza. The apparent idea is to allow concert-goers to grab a bite or a drink before the show.
The circular plaza has a built-in stage, presumably for smaller outdoor events. Laid into the concrete are lyrics from a variety of famous songs, from Frank Sinatra’s “Fly me to the Moon” to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.” Beyond this plaza, the only entrance to the Music Factory becomes visible: a row of half a dozen tall glass doors.
Beyond these doors will lie — wait for it — even more restaurants, before concert goers emerge outdoors once more. General admission seating is on the lawn in the back, while nearer to the stage are covered stadium seats.
A large “Exit Only” staircase wraps around the outside of the building, depositing those leaving the concert right where they began: in the plaza with the restaurants.
Anyone who has ever known the struggle of finding a restaurant or bar at 12 a.m. after leaving a concert will immediately see the appeal of this set-up. An array of options is conveniently laid out within walking distance without guests having to sit in concert traffic or wait for an Uber.
However, even with such a variety, it’s easy to see how these places could become very crowded on concert nights. And the restaurants themselves cater to a slightly different clientele than the average UD student. The closest restaurants to the Pavilion are the most upscale. Boi na Braza, a Brazilian steakhouse on the southeast corner, costs $30 to $50 a plate and recommends a reservation.
The more reasonably priced Bar Louie, which boasts two outdoor patios and an impressive martini selection, sits on the far side of the complex. It offers salads, sandwiches, flatbreads and burgers for $9 to $15. However, with the addition of a drink and a shared appetizer, diners could easily spend over $20 a person.
Overall, it’s an exciting addition to Irving, and its location makes it an ideal place for students to go for a night out. Future performances from Awolnation, Brad Paisley, and Charlie Puth could make for exciting evenings, if students budget the necessary time and money.