Brad Hawkins is a Dallas native and Plano Senior High graduate. As an actor, singer and restaurateur, he has spent over 25 years of his life between Dallas, Los Angeles and Nashville.
His very first TV show was a spinoff of Power Rangers called VR Troopers, and he also guest starred in the Richard Linklater 12-year movie "Boyhood" with Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette. He had a record deal in Nashville for three years and toured with Faith Hill, Toby Keith and many others. Hawkins also charted two No. 1 videos. After acting and music, he returned home in 2006 and started a career in hospitality running some of the most popular nightclubs and restaurants in Dallas. In 2016, he struck out on his own and developed the Shakertins brand. He opened the first location in The Colony, then in Allen and the third in Plano at the Shops at Legacy. His most recent location is in Prosper. He also created Sushi Marquee at The Star in Frisco.
Hawkins currently lives in Carrollton and is the proud father of his 2-year-old daughter Chloe.
Between voice acting and on screen acting, which do you prefer and why?
Honestly, I'm kind of torn. The character voices that I have done are a lot of fun. Most of them are big and over the top fictional characters so they are a lot of fun to do. Gives me a chance to be someone I'm not in real life. I usually play villains for some reason with big evil laughs and awesome superpowers so that brings out the kid in me. But I do those in a studio by myself so there is always a part of me that misses working with other actors. Nothing beats the experience of working eye-to-eye with other actors and creating something special with a great scene.
In your acting career, what characters have you related to most and why?
I played a 50's/60's singer in the CBS Mini Series "Shake, Rattle and Roll" in 2000. I have always wanted to live in that era of time when that sound was so new and fun. You had to be a singer as well as a performer. There is only ONE Elvis, but my character was inspired by him so it gave me the opportunity I've always wanted.
What was your favorite role that you’ve played?
Playing an alcoholic step father in "Boyhood" was very special to me. It was a dark character so I had to go to some pretty dark times in my life with people in my life that I could pull those experiences from. My mom and dad split up when I was very young. My mom dated some guys that acted like that so I had to relive a lot of those moments I thought I had forgot about. It was a challenge. On top of that, the movie didn't have a script. The director was a genius and he would give the actors direction but we created our own dialogue for each scene. I had never seen any style like that in film making before. We filmed the movie over 12 years so everyone aged in real time. It was an experience I will never top and I don't think will ever be attempted again. I'm honored to have been a part of that project.
Who have been some major influences in your career?
Depends on the career (laughs out loud). In music my influences were mostly my family. They could all sing and play instruments. They had bands when I was growing up and I would get up and jam with them when I was really young. It gave me the hunger to go to Nashville and pursue it professionally. In acting, my mentors were my acting coaches. They showed me the "craft" of acting. I learned to respect the process and dig deep to give the most genuine performance. That required digging into some dark corners in my life and I learned so much about myself and relationships in my life from that training. In hospitality, my mentors were some great men that taught me the business of the service industry. Dennis Sheldon, Chris Jent and Zach Hopkins are three people I can easily say taught be everything I know from exceeding guest expectations to the behind the scenes business of hospitality.
What is Shakertins, and how did it come about?
I was involved with the Chopshop Sports Garage in Carrollton at the time. I was approached by a close friend of mine to come on board with a new location he had secured the lease on in The Colony. I came in as an equity partner and helped develop the concept from the ground up. We built that first location with our bare hands. It was my first attempt to build an original concept so I learned a LOT from the mistakes and lessons of that first location. The more we learned, the better we got as we moved forward.
Where do you hope to see Shakertins in the coming years?
We truly feel we can build up the Shakertins brand over a dozen locations in the DFW area in the next 5-6 years. We currently have 4 and just signed a lease on number 5. We are growing at a rate of 1-2 location per year so we can accomplish that if we keep that pace. It's exciting that developers are now pursuing us to be a part of their projects. We heard a lot of "no's" and had doors shut in our faces in the past. We are finally turning the corner and the brand is now more familiar in our area.
What sorts of events does Shakertins hold?
We are always about having a great time and throwing unique events. We always show UFC at all of our locations for no cover charge. We have become known for that. We feature major boxing events, live music, holiday parties and private events. Shakertins is an upscale but very approachable sports bar. We love customizing events for our guests.
How long have you lived in the area?
I was born in Dallas. Graduated from Plano Senior High School. Now I live in Carrollton with my family. I'm a Texas resident and love being from Texas. I couldn't be happier knowing my concepts are now a part of the fabric of the city I grew up in.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spare time? What's that? (laughs out loud) We are so busy with the concepts we have now it's a nonstop roller coaster ride. Day in, day out! I really need to put aside some time for myself. But my favorite thing to do when I'm not working is spending time with my daughter Chloe. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I wouldn't trade anything for the relationship that I have with her. She lights me up and I learn so much from her every day. She has changed my life for better and forever. I still like to sing from time to time and I would be happy on any beach in the world. Living on the beach will be the end game scenario for me.
What’s one thing about you that readers would never guess to be true?
I had a McDonald's Happy Meal once! (Laughs out loud) VR Troopers was featured in a national push with McDonald's once and we had our own Happy Meals. Not many people can say that.
Winston Henvey is the reporter for the Mesquite News, Coppell Gazette and The Leader serving Carrollton, Flower Mound and Lewisville. Email him with story suggestions at email@example.com.