Known as a Prosper tradition of community, music and hospitality since 2001, The Cotton Gin Café has been a beloved establishment that provides a sense of fellowship and delicious homestyle meals to its customers. The story of The Gin notably reflects Prosper's journey from a quiet town to a bustling hub of activity, and the Pettis family's ownership since 2015 has been pivotal in shaping this transformation.
Pettis family members state they began operating the restaurant with a vision to expand while maintaining its charm and nostalgia.
“We bought The Cotton Gin Café with hopes of developing Prosper's missing piece: a place with a fun-loving atmosphere where people could gather and enjoy each other’s company,” explains Mike Pettis, The Gin co-owner.
In 2017, the Pettis family introduced The Gin Bar as an expansion, creating a space where friends and families can gather to enjoy cold beer, craft cocktails and live outdoor music. This addition merged the restaurant and bar, reflecting Prosper's growth and evolution, with an eye toward community values and serving customers with Southern hospitality.
"We've always wanted The Gin to be a friendly, homey, easy-going venue to bring people together,” says Mike. “We love seeing old friends meet back up; that was always the goal.”
The Gin’s emphasis is on quality food and drinks. Mike says he and his staff take a homestyle approach to breakfast, lunch and dinner, ensuring that every meal is prepared with care and attention to detail. The Gin's staff has capitalized on the opportunity to introduce more tastings and samplings, not only attracting new patrons but also gaining insights into the preferences of Prosper's residents.
"We decided to move to fresher, 'made to order' items,” states Mike. “This has increased our quality of food significantly, and our customers are loving it."
All beef at the restaurant, including Wagyū, is exclusively sourced from HeartBrand Ranch in Harwood, Texas. Additionally, The Gin now offers rotating daily specials, featuring different items each day. Mike says pizza remains the most popular item, however. The dough is made in-house and spun in The Gin kitchen, then cooked to perfection in a dedicated pizza oven.
The bar is a popular spot for people to unwind and enjoy their downtime. The menu features an extensive selection of bottled or draft beer, wines and spirits to cater to different preferences. For customers looking for a refreshing beer, glasses of wine to complement their meals or custom cocktails, The Gin offers a fully stocked bar. Mike says The Gin recently partnered with Bacardi, which includes brands such as Grey Goose Vodka and Angels Envy Bourbon. This collaboration has inspired The Gin's bar manager, Eddie Betances, to curate a series of captivating cocktails.
The Gin offers live outdoor music every Friday and Saturday, creating a vibrant atmosphere for guests to enjoy. Mike says he and his team are working on some exciting things in the way of music. For those who have a liking for country or Red dirt music, the upcoming "Bluebonnet Series” is an event to which to look forward (at press time, exact dates were still being finalized).
Many see The Gin as the perfect venue for hosting parties and celebrating special occasions with family and friends. Rain or shine, The Gin staffers say they provide indoor and outdoor options designed to make events memorable.
The establishment has not been immune to change, though. Recent adjustments include closing for breakfast Mondays through Thursdays, due to changing customer patterns and rising food costs.
As more bars and restaurants emerge in Prosper, particularly downtown, Mike believes The Gin stands out with its unique offerings and small-town feel. The Gin boasts a dedicated team of leaders committed to providing excellent service and Southern hospitality in a welcoming environment. Mike says The Gin prioritizes customer service and aims to make guests feel at home and treated like family. He says he eagerly anticipates the growth of downtown Prosper, as it will enhance the overall ambiance and make it a vibrant destination.
"We predict that within a year, Downtown Prosper will be the place to be,” he adds.
The Pettis family's commitment to preserving the town's charm while expanding the establishment has made The Gin a valued destination for residents and visitors alike. With its homestyle meals, live music and warm hospitality, The Gin continues to be a place where people can come together, celebrate and create lasting memories.
The Gin Hours of Operation:
- Mondays through Wednesdays: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Thursdays: 11 a.m. to midnight
- Fridays and Saturdays: 7 a.m. to midnight
- Sundays: Closed
“We have the best staff who genuinely treat our customers like family," - Mike Pettis, The Gin co-owner, at 204 W. Broadway St. “We talk about the importance of customer service every week. When you are at The Gin, we want you to feel at home.”