Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Local Favorite Restaurants™
Mike Karns is owner and CEO of Local Favorite Restaurants. He has extensive expertise in real estate and also directs the operations of Local Favorite Restaurants' sister companies, Triton Commercial Real Estate, LLC and Karns Commercial Real Estate, Inc. His real estate and hospitality experience began with his time as Director of Real Estate for CiCi’s Pizza. Beginning with 12 local restaurants, Karns expanded CiCi’s Pizza into a national brand with close to 400 locations.
In 1993, he formed Karns Commercial Real Estate (KCRE), focusing on the acquisition and development of retail and office properties that span multiple states, and has developed and invested in real estate for more than two decades. He purchased El Fenix Corporation in 2008 as part of his “real estate driven restaurant operation company” vision, and added Snuffer’s Restaurant & Bar to his restaurant portfolio in 2013 and another local favorite, Village Burger Bar in 2017. Karns also created original restaurant concepts Meso Maya, Taqueria La Ventana, TorTaco and Tulum and has grown to over 40 locations in DFW.
Karns is an active member of the World Presidents’ Organization as well as other elite groups including Stagen Leadership Institute, Tiger 21 and is a long time student of Strategic Coach and its masters program. He was recognized as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2015. Karns has also been inducted into the Richardson High School Hall of Fame and recognized as a distinguished alumni at his alma mater, Stephen F. Austin University.
In addition to being a recognized leader in the real estate and restaurant industries, Karns and his companies and employees have been long-time supporters of local and national non-profit groups, including The North Texas Food Bank, The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, JDRF Dallas, American Heart Association, The United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and charity: water. His dynamic contributions have made a significant difference throughout the Dallas community and worldwide.
Martin Adler is a licensed Attorney and CPA. Adler has extensive experience in the restaurant industry, franchising, real estate development, financial reporting, tax planning, compliance, risk management and asset management both domestically and internationally. He is responsible for successfully transitioning the then largest single International House of Pancakes restaurant franchisee to private equity group owners while exponentially growing their number of units and revenues. Adler has also served as Chairman of the Board with Collin Bank in Frisco, Texas and received his Bachelor of BA at University of Texas at Austin and his Juris Doctor at American University in Washington D.C.
Chief Operating Officer
Steve Chambers is a dedicated, successful senior manager who trains and develops teams that remain impressed with his strong leadership and interpersonal skills long after their initial hiring date. Prior to joining Local Favorite Restaurants, his skills delivered tangible bottom-line results at On The Border and T.G.I. Friday’s where he was recognized for outstanding sales, staff retention, and exemplary guest satisfaction.
Chef Nico’s love for the culinary arts started at age nine, when he started working at a bakery making deliveries and assisting in the kitchen. Nico later honed his skills at several restaurants and regions throughout Mexico, where he learned about seafood, dried chilies, making sauces from scratch and perfecting tamale-making techniques.
He moved to Dallas in 1996 to pursue his goal of becoming a renowned chef. Chef Nico earned his reputation within the Dallas restaurant scene by working at Cuba Libre, The Porch, Hibiscus, and Meso Maya. His food is celebrated for its complexity, unique presentation, and fresh flavors.
Angie Martin, CPP, SHRM-CP
Director of Human Resources
Angie has over 28 years of experience in Human Resources, Payroll and Administrative Services. She began her career as an Administrator for Burson & Williams Architects. Prior to joining Local Favorite Restaurants, Angie held various roles in the Architectural and Development industry working the majority of her time at Trammell Crow Residential. Angie has served as Vice President and Secretary for the Dallas Chapter of the Society of Design Administration. She was also the Charter President of the Fort Worth Chapter of the Society of Design Administration. During her tenure with Local Favorite Restaurants, Angie has received the Hot Tamale of the Year Award and was a nominee for the North Dallas Chamber HR Professional of the Year Award. Angie is a Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) and is currently in the process of obtaining her SHRM certification.
Blythe Grates, MA
Senior Marketing Director
Blythe has over twenty years of experience in both advertising agencies and client side marketing. She began her career in advertising and public relations at Temerlin McLain. She has also worked in retail with Blockbuster in direct marketing, Pizza Hut as national and Hispanic advertising manager and with Sleep Experts as marketing director. She currently serves on the boards for Greater Dallas Restaurant Association and for Medical City’s KidsFit. During her tenure with Local Favorite Restaurants, Blythe has developed fully-integrated marketing and media campaigns generating double digit sales growth with the relaunch of El Fenix’s Enchilada Wednesday campaigns and Snuffer’s $5 Cheeseburger Tuesday. She also partnered with her PR agency to generate 25MM impressions for El Fenix’s Centennial Campaign and launched marketing campaigns for two new brand concepts.