Deep Ellum restaurant Junction Craft Kitchen has shut down, announcing its closure on Facebook with a post that says the "ship was sinking" and it was time to bail out.
Located in a central spot at the corner of Elm Street and Malcolm X Boulevard, Junction started out as Kitchen LTO, a restaurant incubator concept in Trinity Groves. But then Trinity Groves gave it the old heave-ho.
Owner Casie Caldwell found the location in Deep Ellum and re-opened it, then made it a permanent concept in 2017: She partnered up with chef Josh Harmon, a Tastemaker nominee for Rising Star Chef in 2017 — so you know he must be good — and re-named it Junction Craft Kitchen.
In November, she sold the restaurant to former food writer Cody Neathery.
Neathery says that the restaurant was already faltering when he took it over, and it remained a struggle until he decided to close.
"We want to sincerely thank all of our loyal guests over the years from the inception as Kitchen LTO through the transition into Junction," the post says. "The last few months weren't easy, filled with many trials and tribulations, but we weathered the storm and managed to stay afloat with your support.
"Before new ownership came onboard in November, the ship was sinking, and the positive changes made didn't resonate as planned," the post says.
Neathery's changes included adding a speakeasy called Leadbelly's. In January, he parted ways with Harmon under murky circumstances.
"It was too little, too late," the post says. "The struggle became a point of survival to keep our staff employed through the holidays. After that goal was obtained, we took it week to week, and more often than we wanted, day to day. Now the time has come that we can no longer go it alone. We hope you understand that this decision was not made lightly. Our final request, if anyone can assist locating new homes for our industry professionals, please reach out. Those who stayed until the end deserve the best. And as the great Willie Nelson sung, "Turn out the lights, the party's over.'"
Neathery says that the space already has a new tenant.
"There is another group who is taking over the lease since we couldn't make April rent," he says. "Their plans are currently unknown. I may be involved but the scope will be limited. At this time nothing is concrete, so I'll leave it to them to make the announcement when they're ready."
Hey, other restaurant group, yoo-hoo, we're making the "call me" signal over here. Give us a call.