The longtime Dallas branch of Zuzu Handmade Mexican Food has closed, after more than 20 years at the centrally located corner of Mockingbird Lane and Abrams Road. The closure itself was sudden, with the final day of service on July 23; but the restaurant's departure had been forecast for a few months, when owner Basilio Andrade made it clear in the spring that he was not planning to renew the lease, which expired on October 1.
Andrade was unavailable for comment, but he first told customers back in May that ZuZu would stay open through the end of September. By June, he told customers that he had changed his target closure date to the end of July or August.
He also told customers that the rent had been increased dramatically, quoting a figure as high as $8,000 a month. However, according to a source connected with the property, that figure was not accurate.
Customers were also told that Andrade was moving the restaurant to a new location in the Medallion Center, and the restaurant's Yelp listing is marked as "temporarily closed." A spokesperson for Medallion Center said there are no plans as of yet for a ZuZu to open there.
The first ZuZu Handmade Mexican Food opened in 1989 in Snider Plaza, with a healthy focus and fast-casual format that was ahead of its time. Its menu includes enchiladas, quesadillas, and fajitas, with housemade salsas in novel versions such as green tomatillo and roasted poblano red. Its signature item is grilled chicken. Original founders were Espartaco Borga and Horatio Lonsdale-Hands. Borga has since founded the La Duni chain, while Lonsdale-Hands' current project is Buda Juice.
Since 1993, ZuZu reverted to a family-owned and operated model, with each branch independently owned. The Snider Plaza original has long been closed, but there are locations in Austin, Addison, and Frisco, which opened in 2016.