So Many Memories

Mockingbird Station suffers big loss with closure of longtime Dallas restaurant

Mockingbird Station suffers big loss with Dallas restaurant closure

Cafe Express salad
It was a staple for decades. Photo courtesy of Cafe Express

UPDATE: An October 2 statement from Cafe Express COO Bobby Jaramillo confirmed the closure, as well as closures in Austin and Houston. "The closure of our Mockingbird Station location was a tough decision, but the right decision," Jaramillo said. "We also decided to close our North Lamar location in Austin, as well as the Woodway at Voss location in Houston. Doing so allows us to focus on our performing restaurants, and we have engaged a firm to help us with this restructure."

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A staple restaurant at Mockingbird Station has folded up its tent: Cafe Express, which occupied the prime position at the corner of Mockingbird Lane and US-75 for nearly 20 years, has closed.

A representative from the company confirmed the closure, adding that the final day was September 28. The location has been removed from the company website.

According to a statement from the company, "We have made the decision to close this location as part of our re-branding effort. We can continue to serve you at any of our additional locations."

This follows the shutter of the Cafe Express in Southlake, which the Fort Worth Star Telegram reported closed in August, and leaves two Cafe Express locations in the Dallas area: one on Lovers Lane and the other on McKinney Avenue in Uptown Dallas, which re-opened in January following a two-year closure.

The Mockingbird Station location was a foundation of the landmark center ever since it opened in 2001, serving as a casual drop-in and meeting spot with its spaciousness and easy-come easy-go atmosphere.

It was home to many a lunch-time rendezvous; oodles of casual low-pressure first dates; and too many before- and after-movie meals to count.

And while the quality may have wavered over the years, it wasn't for lack of business that the abrupt closure occurred.

Employees, some of whom were offered positions at the other locations, say they were told there was an issue with the landlord.

However, an employee from Mockingbird Station, aka the landlord, said that they were "quite surprised" to see the restaurant had closed.

The chain was recently acquired by new owner in M. Terry Enterprises, who relocated the headquarters from Houston to Dallas, from which it operates about a dozen locations in Dallas, Houston, and Austin.

The company was founded by Houston chef Robert del Grande and restaurateur (and CultureMap co-founder) Lonnie Schiller, and was an early fast-casual concept at a time when fast-casual was still new. Over the years, it changed hands twice: Wendy's bought the concept, and it was then acquired by Houston real estate company Redstone.

CEO George Hailey and COO Bobby Jaramillo joined the company in 2017; the two previously worked for Chili's and Brinker International.