Produce Matters

Spiceman's 1410 moves produce operation into East Dallas cafe

Spiceman's 1410 moves produce operation into East Dallas cafe

Fresh-picked garden produce
Tom Spicer's wholesale produce operation has moved. Photo by Marshall Hinsley

Boutique produce purveyor Spiceman's FM 1410 has shut down its storefront on Fitzhugh Avenue, but it has found a new place to roost: Garden Cafe. Owner Tom Spicer vacated the space next door to Urbano Cafe on December 15.

The inveterate produce forager opened Spiceman's in 2007 as a storefront to offer to the public some of the produce finds he was selling wholesale to restaurants. During the course of his residence there, he hosted dinners and offered limited-edition items such as Texas-made olive oil. He also took over a patch of land nearby, where he did some produce growing of his own.

In December, a cast-iron pipe beneath his space ruptured, making it necessary to dig up the concrete floor to make repairs. At that point, Spicer, whose lease had expired, and landlord Mike Turner determined that it was time to shut down the market.

"I'm not in the retail space anymore, but we are still flush in all kinds of greens," Spicer says. "So we're moving our base of operations over to Garden Cafe."

Garden Cafe chef Mark Wootton confirmed that he was providing storage and operational space for Spicer's wholesale produce business. "He's not selling retail here anymore, but he has a refrigerator here to keep up his wholesale business," Wootton says.

Although Spiceman's is off Fitzhugh, Spicer says he intends to operate the nearby garden as long as possible.

As for the Spiceman's market space, Turner says he's finishing the plumbing repairs and interviewing tenant candidates. "It won't be a restaurant; we'll put some kind of retail in that space," he says. "We've talked to a florist, but I don't know what it’s going to be yet."