UPDATE 1-16-2020: According to a statement from Taco Cabana, the outcome of the Tango Frogs is still TBD. "At Taco Cabana we understand the importance of the Tango Frogs to the community," the statement says. "We are currently exploring options to ensure that they find a good home."
Perhaps you've heard the news that Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc., Taco Cabana's parent company, closed 19 Taco Cabana restaurants in Texas, effective immediately.
Four stores in the Dallas area closed, plus another three in Denton and Fort Worth. Among the closures were two in Frisco, rendering Frisco a town without a Taco Cabana, tragic news; and the most famous local Taco Cabana, the longtime location on Lower Greenville.
Taco Cabana recently added scrumptious new nachos starring plant-based Beyond Meat, and their frozen margaritas are always fantastically velvety-smooth. You'd think those might create the greatest sense of loss.
But instead, the No. 1 question being posed is, "What's going to happen to the Tango Frogs?"
The famed "Tango Frogs" are a colorful sculpture executed by larger-than-life artist Bob "Daddy-O" Wade (who recently passed away). They were originally a fixture on top of the building when it was an '80s nightclub from restaurateur Shannon Wynne called Tango's.
The club closed and the frogs were found languishing in a truck stop off I-35 when they were rescued by Tim Taft, former CEO of Fiesta Restaurant Group, and Todd Coerver, former COO of Taco Cabana, who bought three frogs and reinstalled them atop the restaurant in 2014. (Three others are at a Chuy's in Nashville.)
Rachel Wade, daughter of the artist, says that as far as she knows, the frogs still belong to Taco Cabana. A TC spokesperson said he was looking into their status.
There is no shortage of ideas about where the frogs should go. One company in Dallas' Design District thinks they'd be a nice capper for their building. A Greenville Avenue resident wonders if they can be auctioned with the proceeds donated to a local school. There's also the chance that Taco Cabana will keep the frogs and reassign them to another store.
Here are 5 suggestions for where the Tango Frogs should go next:
Give them to Gary. Send the frogs to join the kitschy menagerie of Lakewood resident Gary Isett. He's well known for harboring a collection of pop-culture items in his yard, including a 7-foot-tall Big Boy statue. The frogs' gaudy style would fit right in.
Pair them with Pegasus. Prop the frogs next to the iconic, original red neon Pegasus horse which sits atop a 22-foot oil derrick in front of the Omni Dallas Hotel. Pegasus looks noble and heroic, but he's been there all by himself for a long time. Horsie needs friends.
Send them to the Dallas Zoo. It would be super cool if, instead of having wild animals locked inside a cage to be stared at (which they hate), the Dallas Zoo had these frogs instead. Everyone would enjoy their colorful markings, and take selfies with them, and buy "Tango At The Zoo!" T-shirts. And since the frogs are not alive, there'd be zero danger of them getting killed, which has been known to happen to animals at the Dallas Zoo.
Create a Tango Frogs Theme Park in south Dallas. Ship the frogs to the grounds of the Trinity Forest Golf Club, the city of Dallas' latest boondoggle. The club was founded in 2016 to serve as home to the AT&T Byron Nelson golf championship. But after three years, despite earnest boosterism from the Dallas Morning News, the Byron Nelson has announced that the 2020 tournament would be its final year.
The frogs could give this million-dollar facility a new life and purpose, and could undoubtedly surpass the dismal turnout the Byron Nelson has drawn. Place the frogs at various holes, and the side benefit is that they'd be at one with nature. Add a few windmills and you'd have a killer putt-putt.
Donate them to Senor Frog's. This chain of bars with locations in Mexico, United States, and the Caribbean would provide the Tango Frogs with a welcome change from the gritty urban milieu they've endured the past five years. At Señor Frog’s the only rule to follow is to follow no rules, and this would surely be a relief for the Tango crew which has stood sentry, overlooking the illegal parkers in the Taco Cabana parking lot all this time.
But best of all, Senor Frog's has its own in-house stable of oversized frogs. Nothing surpasses being with one's own kind. The Senor Frog's crew could truly understand and relate to the Tango Frogs' amphibious nature.
Stephanie Allmon Merry contributed to this story.