After two years of trying to make ends meet, a sweet indie restaurant in Oak Cliff has shut its doors. Grassroots Kitchen, a mom-and-pop that opened in March 2018 in the Elmwood neighborhood at 2109 S. Edgefield Ave., closed on February 3.
Adam Loew, who co-owns Grassroots with his wife Thania, says that the landlord found a new tenant for the space, and that they'd be packing it in.
"It's definitely not what we want, but we were never able to make it profitable," Loew says. "We did this on our own, we had no investors, we put everything we had into this but were never able to make ends meet."
Unfortunately, the couple spent so much money on the initial build-out, that there was a slim chance of recouping their costs. The building is owned by Joe Christopher, who also owns Vapor Scape, an e-cigarette company on Davis St.
The restaurant's name "Grassroots Kitchen" was on the money: It began via a true grass-roots approach when Loew, a chef trained in culinary who attended Johnson & Wales, first introduced his concept via a neighborhood street-corner pop-up.
"With all of the obstacles during the build-out, it took three years to get it open," Loew says. "In the meantime, I sold food on the street corner across from the Kessler Theater. Every Friday and Saturday night, I'd set up a smoker and table and sell food all weekend. I got to meet the whole neighborhood, and got to know what people liked."
At Grassroots, they served homey entrees, sandwiches, salads, and appetizers from scratch at a laudably affordable price. Customers raved over their crispy chicken sandwich, and many declared the Vietnamese banh mi to be the best they'd ever had.
The restaurant was highly rated by those who did visit, but their location in a sleepy strip center whose other tenants include a driving school and a dance studio was a big obstacle, with no foot traffic or even drive-by traffic.
"We were also trying to do affordable food but our rent was high," Loew says.
Loew has been recruited more than once to work as a chef at restaurants, and they've also been approached by landlords to open a spinoff. For now, they're considering their next step.
"My goal has always been to make people happy," Loew says. "We treated our customers like family, we made our food from scratch, and we didn't cut corners."
"We're a little shell-shocked right now," he says. "But we're trying to look at this as a valuable lesson learned."