A pizza chain specializing in deep-dish pies has sliced its local presence in half: Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom closed its only two Dallas restaurants, one at Mockingbird Station and the other in Cedar Hill.
A spokesperson said that the company also closed a location in Portland, Oregon.
"There were a few factors, but ultimately they decided to close under-performing stores," the spokesperson says.
A statement given to the DMN said it was "purely a business decision" and the company "continues to be optimistic about the future of Old Chicago."
The closures leave two restaurants in the DFW area, but on far-flung ends: one in Garland at 1380 W. Centerville Rd., and the other at Fort Worth at the Presidio complex at 8933 N. Fwy. There are also locations in Tyler, Waco, Killeen, and Katy. Between those locations, it's an Old Chicago desert.
The Mockingbird Station store opened optimistically in 2014 with 14 specialty pizzas and two types of crust, both made in-house every day: Chicago Thick, a buttery hand-tossed cornmeal crust, served in the pan; and Tavern Thin, which has a light and crispy texture and is served square-cut.
Cedar Hill opened in 2016.
The Dallas branch was particularly convenient with its location in the center of town; access to public transportation, thanks to the train stop at Mockingbird Station; and ample, convenient parking.
But the space it's in has not had good luck — not with prior tenant Mockingbird Tap Room, which lasted only six months, and not with the innovative fast-casual concept Vapiano that was there previously. Other restaurants at Mockingbird Station have closed, most notably Cafe Express.
Old Chicago's parent company CraftWorks invested lots of time, money, and accommodating service in trying to keep the locations afloat. They even had Dallasites 101 come out and try it. And six years is not exactly shabby.
But deep dish is a weird thing. People complain when they can't get it but do they really want it?
These are not the only recent closures for CraftWorks: They withdrew their gastropub chain Gordon Biersch Brewery from the market in 2018.