Despite protests to the contrary, Oak Cliff Tex-Mex restaurant El Corazon de Tejas is on the verge of closing, and definitely in the near-term future. John Cuellar, who owns El Corazon with his wife Susan, says that the restaurant will close on April 30, pending the sale of the building.
In early April, Cuellar denied rumors that the restaurant would close, calling the rumors "extremely premature" and stating that the restaurant would be serving for the indefinite future.
The condolences Cuellar was receiving came from diners who'd read about the Dallas City Plan Commission's approval of a request from Alabama-based Orange Development to replat 4.5 acres on Zang at Beckley.
Although the company's request to demolish the property was approved, Cuellar says that it was one of a number of offers he had received, and he wasn't sure what the outcome would be.
"I have been in negotiation with multiple buyers since January, and had letters of intent competing with each other," he says. "None of the offers had been finalized, and one of the prospective buyers indicated that they did not want the restaurant to close. It would have been a sale and lease-back, where we would still operate the restaurant there."
Since the news emerged that the restaurant might be for sale, a petition has been created to try and preserve the property, without the Cuellars' involvement. While the building itself is undistinguished, it sits on a corner that's currently churning with redevelopment, as is the neighborhood overall.
Cuellar says that their attachment to El Corazon lies in the food and history, not the building.
"We’re flattered by all the attention from all of our guests and neighbors," Cuellar says. "We have a good-faith obligation to all of our staff to treat them properly and we will do that. We feel like the hard work of earlier members of my family has created a lot of good will, but we think it’s associated with the menu and quality of food, not the building. That’s why we have expanded food to other venues and are negotiating letter of intent for another restaurant."