The Dallas location of III Forks Steakhouse has closed after being locked out by the landlord, but is setting up shop in a sister restaurant in Frisco.
Located at 17776 N. Dallas Pkwy., the steakhouse shut down on September 9 after nearly 23 years at that location. According to a release, the ongoing impact of COVID-19 was the cause.
The restaurant relocated to 1303 Legacy Dr., taking over the space occupied by its sibling steakhouse, Silver Fox; both are part of the portfolio of Dallas-based Consolidated Restaurant Operations, Inc. The restaurant reopened as III Forks on September 15, with new signage and other updates coming soon.
III Forks' four other locations, including one in Austin, remain open.
The restaurant's Facebook page said that the closure was due to "unresolved mechanical issues and the effects of the storm Wednesday afternoon."
A staffer who answered the phone said that the landlord opted not to renew the lease, while a spokesperson for the landlord, Dallas Stake Investment, said they were locked out for nonpayment of rent. "We tried to work with them and gave them a lot of options, this went back over a long period of time, before COVID-19," he said.
But III Forks' statement said it was entirely post-virus.
"Despite the crisis brought on by the current pandemic, III Forks has been unable to reach a mutually acceptable solution to a dispute with the California-based absentee landlord of the Dallas North Parkway location," they said.
CRO vice president Bill Watson said that the restaurant did have mechanical issues.
"The storm brought on a shutdown of power which short-circuited a number of pieces of equipment," he said. "As we attempted to power back up, we reached an impasse."
He said this is the only location where they've had an issue with an intractable landlord.
"During the past six months, we have tried to engage every one of our real estate partners to work creatively and come up with a solution to allow for the continuance of business and rent to our landlords," he said. "In this environment, every other landlord has been working with us cooperatively."
The Dallas location is unusually large with more than 25,000 square feet, big enough to accommodate gatherings of up to 900 — sadly useless during these times.
"We had been contemplating moving to Frisco as a way to work out of our issues," Watson said. "We need to be operating in a location that is scaled correctly to how we see ourselves going forward as a steakhouse, and with a landlord we can we can rely on. We think moving to Frisco is an extraordinary opportunity for both customers and staff."
III Forks was created in 1998 by restaurateur Dale Wamstad, who'd just left Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House. As noted by D Magazine, it was unlike other high-end steakhouses in Dallas, in that steaks came with sides such as duchess potatoes, sugar snap peas, and creamed corn.
Consolidated also owns the El Chico and Cantina Laredo chains, plus a few independents such as Lucky Cafe on Oak Lawn Avenue. They owned Cool River Cafe, which shut down in the spring.
In April, CRO's CEO John Harkey said that the company had laid off 4,000 people, and called COVID-19 "devastating."