It's a sad ending for a restaurant on Greenville Avenue that fought for its life from birth. Don Chingon, an upscale Mexican restaurant that opened in 2017 across from the former Whole Foods Market, has pulled the plug.
The restaurant closed temporarily in mid-October after it got flooded during the torrential rain. But Syn Group, the owners, decided in the end to close permanently.
"There were leaks in the roof that needed to be fixed, but ultimately we decided it was time to get out of that neighborhood," says co-owner Shawn Rao.
Don Chingon was their fresh spin on Tex-Mex, with a intriguing dishes such as papas asadas — crispy fries topped with flank steak — and sea bass poached in Modelo beer. But it was not their first plan for the former gas station at 2237 Greenville Ave., at the corner of Belmont Avenue.
They'd originally hoped to do a restaurant-bar with a large patio and outdoor games. But Greenville Avenue's ever-diligent neighborhood association clamped down on that, forcing them to reconcept.
From the sound of it, the neighborhood never let it go, despite their evolution into a business that was restaurant-only. "Even when we put a sign up, we got a call from the city saying that one of the neighbors didn't like the color pink," Rao says.
"We thought [the neighbors] would recognize that we weren't a bar or a club, and we never once had a DJ there," he says. "But any time we had customers waiting, they'd call the fire marshal, and the people who were waiting would have to leave. That's a hard thing to do to your customers. I understand a bar over capacity, but I've never heard of a fire marshal getting called to a restaurant."
The Syn Group is busy with two locations of Social House, a lively bar-restaurant in Addison and Fort Worth, and a third opening in Arlington in early November. (The Dallas location of Social House closed in June and will re-open in a new location TBA in early 2019.) They also own America Gardens, a restaurant-bar in Fort Worth, and have other concepts in the works.
Don Chingon was not the only closure on Greenville Avenue: Yucatan Taco Stand at 2023 Greenville Ave. closed on October 23, according to the Dallas Morning News.
But Rao says it's not the end for Don Chingon; they've already lined up at least one other address where they'll open a location.
"We believe in the concept, but we want to be able to execute it right and you need synergy with the neighborhood," he says.