A one-time barbecue restaurant open in Dallas for more than a decade has closed. HQ Prime Beer Garden, which had been at the northeast corner of Walnut Hill Lane and US-75 under a variety of names, closed on November 25.
Owner Craig Collins calls it a load off his mind. "We were losing money and there wasn't enough business in the center for us to keep going," he says.
HQ started out as Red, Hot and Blue, a location of the national chain doing Memphis-style barbecue. In 2017, the restaurant changed its persona to RHBQ, undertaking a $2.5 million renovation that included the installation of a large patio.
"With RHBQ, it was our goal to create an elevated experience with live music," Collins says. "We hosted all sorts of events there, from national BBQ cooking classes to sports watching for Alabama alumni. It just turned into something different from the Red, Hot and Blue brand."
He also shifted the menu with the addition of prime rib including a French dip sandwich, and redfish out of the Gulf. These steps were not enough.
"Part of what changed is that the center turned into a collection of restaurants, with none of the retail or shopping it had previously," he says.
Restaurants that have opened there in the past few years include Bellagreen, Casa Verona, and Sushi de Handroll. Empire Baking was slated to go into the center, but withdrew; their space is being taken up by Hello Dumpling.
A spokesperson for the center says that the HQ Prime space has not yet been filled.
Collins also owns Nazca Kitchen, his Latin-American restaurant in the same center, which he's managed to keep alive with recent innovations such as the debut of a Tex-Mex mini-menu with items such as the chile relleno. He's also introduced a $10 corkage fee, to lure in "wine nerds."
"Closing HQ was bittersweet but it was not a hard decision," he says.