Year-end restaurant & bar closures begin to pile up in Dallas
One not-so-pleasant custom at the end of the year is the arrival in Dallas of "restaurant closure season," a depressing yet consistent annual tradition when restaurants and bars take a look at the books and make the decision to cut their losses before the New Year begins.
It's nothing anyone wants, nor wants to talk about. For this, social media serves the purpose, allowing for a keep-it-short announcement, while limiting prying questions from bewildered diners and hapless writers poking the wound to verify how bad it all feels.
Here's the latest closure news:
Bread Winners - Lovers Lane
The Inwood Village location of this local chain closed down quietly in late November, confirmed by a manager at another location. Its closure is not exactly a surprise: The space is going to become the new home to Doughbird Pizza & Chicken, the concept from Fox Restaurants Concepts, which is opening there in 2025. At the time Doughbird was announced, no one would admit exactly where it was going, but Bread Winners seemed like the obvious space.
The Bread Winners chain was acquired in October 2022 by Josh Bock of Stratega Capital, who bought it from founding owners Jim and Cindy Hughes. As their website shows, this leaves three locations: the original in Uptown, NorthPark Center, and Plano.
Dahlia on Ross
Bar-restaurant at Ross and Hall in East Dallas has not yet announced its closure. But the writing's on the wall. They appear to have checked out at the end of November: Their previously active social media went dead on November 25. A former employee vouches that they've closed, and the usually-responsive management is not responding to emails or messages.
Dahlia was opened in October 2020 by SBBC Hospitium (PM Lounge, Tipsy Alchemist, Truth & Alibi). The brick storefront at 3300 Ross Ave. had a sweet outdoor courtyard space which they transformed into a botanical garden, with lots of florals, very on trend, as well as food, drink, and weekend brunch. They were doing well, which points to landlord issues.
Previously a market, that location was restored by its conservation-minded landlord at the time. But post-restoration, it has experienced rapid turnover: First Uncle Woodrow's, the Houston-based sports bar concept, which opened in 2016. Then Ross & Hall, a neighborhood bar which cycled through two owners before closing in May 2020.
Sophisticated West Coast wine bar District closed its location in Addison, their first outside of their homestate of California. The restaurant, which made its debut at the Village on the Parkway in May 2022, shared the news of its closure on its social media outlets, stating that they had "closed permanently and ceased operations in Texas," but offering no reason.
Fans expressed disappointment at the closure — but many were completely unfamiliar with the restaurant, even though it had been open for 18 months. More than a few blamed the location, theorizing that Addison's demographics no longer supported a concept this nice or sophisticated, and that Frisco or Plano might have been a better choice.
Fiction started out as Method Coffee in 2014, but Common Desk took it over in 2017, rebranding it as Fiction Coffee, and opening outlets inside Common Desk coworking locations. Those will become their focus moving forward.
Common Desk also filed for Chapter 11 voluntary bankruptcy on November 6. They were acquired by WeWork in March 2022. WeWork, which is also under bankruptcy proceedings, is currently closing at least 70 underperforming locations.
The original Dallas location of this pizza concept closed quietly in late October after 20 years at 2820 N. Henderson Ave. The restaurant first opened there in 2004, from chef Nick Badovinus, and was not only a major game-changer for Dallas' pizza scene, it also was a Henderson Avenue pioneer and helped further the gentrification of the street.
A statement from the company that currently owns the chain said they were unable to recuperate lost sales and rebound back to pre-pandemic foot traffic levels, stating that, "the decision was made with a heavy heart and was based upon business needs and the state of our brand.”
Restaurant-bar in Deep Ellum with major brunch closed abruptly on December 13. No public announcement was made but the entire staff was let go at a company meeting, and told that the closure was effective immediately, according to one employee in attendance.
Business had reportedly slowed, but the closure comes on the heels of an episode in late November involving two women who alleged that drugs were slipped into their drinks by the bartender. On December 1, Harlowe posted that they'd launched an internal investigation, but have posted nothing since.
Harlowe MXM opened in 2017 as a spinoff of the Bread Winners chain (although Bread Winners now has a different owner), with a more ambitious menu ranging from a $20 lobster roll to a $48 Akaushi rib eye, and a craft cocktail program.
Oak Cliff coffee shop from Elijah Salazar, former elementary school teacher and big community advocate, closed its second location in Elmwood at 2015 S. Edgefield Ave., on December 13, with an announcement that it would be their last day in Elmwood, and encouraging customers to visit their flagship Kiestwood location xx miles away. "With many difficult decisions to consolidate our efforts, this option lets the Peaberry you know and love live on!"
The shop only just opened in August, for four months total, and the Elmwood neighborhood group page was rife with conspiracy theories about the small strip center where it's located, while others questioned whether the center was too deeply embedded in the neighborhood, and too far from commerce.
However Herby's Burgers, a burger shop from Will "DJ Sober" Rhoten partnered with Peaberry coffee owner Elijah Salazar and Jake Saenz, owner of Rev’s Grilled Cheese, seems to be opening there imminently, so that would seem to refute any issues with the center.
Wonderfully hip and homey bar with massive patio on the edge of Deep Ellum closed at the end of November after three years. Owner Kim Finch attributed the closure to ongoing challenges in the service and restaurant industry.
T-bird opened in 2020 in the former Bowls and Tacos, but the space was previously Riegel's Gulf Service auto shop for 62 years. It earned loads of acclaim at CultureMap including Best Patio, again Best Patio, Best Bartender, Best Bar 2022, and Best Bar 2021. Finch also owns Double Wide nearby, and Single Wide on Greenville Avenue, both still open.
Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade
Hawaii-born concept known for smoothies, bowls, and gourmet lemonade, is closing its only Dallas location in Bishop Arts on December 23.
The shop opened at 320 W. 8th St. nearly two years ago, in February 2022 with their signature gourmet lemonades in a variety of flavors: from classic lemonade to Ginger Pineapple, Passionfruit Guava, Blue Hawaii, and the Lava Flow Lemonade.
"With the change of the season and rising costs we have tried to make it work as much as we can, but in the end we have to make the right decision for our family and at this point it is closing our doors for now," they said in a statement.
Baldo's Ice Cream
Gourmet ice cream shop in the Park Cities near SMU is closing on December 30. Baldo's was first founded in 2018 by three SMU grads who launched with chef-devised recipes that went beyond the usual vanilla and chocolate. Their ice cream incorporated intriguing ingredients such as chestnuts and white chocolate peppermint bark, and they always had dairy-free options.
Their signature offering was their ice cream flight, with a choice of three or six flavors in mini-cones - a generous option for those who can't decide.