Knox-Henderson Keeps Shedding Restaurants

Categories: Whimsy

Henderson Triangle.JPG
Just three weeks ago, we reported that Horne & Dekker had closed abruptly, on the heels of other failed restaurants in the area. H&D, Redfork and Alma all closed in less than a year, and I wondered if Knox-Henderson was a tough neighborhood for the service industry. Or maybe their food just sucked.

Then, yesterday, news broke that Fish City Grill will close this week. The franchised seafood seller operates about 20 locations in Texas, Arkansas, Florida and Oklahoma. Bill Bayne, the president of the group, told me by email the closure had nothing to do with the chain's business model.

"Our company is doing very well," he said. "We just could not overcome the parking issues, and the demographics of that stretch of Henderson is just not made up of our core customers." Bayne went on to say a new location would likely open in the Lakewood area.

Parking is certainly one of the issues this cluster of restaurants faces. Street and parking lot space is minimal, and the neighborhood has held onto the side streets for residents' cars. Customers are forced to deal with valet or gamble on an expensive parking ticket or a tow job. That kind of makes it hard to focus on how enjoyable your meal is.

As for demographics, Knox-Henderson seems like a pretty mixed bag. The location draws equally from the Uptown and East Dallas communities it's sandwiched between -- half tattoos and bad facial hair, half starched shirts and bad facial hair. And everyone skews younger. Are these the wrong demographics for a franchised seafood restaurant? Maybe, but then something like Jake's would probably be having problems too. Every night I've passed their glowing green neon sign they've looked pretty busy.

Whatever the cause, four prominent closures in six months seems like a lot for one small area. (Did anyone warn Lisa Garza before she decided to build her temple to soul food?)

Update: A little bird (literally the info came through Twitter) pointed out that Cafe San Miguel marks the fifth restaurant closed in the same area. We used the closure on City of Ate to examine a failed restaurant through the eyes of Yelp.

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51 comments
MBM
MBM

I don't think Henderson was a destination for a high density of bars and restaurants when the DART rail was completed.  And since no one knew it would become one, you get your shitty roads, no DART stop, shitty sidewalks, no parking, and a gentrification process that is not quite done.

That being said, I do like Barcardia and Capitol Pub, and Slip Inn when I'm feeling dirty.

mark zero (Jason)
mark zero (Jason)

I don't care what people look like, but if I'm going to an unfamiliar area to try some place out I certainly don't want to get stuck looking for parking.

Delanorosedale
Delanorosedale

The Andres Brothers are the true culprits in the demise of the businesses on Henderson.  They literally Rape their tenants with outrageous trash disposal fees, water fees, and other trumped up surcharges.  The Andres business model is based on getting the next Sucker to occupy a location, spend a butt-load on build-out, then aggressively renegotiate the existing lease on hostile terms.  As far as " The Demographics " in the area are concerned, The Andres are extremely hostile towards diversity on their little strip.  They openly frown upon their tenants who cater to or have tried to cater to a people of not so fare skin.  Remember, the previous tenant who occupied  the Horne & Dekker location was told that his clientele did not match up to their vision or Specific Gravity, in terms of the overall master planning of their utopia. 

Long story Short, the Andres are the problem with Henderson. They create an unfriendly place to do business and they just simply Suck...  

Brian Smith
Brian Smith

The biggest issue is that its not designed to be a walkable urban area. The sidewalks are crap, which makes it unwalkable. The streets are shit, so it's barely bikable. Rather that focusing on parking focus on alternate transit. Also there's an underground stop on the redline that never had a surface connection. That would not only help the DART(if it ran later), but the area as a whole

Stuntrocker
Stuntrocker

Herrera's on Fitzhugh also closed a few weeks ago.

CR
CR

Is there a Cracker Barrel around there?  You people are braver than me eating at some of these independent/"family-owned" joints.  Shoo-ee.

ChrisYu
ChrisYu

here's what's sad, good live music completely left the area when Barley House moved north. 

Bill Theissen
Bill Theissen

I went to Alma once, and as soon as they charged me for the chips and salsa I ordered I knew I would never go back.

mewkins
mewkins

"bad facial hair" does not compute

IMSODALLAS_
IMSODALLAS_

I love the area BUT I F&*(ing LOATHE THAT 3 POINT INTERSECTION. Getting stuck behind some idiot ass hole in his audi while he slows to go left by alma. FUCK YOU idiot, get out of the way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anon
Anon

Every successful restaurant area has issues to contend with. Parking here stinks, but there are plenty of places that are thriving, and seemingly no shortage of concepts looking to take over the newly vacant spaces. Blaming your problems on parking is pretty lame, in my opinion. Blaming it on demographics is valid, but the shifting demographic in that area is becoming more favorable to these restaurants, not less. So if that was the problem it seems like you'd have known it going in.

Willie
Willie

Anybody ask what happens when too many restaurants with the same price point/fighting over the same dollar open around the same time along such a shithole street with absolutely no f-ing parking?  The f-ing genius is the guy who convinces the city to allow him to build some paid parking on the north side of Henderson.  Turn it into a real f-ing commercial area, widen the f-ing sidewalks from 75 over to Ross, put in two-story mixed commercial (you know, to attract the daytimers and the nighttimers), fix the f-ing road and put in turn lanes and a GD light at Capital and Henderson.

Guest
Guest

Valet is out of control in this town. That is a terrible lot. There have been many times I wanted to go to Veritas or Fish City and because of valet/parking we just said "screw it" and went to Big shucks/Alligator Cafe or Times Ten/ Wine therapist.

Steve
Steve

I wouldn't mind the parking as much if I could get down the fucking street without blowing an axle.  FIX THE FUCKING POTHOLES.

Allie Seago
Allie Seago

The parking situation is a huge deterrent for me as well.

Thought I am trying to get over it.

Those Tricks
Those Tricks

Parking. It's the parking.Makes the area a no-go zone (for me) after 4pm.The bad facial hair doesn't help the situation.

HDC
HDC

Why go to Fish City Grill when you have S&D in Uptown, Dodie's vol. 1 & 2 on Greenville, etc? I went a couple times when I lived within walking distance, and they presented themselves as an almost Razzoo's atmosphere, the food wasn't great, and there were better alternatives with a more local feel within a mile radius.

I think Alma was too intelligent (for lack of a better word) for the relevant dining scene for it to survive. It's quite evident people would rather have Cuban fusion and mediocre mojitos than authentic-Mexican-influenced fare at that location. I, personally, never had a meal I didn't thoroughly enjoy at Alma.  It was a risky proposition for Tristan Simon to replace Cuba Libre, and you don't win 'em all. On the other end of the restaurant management spectrum, I think it's been pretty well documented on COA why Redfork failed.

I know absolutely nothing about Horne & Dekker, and heard nothing about it when the doors were still open, word-of-mouth or otherwise, so I can't comment on that closure. Maybe that was the heart of their problem.

Parking does suck in that 'hood, and Henderson especially sits in an awkward spot, the eastern-most parts of which are still legitimate outskirts of the eastward expansion. Let's just call a spade a spade and admit that some restaurants are bound for the grave. Parking and location may be contributing factors in (let's be honest and call it) the Henderson area, but let's not make them justifications for restaurants that simply didn't work.

AFric
AFric

We were sad to see such great places go over the past few months.  But Henderson has so many unique options to offer Dallas.  Don't forget: J. BLACK'S Feel Good Lounge, Pearl Cup, Capitol Pub, Veritas Wine Room, The Porch, Sissy's Southern Kitchen, Victor Tangos and many more.

Brian
Brian

Your headline is misleading, this story has nothing to do with restaurants on Knox. I don't even see Knox in your fancy triangle. This is a Dallas based publication, correct?

Bob
Bob

We stopped going to Fish City Grill when valet parking became mandatory.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

Ah, idk. I was in the food business for a few years and some concepts just don't work no matter where you put them. That's a mix of demographics, rent, overhead, your food, so many variables. If every restaurant that opened stayed in business for at least 5 years, there'd be no room for any new business. That's just the way restaurant go.

Ralphy
Ralphy

This is a very interesting post....the burmuda triangle.

I think retail Landlords have gotten to greedy (in this area) given the stage of growth the demographics suggest for the trade area.   Yeah, there are alot of high income households, but that area also has some of Dallas county lowest income as well.

Guest
Guest

Actually, DART carved out a station in the tunnel at that very spot when they were digging the tunnel. It's the neighborhood that didn't want it and actively fought against it, leaving us with the situation we have now. The foresight just wasn't there, and the NIMBY-ism was in full force. Now the neighborhood wants it, and DART's message is "get in line."

HDC
HDC

Fact: Barley House > The Porch

thenameisdanielsjackdaniels
thenameisdanielsjackdaniels

It used to be called, looking like a man. Post-queer eye for the straight guy and the feminizing of America, it's considered a big no-no.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

It's a reason you could look like a tool even without the fedora on.

G_David
G_David

So they should go around the corner on 2 wheels, regardless of oncoming traffic?  It's a crap intersection for sure, but blaming it on somebody for trying to turn left makes you sound like the asshole.

G_David
G_David

As one of the first businesses along that stretch, Fish City didn't always have the parking issues that they do now.  I used to go there monthly, now I avoid that whole area.  From what I understand, it's the landlord that is responsible for the valet only parking at night.  I'm fairly certain they will do quite well in a location a couple of miles east of there.

G_David
G_David

I think Alma failed because like me, many people equated $18 enchilada plates with the exact opposite of intelligent.  Actually eating one confirmed my suspicion.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

I agree with you on this. The Knox area that I'm familiar with is west of 75. The places that are east, well, if they're going out of business, to me they're not in a high traffic area that a lot of people consider the "Knox" area.

G_David
G_David

Nice job on completely missing the point of the article.  Enjoy your visits to Chili's and On The Border.

Wjfshort
Wjfshort

Yes, the landlords are greedy. Does everyone realize that those leases give the landlords 10% of alcohol sales as a kickback? What incentive do the landlords have to keep a true restaurant operating?

The truth is that this area will become Greenville Avenue, or at least what Greenville used to be.

NewsDog
NewsDog

$18, who does he think is Dean Fearing?Only Dean, and The Mansion, could get away with potato enchiladas and charge $18. And that was in the mid 90s.   

HDC
HDC

You just proved my point. Sweetbread dishes, helotes-style corn, various iterations of street tacos and you ordered and then complain about the enchiladas? Did you order a frozen margarita to accompany?

Willie
Willie

Old Bastard, you're blind.  The Knox commercial area goes several blocks west of 75.

Randyflastner1973
Randyflastner1973

What's wrong with either Chili's or On The Border? Seriously, what's wrong with these restaurants?

HDC
HDC

Our applications of intelligent are clearly in conflict. Barbecue is ubiquitous in Texas, and for all intents and purposes, Smoke offers barbecue. Pecan Lodge offers barbecue. The food offered at Alma wasn't some premium play on a type of food with which people in Dallas are comfortable. If you don't see what I'm saying, then I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree -- on that as well as Huasteca vs. Panchitos (to each his own, no?).

G_David
G_David

So the success of Smoke, which is well-deserved, kind of negates your initial point about people not being intelligent.  Many places that serve premium ingredients at premium prices thrive in this town.  Alma didn't.  End of story.  And for the record, I prefer Panchito's, across the street from La Huasteca, but you can't go wrong at either place.

HDC
HDC

It was street food influenced cuisine, so I fail to see your point.  By all means, go get what you pay roughly 3 times less for and at a much more authentic atmosphere at Taqueria La Hausteca on Lindlsley, their food is outstanding. However, I'm not sure that's not what Simon was aiming for, nor what he and Chef Quinones were trying to accomplish. You can get some pretty damn good barbecue around here for next to nothing as well, but people still flock to places like Smoke. Complaining about premium prices for premium ingredients and preparations is ridiculous.

G_David
G_David

No, actually when you mentioned the tired old term "street tacos", you proved mine.  The price point on their version was roughly 3 times what I actually pay for them at a taqueria 3 blocks from my house.  The blink-and-you-miss-it longevity of Alma was well deserved.  As a non-drinker I can't pass judgment on the margaritas.

Suck it d-Bags
Suck it d-Bags

youre all stupid except for cynical old bastard...he was absolutely correct as Knox is a street with onlty about a block and a half depicte din teh image as a white line

cynical old bastard
cynical old bastard

The original post I answered said, " I don't even see Knox in your fancy triangle."   Knox is indeed in the fancy triangle. The south side anyway.  And yes, the main part of the Knox commercial area is outside the triangle. 

Coleman
Coleman

 consistently shitty

Coleman
Coleman

they suck compared to local food, maybe? 

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

Noone wants to talk about them on the food blog for fear of being a sellout, even if the food quality is consistent every time.

mark
mark

 SHUT UP DON"T TELL THEM ABOUT IT

Bub
Bub

As long as none of the $30,000 millionaire assholes that go to these restaurants go to Louie's, I think it's safe to say sayonara to all these joints.

G_David
G_David

Nothing, if that's what you like.  Personally, I haven't had a decent meal at either one in years.  Chili's used to be greatness, but when they expanded their menu to about 12 pages, they went the way of Bennigan's.  If you want what Chili's used to be, go to Snuffer's.

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