Knox-Henderson Keeps Shedding Restaurants
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.