Downtown Dallas Inc.'s Looking For Someone to Take Over Main Street Garden's Eat-N-Drinkery

Categories: Dish, Park and Rec
TheLilyPad224.jpg
Had a feeling that when The Lily Pad Cafe shuttered about a month ago it wasn't going to return to its digs at Main Street Garden. The official reason for its closing: "cold weather." But when it's 80-something in February here, that seemed like a fairly specious reason. And, as it turns out, it's not coming back: Kourtney Garrett, vice president of marketing for Downtown Dallas Inc., says this afternoon that after a little further consideration, Doug Brown and the Beyond the Box-ers who'd been in the park for the last two years have decided "the Lily Pad wasn't a priority for their concept," and turned the space back over to Downtown Dallas.

Garrett's the first to admit: When DDI, in partnership with the city, took over the park a little more than two years ago it didn't know the first thing about running a restaurant -- or what it wanted out of its food-and-drink partner in the endeavor. And, she says, it's an odd space -- at once tiny (the space itself is 175 square feet) and mammoth, once you take into consideration the patio space and the fact it's supposed to be serving a park spread over an entire downtown block.

And so Downtown Dallas Inc. will begin looking for a new operator, pronto; details on how to apply follow if you're so interested. Says Garrett, "There's a lot of opportunity to take advantage of the park and get the residents too." How, she's not sure. "We're looking for a unique concept," she says."We want someone who has some creativity behind the concept. This isn't a fit for a traditional concessionaire type. It'd be something similar to a food-truck specialty operation. We definitely want breakfast, lunch and dinner service and something that helps add to that destination feel."

Sometime in mid-March, she says, Josh Florence -- the man behind Club Dada, City Tavern and the Homegrown Music and Art Festival -- will take over the space temporarily, with an eat-n-drink pop-up.

But, says Garrett, he's not interested in taking it over full time. "He's partnering with us on more event-based stuff that we'll announce later," she says. Florence, she expects, will have the space through Homegrown on May 26, at which time Downtown Dallas Inc. hopes to begin transitioning to the Lily Pad's replacement with an "early fall" debut planned.

I always liked Lily Pad -- nothing wrong with a beer and a dog on even a brutal summer's day beneath the shade. But even on glorious spring Saturdays, the place was never packed. Says Garrett, "It was a combination of a new space people were getting used to downtown and creating that destination feel. We heard decent feedback about the menu, but again it ties into: You have a little restaurant space, but in reality you're operating in a giant park. It's about finding that happy medium."

You interested? Jump for the details. Proposals are due March 16.Main Street Garden RFP
Downtown Dallas, Inc. Seeks New Operator for Main Street Garden Cafe

In the meantime, check out Joshua Florence's pop-up beverage bar while enjoying the spring weather

February 24, 2012. Downtown Dallas, Inc. announced today that the organization is seeking a new operator for the café space located at Main Street Garden. With an offer of two years free rent in an established location in the heart of Downtown, opportunities abound for the culinary community.

Since Main Street Garden opened in 2009, the space has been occupied by the Lily Pad, a concept by Chef Doug Brown. Mr. Brown and his team established the space as a regular gathering spot for Downtown residents, students, and employees, and serviced numerous events, from outdoor movies to large festivals, that take place annually on park grounds. Mr. Brown has chosen not to renew the lease, therefore DDI has released a Request for Interest for a new operator.

"We are indebted to Doug Brown for entering this new venture with us when we opened Main Street Garden," said John F. Crawford, President & CEO of Downtown Dallas, Inc. "His team has contributed tremendously to the success the park and its positive impact on the community. However, we are also thrilled with the prospect of bringing a fresh, new concept to Downtown."

For all of you Main Street Garden regulars, do not fret! Joshua Florence, the mastermind behind City Tavern, Homegrown Music and Art Festival, and Club Dada, will fill in with a pop-up concept, complete with your favorite frosty beverage, music and nosh. Starting in late March, look for Josh and team at Main Street Garden every Wednesday - Sunday, happy hour through evenings.

Interested restaurateurs may contact Dustin Bullard at Downtown Dallas, Inc. with questions and/or to receive a copy of the Request for Interest, 214-744-6654, bullard@downtowndallas.org. General requirements include breakfast, lunch and dinner service; creative "street food" concepts; resident, employee and student engagement; and food service experience with particular expertise in outdoor dining operations. Proposals are due March 16, 2012.

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29 comments
GoDallas
GoDallas

Call the folks at Tacos to Go over on the East Side of WhiteRock... they are great

guest
guest

i live downtown and walk my dog to this park at least twice a day... once while getting coffee a young lady working at lily pad told me that the restaurant had an agreement with the city of dallas (or something like that???) which prohibited any food trucks from parking next to the park. at the time i really thought to myself, "wow that's ridiculous...." now that lily pad is shut down... this rule needs to go. The food trucks would be AWESOME parked on st. paul.

Rangers100
Rangers100

Oh, the horror.

Homeless people. In a city.

Must flee to Frisco to stay safe.

Dalguy
Dalguy

MAIN GARDEN TACOS!

MattL1
MattL1

I actually like the space.  Hopefully they can find someone to use it properly.  

cp
cp

Perhaps the city should have just built a covered pad and then let DDI deal with the logistics of scheduling food trucks to come in at various times or days or whatever. The beauty of a food truck is that it's mobile. With a 175sq/ft "restaurant"- catering to a park, no less- the menu should be limited. Maybe DI could get a couple of volunteers to go around and survey various park users and actually ASK them what they see in a parkside restaurant. And not the people who eat their lunch from a trash can...

The Derelict
The Derelict

this is what happens when white people try be all urban. when will they ever learn?  it can't be constructed or manufactured, it just happens.

JimS
JimS

Sell more ripe brie. Masks other odors. 

Travid Rex
Travid Rex

So the Homegrown people are taking over?  Eh...overpriced and not a whole lot of Arts in their Music and Arts Festival.  More FAIL on the horizon.

Capgun Calvin
Capgun Calvin

I'm shocked.....I say shocked. Another failure in Downtown Dallas. Imagine that!

Good luck finding a sucker.........I mean someone........to take it over.

Guest
Guest

I got a Coke there once.

I may even have a picture of me buying said Coke that I will certainly be publishing to my blog this very minute.

Guest
Guest

Get that loud mouth, hot airbag, cheerleader, John Crawford to handle it! 

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

How about keep it real simple ?

Something to go along with the smell of Say ....Exhaust Fumes Dog poop & Drunks ?

Nothing says sit down and have a meal like smelling Diesel fumes, watching dogs SH*T or an over ripe drunk down wind !

Or really just Remove the structure make it a drive thru and bring in a rotation of Food Trucks each day ?

Azelbaum
Azelbaum

Yes, the green painted lexan needs to go. It looks pretty bad right now.

I like the Lily Pad. Their chili and hotdogs were good, their flatbread sandwiches were total gut bombs though. 

dallasmay
dallasmay

The spot is kind of a shame. It's already starting to fall apart. The green plastic behind the glass walls is peeling off. Looks terrible. Someone needs to call the contractor that installed them and get them to fix it. 

That said, I did enjoy the lilly pad while it was open. A pretty fun place to get a Blue Sky. 

cp
cp

I guess I don't get it. Dallas wants food trucks..... to sit and park at the same place all day. The Lily Pad IS a food truck, considering its limited kitchen space...

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

 I would never wish ill on anyone but I hope you have the full on experience with one or  our less than with us street people. Lets say With your wife and kids with you.No not the who is the Smelly person we just passed or why is that women yelling at the building.I mean an unprovoked in your own smug little face encounter with some one walking our streets who really should be in a ward some where deal.

Get back with me after that happens then we can talk " Homeless / Street people ."

Rangers100
Rangers100

Have you ever been to Main Street Garden Park?

Stacy Mark Phillips
Stacy Mark Phillips

What, u can't  walk or drive 2 miles to Katy Trail Ice House, or the Foundry........

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

Yes, please start over with the green panels. Clearly they do not work! They make the park look run-down and it's only been open a couple of years.

It's too bad that Beyond the Box couldn't make the Lily Pad work, but I was never a fan of the name or the menu. Do something unique with the alcohol (like Frozen Jack & Coke) and people will check it out.

guest
guest

actually no.... most of the food trucks rotate their lunches and dinners throughout DFW. when they come park downtown during lunch it's on flora in the arts district or in thanksgiving square (always good crowds). main street district is another potential spot for the trucks to park and do great business. follow bigdfoodtrucks on twitter and you can see a daily schedule that lets you know which truck is where. ps.... lily pad did not have good food.

Rangers100
Rangers100

So much fear.

Good luck with that, dude.

gooderisbetter
gooderisbetter

I know you're gonna find this hard to believe, but sometimes folks don't see things the way you do....but please, ask if i've been there, dork.

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