Thursday, September 17, 2009
Cafe Rembrandt, unique Dutch restaurant in Dallas’ West End, closing down
Summer lull basically killed them dead.
Owner Ronnie Smeink confirmed that he's in process of selling the place.
"We've got a couple of days where we're open for events, but we're looking for a buyer," he said. "We tried holding on for two and a half years, but summers in Victory Park when there's nothing else going on, that did us in over the last month. We used to get a crowd before the games, and then we'd also get the people who work at Victory Park. But there are fewer of those."
One of the obstacles to attracting customers was the fact that Cafe Rembrandt had no presence on Houston Street; its only entrance was via the parking lot behind the building where it resides.
"We were continuously asking the landlord to get us an entry on the Houston Street side," Smeink said. "Our entrance is not in a high-traffic area; all of our business came from pulling people in through events and promotions. People suggested adding hamburgers and big-screen TVs but we were trying to bring something special to the city."
The restaurant's menu included unique Dutch-influences specialties such as croquettes and beef sate with peanut sauce.
Smeink hopes to open another restaurant down the road in a location that's easier to find, but for now he said he'll "do the 9-to-5 thing" and is eager to sell off the restaurant's assets. "I put all of my money, everything I had, into this place," he said.
The restaurant will be open on Monday, September 21 and Thursday, September 24, when he's hosting two Woodstock tribute events. His lease isn't up until the end of November, although someone has already expressed interest in the space. He may host other events in the interim.
"Anything can happen," he said.
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