Friday, September 27, 2013
Owners of Pecan Lodge still unsure if they will stay at Dallas Farmers Market
Deep Ellum keeps coming up as a potential alternate venue.
More than a month after the new owners of the Dallas Farmers Market finally met with Justin Fourton to discuss Pecan Lodge’s fingers-crossed future downtown, there is still no resolution. “We have a direction in which we’re leaning,” Fourton said in an interview Wednesday night. “But a decision hasn’t been made.”
Which isn’t to say there hasn’t been progress: As expected, Fourton has been to Dallas City Hall to meet with Karl Zavitkovsky, head of the city’s Office of Economic Development, and he recently sat down with architect Larry Good, a partner in the market’s makeover, to discuss what the universally beloved eatery‘s needs should it stay downtown. “We told them what it would need to look like for us to consider that option,” says Fourton.
So, long story short: Justin and wife Diane could still wind up staying at the market. Or they could move somewhere else in Dallas. (Deep Ellum keeps coming up as a potential venue.) Or they could still bite on a suburb’s generous offer and git altogether. The Fourtons had hoped this would would have been resolved by now. As he explained last month, he’s losing tens of thousands of dollars by turning down holiday-season catering jobs because he doesn’t know if he’ll even have his doors open come October.
Yet, in the midst of this protracted want-n-see comes this bit of not-quite-breaking news out of Fort Worth City Hall: Mayor Mike Rawlings has chosen Pecan Lodge as his offering in this weekend’s Iron Skillet Game bet with his Fort Worth counterpart Betsy Price. That is: If TCU beats SMU on Saturday morning at Amon G. Carter Stadium, then Rawlings will deliver Pecan Lodge to the Fort Worth City Council. Should SMU win, then Price will turn over to the Dallas City Council a meal from Fort Worth landmark Joe T. Garcia’s.
As you may recall back in August, Rawlings told The Dallas Morning News that the city won’t interfere with Pecan Lodge’s dealings with the farmers market. And he said Dallas won’t negotiate with an individual restaurant; city officials maintain they’ll only deal with developers when it comes to offering economic incentives. That said: “It’s paramount that we as citizens and the city put our arms around a Dallas resident owning a Dallas restaurant for Dallas citizen and keep them in Dallas,” Rawlings told us in August.
“We were honored that the mayor chose us to fulfill his end of the bet,” says Fourton. “We were honored to be included in that caliber of company for sure,” referring, of course, to Joe T.’s. “I think it’s fair to say we felt like it was a signal that the mayor views us a landmark in the city.”
But where in the city? And, for how long?