Monica Greene has never been afraid of change. Moments ago she told me she is leaving the business of Monica’s Aca Y Alla in Deep Ellum to her partners who will close the restaurant at 2914 Main Street, remodel the space, and reopen as a yet-to-be-named Mexican restaurant. Monica is moving all of her energy over to the iLume Building on Cedar Springs where she has been in the planning stages of opening Tajin. When the Sushi Axiom closed, Monica decided to take the space and open up the walls of Tajin into the space and create a new concept. The 7,600-square food space will now be Monica’s Nueva Cocina and ME Lounge. It was a difficult decision for Greene to leave Deep Ellum where she has been a major player for over 20 years. More on the food later. Monica has written a letter to YOU. It’s below.
UPDATE: Monica is on her way to Houston. I got lucky when she answered her cell phone. “This [move] has been a real struggle for me,””Greene said. I’ve always been committed to urban development. I believe in Dallas but unfortunately the area [Deep Ellum] has taken a long time to develop. It’s time for me to expand and open my doors to a larger audience.”
I say, you go girl. It’s a great move. She has been in, what I would call, an abusive relationship with Deep Ellum for a long time. It’s time she made a fresh start. That girl has some balls. Oh, wait. Nevermind.
May 18, 2012
Years ago, I read in “Popular Science” that it takes seven years for a person’s cells to replenish. Maybe this is true for humans, but it has taken twenty years at Monica’s Aca y Alla for that cycle to occur. Monica’s Aca y Alla, with some other creative and wonderful entrepreneurs, helped put Deep Ellum on the map. But today Deep Ellum is paying the price of Dallas growth within the Downtown area, Bishop Arts District, Uptown and other business districts. Deep Ellum is going through its own revitalization; old buildings are being redone, DART stations are now open and someday there will be a new world in Deep Ellum. I hope that new world is a good. I expect to continue to be a part of Deep Ellum through my support of whatever venture my ex-partners decide to re-open in the Aca y Alla space.
Indeed, Monica’s Aca y Alla is evolving and changing to Monica’s and the ME Lounge and we will be moving to new digs. We look forward to becoming a new fixture for the Cedar Springs and Oak Lawn area. We are excited to begin a new partnership with the Crosland Group and the Axiom Group at the beautiful ilume ® building. Hector Hernandez will be leading the charge as the Chef for this new concept. Together, we have a vision that will continue to create reasons for guests to eat our unique – yet traditional – style of food, enjoy new menu recipes that will include some of the real Mexican-style of food that was destined for Tajin.
Reality has shown me that with the intense competition in the Mexican food segment, the challenge of finding new ways to attract (and to keep) customers grows. Yes, the new Monica’s together with ME lounge will be fast paced, inventive, exciting, and it will epitomize a new style of Mexican food that I prefer to not call Tex-Mex, but “Nueva Cocina.”
I work, I play, I live and I will always love Deep Ellum. Monica’s had a very successful twenty years of restaurant operation in this historic district. I am grateful, and would like to thank all Dallasites for their kind and generous support over the years. We hope you will join us over the next few weeks at Monica’s Aca y Alla to say your good-bye’s and share with us your favorite stories from the past 20 years. Then, I look forward to sharing with you my vision of the future at Monica’s in the ilume ®. Until then…