Several Cities Vie for Pecan Lodge’s Business. Dallas is Not One.

The future of Pecan Lodge is a hot mess.
The future of Pecan Lodge is a hot mess.

Yesterday, Carol posted a recap of what is going on with Pecan Lodge and the Dallas Farmers Market. In a pecan shell, Carol writes:

City Hall has sold the Dallas Farmers Market to DF Market Holdings for $3.2 million dollars. Earlier this week, though, the transaction became official. Changes and renovations might start as early as this winter. Shed 3 and 4 are getting demolished to make room for new apartments, and the city will still be taking over Shed 1, which is “scheduled to have some 60 booths, or twice the current number of spaces,” says Robert Wilonsky. Shed 2, which houses the line-crazy Pecan Lodge, is also getting some work done. But, according to owner Justin Fourton, Pecan Lodge might not remain at the Dallas Farmers Market. He’s been on the prowl for a new space since last year.

This morning, I noticed a tweet from Pecan Lodge: “Rec’d calls from mayors of 3 different cities offering us incentives. None were from City of Dallas :-/”

Jump for the whole story.

I called the power couple of Dallas barbecue, Diane and Justin Fourton, and had a chat. They won’t say who has contacted them, but they are hurt the city of Dallas has not reached out. They aren’t the only business confused by the actions of the city. The Fourtons, like the other businesses in Shed 2, invested their own money for the finish out of their spaces. “We put our life savings into this space,” said Diane. “We bought into the City’s vision of Shed 2 when we opened our catering company. They came to all of the temporary business here and said ‘build out or get out’ and many them invested and stayed. We all believed in the city’s vision. We didn’t intend to leave. Now, three years later, they [new owners] are going to gut it and, if we stay, we won’t see that money.” The Fourtons admit the new ownership has been “nice and supportive,” even trying to help them figure out how to install another smoker for Pecan Lodge.

According to the Fourtons, all of the businesses are confused. I can certainly see why. The new owners are just getting into the redo and have their hands full. But I can’t help but wonder how and why this business transaction did not contain a transition program to protect the current tenants, some of which have only been in business for six months. Now those businesses are out in the cold and, from what I understand, will not realize any of the funds they have put into their business.

The frustration of the tenants should be on the top of the things-to-fix list. “They are going to gut Shed 2 and put in a new sewer line,” said Diane. “I just wish somebody would say ‘here is how we will help you run your businesses while we’re under construction.’ I don’t see how we, or any of us, can operate under those conditions. It’s crazy.”

“We don’t want any special treatment,” said Justin. “But the city hasn’t helped or nurtured any of the businesses here. They knew when they approved the redevelopment plans that we would all lose our investments. We’re very disappointed.”

Justin channels Joni Mitchell. “It seems to be a common theme with Dallas that they don’t know what they’ve got till it’s gone,” said Justin.

The Fourtons are weighing their options (they’re lucky they have them!). Let’s hope somebody makes all of the current businesses a sweet deal to stay and helps them through the transition. The Dallas Farmers Market is now a private business with P & Ls and all that jazz. And if making money talks, then barbecue could walk.

 

 

29 comments on “Several Cities Vie for Pecan Lodge’s Business. Dallas is Not One.

  1. Preston Center would be the perfect location for Pecan Lodge – The Texas de Brazil Express or the Snuffers Spot would be perfect

  2. Can you imagine the backlash if the city offered Pecan Lodge an incentive like that? Wouldn’t every other restaurant be calling the city threatening to leave?

  3. What would be the City of Dallas’ return on that investment? Enjoy the burbs…

  4. City of Dallas has no business in this issue any more. It’s the developers responsibility and they better get on their hands and knees to keep this business. It’s absolutely the key to redeveloping Shed 2.

  5. Wow, so Rudy’sCchicken gets 800k from the city for sodium-loaded, low quality chicken and Pecan Lodge gets squat? Gooooooooooo Dallas!

  6. I would love to see Pecan lodge come to Preston center great people amazing BBQ please don’t let them leave

  7. Justin has someone kissing his ass already.

    Per the DMN, Jack Gosnell’s UCR told Justin, “We’ve said to Justin, ‘Why would you abandon where everyone knows you and you’ve got a line 200 miles long? Let us fix it for you,’” says Gosnell, who adds there’s a plan to give him as much space as he needs to expand his increasingly popular eatery that fills Shed 2 with hundreds of line-waiting diners. “We think we can save him. Pecan Lodge is an anchor for us.’”

  8. They should call Lincoln Properties about Lakewood. Lincoln is kicking out old time tenants and putting in high end resturants that would fit Pecan Lodge….I’ve been there and it is good, but at least go somewhere you can sell drinks and have better seating.

  9. Hey, let’s create a TIF or PID for restaurants! Ugh.

    I love PL, but the City of Dallas should not be in the business of offering incentives to businesses that provide a low ROI to tax coffers or the job base. And there is zero chance that PL is leaving Dallas.

  10. wow, if true that’s crazy…BBQ in North Texas is absolute garbage, this place is a diamond in the rough.

  11. Yes, PP, Jack’s quote was in the Carol’s post. PL is unclear how anyone will help their business while the whole market is under construction.

  12. Personally, I think Pecan Lodge’s biggest problem that’s creating the long lines is that they either need more employees or, they change their modus operandi to a cafeteria style line which is probably impossible at their current location. They usually have only one person at the order counter and after your order is placed, it can take 10-15 minutes before they call your name to pick up. That’s what backs up the line.

    In most BBQ joints, you place your order in cafeteria style and the line cook fixes your plate immediately.

    That time proven method is impossible due to the physical set up at Pecan Lodge and just might be why Justin is looking for a location elsewhere.

  13. $30 psf rents? Plus $1k a month in property taxes? Not unless they can guarantee double the business. Otherwise they’re just working for the landlord.

    Wish they could buy a spot, and pay themselves rent. But it won’t be in north Dallas.

  14. Why, whoever’s-in-charge-of-these-kinds-of-things-in-Dallas?? Please help Pecan Lodge stay! They’re too wonderful to let slip away!

  15. I know that PL is being wooed by Carrollton’s mayor right now, from one of his tweets. Rootin’ for it!

  16. It’s really not complicated to keep the business operational during construction.

    Step 1 – Set up a construction wall between PL’s space and the rest of the facility (give them the whole front for seating and line accommodations)

    Step 2 – Build them a fancy new space in another part of the shed.

    Step 3 – Once it’s complete, move em into said new space.

    Done.

  17. What’s a “Dickey’s”? “Time proven” like every other BBQ in the state. Including Lockhart, Texas. You get your food in the pit or in line.

  18. I love your blog, but this post has not been edited well. The Fourtons’ or Foutons’ name is spelled inconsistently. Apostrophes are used incorrectly to indicate plural instead of possession.

  19. No, no, no, we need them in Plano. Surely the CC and econ development people would see the vital importance of having good BBQ places here.

  20. PLEASE MOVE NOW and open up a place with two smokers. that way i will only have to wait in line for one hour..My
    secretary retired and i cant get anyone to go stand in line for me. Please find a place in North Dallas with plenty of parking .

  21. Please move to a place that can accommodate two pits so I only have to wait one hour. My secretary retired and i have no one else to go stand in line for me…Please consider somewhere down Preston Road . Also get a liquor license so i can get a patron while I am waiting

  22. Pingback: BBQ News: 06/21 – 06/27 : TMBBQ

  23. i found two restaurants that are vacant for pecan lodge. one is the old mario and Albertos on Preston and Valley /View [lbj] and the the other is the old Ed’s Deli in the same shopping center. the only place that compares to Pecan Lodge beef ribs is Big Al’s on Inwood .