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Pecan Lodge Is Moving From Dallas Farmers Market to Deep Ellum

pecanlodge
Diane and Justin Fourton behind the counter at Pecan Lodge at the Dallas Farmers Market. Photography by Elizabeth Lavin.

Scott Rohrman of 42 Real Estate Development, come on down. You are the winner of the Pecan Lodge Relocation Sweepstakes.

Late yesterday, Pecan Lodge owners Diane and Justin Fourton signed a lease for a soon-to-be restaurant space on[UPDATE: 2702] Main Street in Deep Ellum. The decision to move from the spot they’ve occupied in Shed 2 of the Dallas Farmers Market was not an easy one for the couple. The Fourtons’ lives changed when City Hall sold the Dallas Farmers Market to DF Market Holdings last spring. Once they, and the other businesses in Shed 2, learned the specifics of the plans for the extensive overhaul of the Dallas Farmers Market, they were disappointed that the City of Dallas did not protect them from losing their initial investment in their spaces.

Last June, the Fourtons hinted that they may not renew their agreement with the new owners of the Dallas Farmers Market. They were flooded with calls from area landlords and cities. On June 20, Pecan Lodge tweeted: “Rec’d calls from mayors of 3 different cities offering us incentives. None were from City of Dallas.”

For five months, the Fourtons debated whether they should stay in their location or move. They spent many hours in meetings with DF Market Holdings and also searched for stand-alone locations that would allow them to expand their kitchen and seating space. Yesterday, they ended their search and picked a larger space in Deep Ellum. “I’m just happy we’re moving forward,” Diane says. “We wanted our own spot and at the end of the day, this is best for our plans for the future.”

The Fourtons backed into the restaurant business. Before they became the king and queen of Dallas barbecue, they were both top performers at Accenture, an international management consulting company. They both loved to cook and hosted large dinner parties. It wasn’t long before they started doing small catering jobs for their friends. Diane worked from home after the birth of their son, Henry, in July 2008, but Justin was still traveling for Accenture. In 2009, they invested in Lurlene, their first mobile barbecue pit, and booked larger catering jobs.

When the market tanked, they considered opening a small catering business to supplement their income and perhaps using it as an exit strategy from Accenture. A year later, they quit their jobs and invested their life savings in the 1,500-square-foot space in the Dallas Farmers Market. They opened Pecan Lodge Catering in March 2010 and offered an extensive Southern food menu that included fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and barbecue.

Their rapid rise to culinary fame is remarkable. In less than three years, they captured the stomachs of barbecue fans across the nation and have appeared on “best” lists in countless publications. Fans have waited in line for hours for a plate of barbecue.

I’ve been covering restaurants in Dallas for 17 years, and I’ve never witnessed such a phenomenal success story. Several months ago, I began researching a feature on the Fourtons, and, during my time with them, I’ve witnessed their struggle to make the right decision. They are upstanding people who are perplexed by their situation. Becoming a world-class barbecue joint was never in their business plan. It will be fun to watch them take over a space and operate like restaurateurs instead of caterers with a dream and the courage to take a risk.

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  • Darren

    Glad they’ve finally made a decision. This entire story has left a bad taste in my mouth (pardon the pun), and I don’t mean with the Farmer’s Market.

  • cb_foodie

    A lesson here is to make sure your lease terms protect your investment and transfer to subsequent landowners.

  • Anonymous

    Address?

  • Dommy

    Probably for the better anyways, they needed more space!

  • David_Denney

    I’m excited for PL and Deep Ellum. Can’t wait to see what they do with their place.

  • GerryS.

    When I read the review on PL yrs. ago, I called & Justin answered the phone. Was as Down to Earth & Genuine as they come. Told him I wanted to bring some BBQ afecionados & he welcomed us. Waited in line but was well worth it after trying a bite of pretty much everything on the Menu. A Yr. later took my Nephew Blake, his Wife Yazmin & 2 young babies. He had just got out of the Marine Corps. Had been in Afghanistan. We waited over an hr. in line but Blake said it was the best BBQ he’d ever had. I’ve been back a few times & I’ll follow him to Deep Ellum. Congratulations Justin & Diane!!

  • Nancy Nichols

    They haven’t officially released it but it is in the 2700 block of Main Street.

  • Nancy Nichols

    Yes, it has been quite a wild ride for the Fourtons.

  • kindallas

    Nicely written and I’m happy for the Fourton’s.
    Surely, they must be relieved to finally say “goodbye” and then “let’s go get it!”

  • josh

    Easily the most over rated BBQ I have ever had, really don’t get the love affair with this place, and I am not trying to be disrespectful to the owners. Is it better than Sonny Bryans? Sure, but to wait anything more than 10 mins for it is just silly and unwarranted. I applaud them for taking word of mouth buzz, with the help of bloggers and turning it into this can’t be missed restaurant, but I certainly wasn’t blown away either time I went.

  • LakewoodLover

    Glad they will be in East Dallas.

  • BBQBitch

    This is great news! Hopefully the lines will become a thing of the past and we can sit inside a nice restaurant. Good for a Deep Ellum too.

  • Liz Cappon

    Any idea on how quickly the move will happen?

  • Dallaslaw

    Do you know if the hours will change to more traditional hours or will they remain the same?

  • Holly

    If the City of Dallas wasn’t one that came calling, why did they chose to stay?

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  • BellyBabe

    Delicious news Uncle Nancy. I bet the lines are out the door today. Good news for everyone. Wonder which barbecue place will go in next?

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  • ImFromLA

    Interesting Leslie Brenner has failed to claim she knew all about this before you and Teresa posted this morning. Why does Eats blog even exist if they don’t bother to report anything. Thanks to you and Teresa!!

  • Pete

    Can I still find them at their current location? Is it only open certain days?

  • Nancy Nichols

    Yes, they will be at the Dallas Farmers Market until their new space is ready next summer. They are open Wed thru Sunday from 11 to 3 or when they run out of food.

  • TLS

    Now, is this really necessary?

  • Jim Rossman

    So, do you see that there’s a Pecan Lodge story on the FRONT PAGE of dallasnews.com since this morning with a time stamp six minutes after Nancy’s post???

    Here, I’ll make so easy that even you can find it…
    http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2013/11/pecan-lodge-is-leaving-dallas-farmers-market-for-deep-ellum.html/

  • Nancy Nichols

    Thanks, Jim!

  • Marcus

    This news makes me happy enough to want to buy Nancy and her buddy Evan Grant lunch this weekend.

  • Big D

    Wow, you’re a douche.

  • Annie

    Yay! I used to go there all the time before they became famous. Maybe I’ll be able to taste that amazing BBQ again!

  • Nancy Nichols

    summer 2014

  • twinwillow

    I respect your opinion and tend to agree with you.

    I had lunch there today at 1:00. NO LINE! I realize the following comments could be considered blasphemy but, my fatty brisket although delicious, tasted and reeked of way too much bitter mesquite smoke.

    So much so, that I think I know now why I have been preferring the brisket at Slow Bone BBQ. Sorry, but that’s MHO.
    The ribs looked great and I would have ordered them but they sold the last order to the guy in front of me.

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  • Melinda

    Great news! I am excited to see their new restaurant and really excited to welcome Pecan Lodge to Deep Ellum.

  • Nancy Nichols

    Lovely thought!

  • Michael

    Here’s the thing I’ve found as a lifelong consumer of Texas BBQ. All of the spots mentioned are fabulous (including Lockhart’s in Oak Cliff), but every day my palette is in the mood for something different. Having experience most of the BBQ in the Dallas area I can honestly say I don’t have a hands down favorite. I can say that they all fit the need for the right day. Pecan Lodge absolutely rocks when I’m in the mood for super smoky tender brisket (and yes it is yummy smoky). Their beef ribs are the best I’ve ever eaten…period. As far is the wait is concerned I won’t wait more than 30 anytime, anywhere for any food.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve tried twice to get in there, refuse to wait that long though. Maybe this will make it more accessible! Hope they picked the biggest building on the street.

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