|Meats on the smoker at Pecan Lodge in the Dallas Farmers Market. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)|
Posse member and Dallas Morning News assistant metro editor Bruce Tomaso gives us more details on the sweeping changes at the Dallas Farmers Market and how that might affect Pecan Lodge’s decision on moving to a new location.
OK, let’s be honest:
In the $64 million makeover of the Dallas Farmers Market, there’s only one thing that barbecue aficionados care about:
What’s gonna happen to Pecan Lodge?
That’s the $64,000 question.
Our two-cent answer: No one knows.
Owners Diane and Justin Fourton have made it clear for months that they’re weighing their options. Justin told Texas Monthly’s Daniel Vaughn that he and Diane have been scouting other potential locations as “part of a contingency plan depending on what happens at the market.”
But at the same time, he said, “having a space where we can control the atmosphere, the music, the beer sales, and the smoker capacity would be great for us.”
As Robert Wilonsky wrote this week in a front page story in The Dallas Morning News, the Farmers Market, for the first time in almost 75 years, is no longer under the control of the city of Dallas. After years of operating the market in the red, the city sold it to a group of private developers, who are promising a dramatic, top-to-bottom transformation: Restaurants and specialty retailers and apartments and a bandshell and a culinary studio and a community garden and athletic fields and, of course, delectable fresh fruits and vegetables … just about everything but a Styx cover band and a nacho fountain.
But none of that will take shape soon, Robert notes. There’s a lot of groundwork to be done, including major demolition efforts and the re-routing of a sewer line.
The private developers say they’d love to keep Pecan Lodge. (And why wouldn’t they? Diane and Justin have built a meteoric star, winning accolades here and there and everywhere.) Blair Black, one of the principals in the development group told The Morning News:
“We’d love to keep them as a tenant. … We’d love to make that happen.”
Jack Gosnell, a partner in UCR, a nationwide retail leasing and management company, is working with the Farmers Market group to line up tenants, and he said he’s doing his best to persuade Pecan Lodge to stay. Gosnell told The Morning News that the developers will work with the Fourtons to keep their business viable during the lengthy (and no doubt messy) reconstruction of the market. ‘”We’ve told him, ‘We’re not going to put you out of business, ” Gosnell said. He added: “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.’ ”
But the Fourtons know they’re holding a great hand in the negotiations, and they’re not about to tip it.
“Rec’d calls from mayors of 3 different cities offering us incentives. None were from City of Dallas :-/”