Jay Khan and Ronald Von Hatten, two former Landry's regional managers, seem hell-bent on remaking the West End. They want to transform it from has-been entertainment-district rubble into has-been entertainment-district rubble with more steak. This won't be easy. Brinker International's On The Border recently went down, as did Tony Roma's and Joe's Crab Shack. So did nightclubs Honky Tonk Heaven and Froggy Bottoms, which were feeble attempts to relive Dallas Alley's glory days, when it was the baddest nightlife district in the state of Texas.
"You have to remember, we have faith in the West End," insists Khan. "I believe in this area. I've seen all the ups and downs."
Indeed. Khan and Von Hatten took over Lombardi 311 after it went down in 2005 and turned it into R.J. Mexican Cuisine. Then they secured the lease to the On The Border shell and will plant Landmark Seafood & Steak there in April.
Now Khan and Von Hatten have purchased the Butcher Shop Steakhouse -- the West End spot where diners can grill their own selected loins over hickory briquettes on a pit barbecue or have a the chef do the meat -- from owner Richard Leggett. Leggett, however, retains the Butcher Shop opened last July in the former Morton's The Steakhouse location in Addison.
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Khan and Von Hatten plan a gradual renovation of the 397-seat restaurant and menu, stiffening the steak offerings with prime cuts. "We don't want to fail," says Khan. "It's really easy to do that." Yeah, Victory is tough. --Mark Stuertz