In this week's round-up of DFW food news, a Plano restaurant shutters, more chef change-ups for Misery Loves Company, a Dallas barbecue institution struggles to make ends meet and a death in the Dallas restaurant scene:
- Things have been pretty shaky for Kent Rathbun Concepts since Rathbun left the company and then filed a lawsuit against his former business partners, and the changes keep on coming for the embattled restaurant group. Earlier this week, the group announced it would shutter one of their restaurants to turn it into a catering space. Via a press release:
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Today, Kent Rathbun Concepts announced a new direction for Hickory. The North Plano burgers and barbecue restaurant will transition into a private event space to accommodate the company’s expanding catering business throughout the DFW metroplex. The Hickory restaurant concept will open a new location in Terminal B at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport spring of 2017.
- Blaze Pizza, the franchise backed by LeBron James, is now open in both The Colony and Fort Worth, according to a press release. On July 8 (in Fort Worth) and July 9 (The Colony), the restaurants will give away free pizza to anyone who follows Blaze on social media. The Fort Worth location is at 5925 Convair Drive, Suite 521, and The Colony location is at 5050 State Highway 121, Suite 100, near Nebraska Furniture Mart.
- After only three months at the restaurant, Anthony Bombaci has left Proof + Pantry, according to a press release. This is the second major chef change-up for the Misery Loves Company restaurant group, as Chicago's David Fingerman was named executive chef of Madrina last week. Why did Bombaci bail from Proof + Pantry so quickly? It's hard to say — and Misery Loves Co. is keeping mum. "Ultimately, Bombaci decided not to make his stay a long-term one, and is no longer part of the Misery Loves Co. team," according to the press release. "Both parties maintain the utmost respect for the one another."
- Dallas service industry folk are getting together to help out one of their own. About two weeks ago, Industry Alley bartender Ben Rogers "was in a car accident and his vehicle was flipped multiple times; he spent several days in the hospital for fractured ribs and a broken cheekbone," according to a Facebook event. "Ben will not be able to return to work for another 6-8 weeks." On Sunday night, The Theodore will raise money for Rogers from 6 p.m. to close. Service industry employees — as well as anyone who works at NorthPark Center — will get half-off their food during the fundraiser.
- Unlike its trendier contemporaries, Mac's Bar-B-Que is apparently struggling, according to a story from Robert Wilonsky. "On Wednesday, between 11 a.m. opening and 1:30 p.m., [Billy McDonald] and an employee, Deb Schultz, served six people from the meat-cutting counter, three of whom were named Wilonsky," the DMN reporter writes. "It's been like this for close to a year." Mac's demise may be inevitable, Wilonsky writes, which is a damn shame.
"McDonald, now 62, put the place up for sale a year ago — his third attempt in 12 years. When we noted the for-sale sign last summer, McDonald began getting calls from people asking when his last day would be. He told them he had no idea, because he expected the sale to take months, maybe years. He's asking a lot for two lots — more than $1.6 million, which he says is more than fair given the high price tags affixed to other properties along the corridor between Deep Ellum and Lakewood."
- Beloved Dallas institution Norma's Cafe is opening a fourth location soon near NorthPark Center, CultureMap reports. The diner is slated to open July 12 at 9100 N. Central Expressway, Ste. 151.
- Dallas restaurateur Jeffrey Armand has died, GuideLive reports. Armand was "general manager of Aurora ..., Nosh Euro Bistro, Dee Lincoln Steak Bar in Plano, Michael Anthony's in Southlake and other establishments," Leslie Brenner writes. He was 52 at the time of his death, the cause of which is not yet known, Brenner writes, although he had apparently been ill recently.