Construction for the new Rudy's Chicken started yesterday. Or at least a few spadefuls of dirt were tossed to kick off the effort. Council member Dwaine Caraway, Mayor Mike Rawlings and a number of others from the City Council came out to mark the project kickoff and get their hands on their share of the fried chicken catered by Rudy himself.
At least the chicken was supposed to be the star of the show. After Caraway cornered the mayor in front of flashing cameras and made him solemnly vow to eat Rudy's chicken, talks shifted to the larger initiative that the Rudy's renovation is only a part of.
"This is one heck of a day for this community and this city," Caraway said. The remainder of the project features a mixed use building with retail and office space, new condo-style homes and a shelter for homeless women. "This is a must to provide hope, opportunities and jobs so our community can continue to grow and flourish," Caraway added.
Yes, growth is good. But how about that chicken?
Rawlings had just returned from a trip to South America to court new businesses for Dallas. He showed up in a slick dark suit and a purple tie. "We've knocked down hotels and cleaned things up," he said, as the smell of recently fried chicken wafted from the catering trays at the back of the tent. The mayor presented the project as a cornerstone for his grow South Dallas initiative. "This is important for all of Dallas," he said, quite possibly referring to the chicken everyone was waiting to pounce on.
Council member Carolyn Davis spoke. And Sherman Roberts, the CEO of City Wide Community Development Corporation spoke too. They talked about hope and community, reduction in crime and growth of opportunities. Their every word added seconds to the timer that stood between more than 100 attendees and tray after tray of Rudy's fried chicken.
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After the politicians tossed two rounds of dirt clods, the crowd was released and they pounced. The majority stood in line, serving themselves with tongs from the foil trays, while the more important types (Rawlings included) jumped on the trays from the back. The mayor didn't stop for a photo op with a drumstick but instead took his cardboard tray to go.
"Hot time, summer in the city," he said as he took off his dark suit jacket and jumped in the back of a black SUV so clean it looked wet. It was difficult to see clearly through the dark, tinted windows as the Suburban turned south down Lancaster Street. But it's nice to think the mayor kept his promise, greedily devouring Rudy's chicken while barreling off to some other important meeting.