Butt Fires

Texadelphia founder Tom Landis says he hopes last week's Dallas Observer cover story by Zac Crain on Deep Ellum crime ("Cruising for a Bruising") will light some fires under a few butts that park in City Hall. It sure lit a flame under his. "While our other places, like Las Colinas and Old Town, do about a million a year, I don't have much fight left for our Deep Ellum restaurant," he says. "Catering is keeping it afloat. I think the gangs and crime down there will kill Texadelphia Deep Ellum, probably sooner versus later." Landis says every one of his Deep Ellum employees has had at least one car break-in. A beer bottle sailed through his restaurant window last weekend. And though his restaurant isn't open late when all of the mayhem pummels Deep Ellum businesses, Crescent City Café owner Jeff Testitore says it's getting damn near impossible to do business down in the Deep. "It's caused trouble for the restaurants," he says. "I'm trying everything I can to stay open. I'm hopin' to ride this thing through until things pick up." He says two Deep Ellum restaurant operators whom he declined to name have told him they plan to evacuate the crime-ridden area as soon as possible. Scott Melton, who once operated Sushi Nights on Main Street before he closed it a little more than a year ago, says crime was one of the big reasons he left the area for the West End to open Atomic Sushi. The smoking ban isn't the only thing that may work to slowly unhinge late-night dining in Dallas.

Funny how things come full circle--or maybe boomerang. Salsa Bar and Grille, the McKinney Avenue Tex-Mex/nightclub that slipped into the space that was once the global tapas bar Geode (and Bistral before that), has shut down. Americas Latin Tapas will open in its place September 4. Americas erupted from the mind of Hector Hinojosa, the Dallas nightclub captain who operates Liquid in the Arcadia on Lower Greenville Avenue and Euphoria downtown. He also runs Club Babalu just across the street from where Americas will take shape. Club Babalu reopened last month after an arsonist did some $150,000 in damage to the club in early May...In response to my review of Mi Piaci last week, owner Janet Cobb called to explain that the dining room walls have been painted and fabric for the tattered bar stools is on order. But maybe the revolving door in the kitchen needs fixing, too. Executive chef Michael Marshall, who was in the kitchen on our review visits, was no longer there when the review hit the streets last week. Chef Mark Pierce is filling in.