A Friend of Unfair Park sends the bad news:
I went to Vern's in Deep Ellum for lunch today and found it closed! No more home cooking. The hand-lettered sign said they're out of business.
A Deep Ellum landlord who just went by the place confirms it, and the owner of a nearby restaurant says yes, sadly, it closed Tuesday, matter of fact. The venerable, beloved palace of soul food formerly known as Vern's Place had recently moved to Deep Ellum, and word from several quite-full Friends was that the home cooking was as good as it had ever been. (The original spot was an old favorite of mine, given its proximity to my father's auto parts store in Fair Park.) But Deep Ellum business owners to whom Unfair Park spoke this evening said business hadn't been good, despite the recent offering of a $5 lunch special till the end of the month, and rumors abounded that the place was about to close. The phone number there no longer works.
TXON Commercial Real Estate owns the building, and no one there would confirm the closure -- though according to one person familiar with the restaurant's situation, the rent at the Elm Street location was about to go up, hastening the eatery's departure. Barry Annino, president of the Deep Ellum Foundation, tells Unfair Park that the restaurant's owner -- Vern's granddaughter, matter of fact -- had come to see him last week.
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"She had asked if there was anything we could do to help business," Annino says. "We're in the process of putting together a Deep Ellum restaurant association to help with advertising -- a co-op in conjunction with the foundation -- and we wish she could have stayed in there so we could have helped her."