At this very moment, Whit Meyers is down at the Green Room on Elm Street overseeing the changing of the locks; he's had to do the same thing at his other downtown restaurant, Jeroboam, as well. Yesterday, both restaurants were shuttered for the forseeable future. No longer could they withstand the weight of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and Meyers was forced to close them both. He didn't think it would happen like this, even though the Entertainment Collaborative--which at one time consisted of Meyers, brothers Brandt and Brady Wood and others--owes hundreds of thousands of dollars to the state and the Internal Revenue Service and myriad other creditors. Meyers thought he could make it work--had the reorganization plan sent out and OK'd by a majority of those to whom the EC owed dough. It was gonna work.
But yesterday, Jeroboam and the Green Room went the way of Trees: gone.
Meyers says 97 percent of those to whom the EC owes money approved the reorganization plan about which Mark Stuertz wrote here on August 24. There were two pretty big no votes, though--from the IRS and the state comptroller's office, which wanted things done differently. Meyers didn't think it would work. Didn't wanna go through more toying with and tinkering. So he called it a day.
"At 4 p.m. on Friday, when the balloting came in, everything looked like smooth sailing," Meyers says. "Then we got an objection from the comptroller and the IRS, and the way they wanted to restructure, it made no sense for the restaurants to continue. There would have been no way to survive. The only reason to stay open wold have been for some bizarre, macabre triumph, and I thought it would be more fair to the rest of the staff to admit we're headed to the waterfall."
At the moment, Gypsy Tea Room--the last remaining EC entity, the sole vestige of its once-mighty empire--will stay open and possibly thrive, since events scheduled for Jeroboam will wind up at the Tea Room. What happens to the Green Room and Jeroboam is now in the hands in the landlords, who can fill their spaces as they see fit. Which leaves Meyers to ponder the future and reflect upon the past, which is all Jeroboam and Green Room have at the moment. And, as Meyers reminds, the EC is no more. It is being liquidated. It is done.
"I wouldn't have gone though this whole process if I didn't think it would be successful, so it was disappointing to get the plug pulled at the last second," Meyers says. "There's a level of frustration and disappointment. But the way I look at it, and I feel very strongly about this, both of those restaurants were very successful. Green Room was very unique and a concept I don't think Dallas had seen before--a four-star restaurant in downtown that made Deep Ellum more than just a music spot, which isn't to denigrate what Deep Ellum Cafe did before. Green Room put us on the map nationally with Esquire and Rolling Stone and some of the media we had way back when. With both restaurants through this bankruptcy, I did what I could and I did the best I could. But everything has a beginning, and everything has an end." --Robert Wilonsky
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.