DFW Music News

Toby Keith's Bringing One Of His Big Bar-n-Grills to Dallas. It'll Be (The Old AMC) Grand.

Friday morning, a Friend of Unfair Park sent a note with the header: "The Former Grand 24 Theater." In it, he asked: "Have you checked out the new refurbishing there? It's worth taking a camera along." So on the way in, I swung by -- because, clearly, I'm on the Dessicated Dallas Tour. As you can see (jump for more), it's a sad site to behold: AMC gave the Kansas City-based owners its walking papers in June, completely adiosed the property on October 31, and a few weeks ago the once-mighty megaplex flooded after thieves broke in to rip out the copper.

But there was a small demolition crew working on the property when I pulled up, gutting from top to bottom the theaters that used to be where you see that cut-out door above. While Entertainment Properties Trust still lists it as the AMC Grand 24, and word is the remaining theaters may well become dine-and-views a la the Studio Movie Grill or the Alamo Drafthouse, there are plans in place for that side of the former megaplex:

It will become the local outpost of Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill franchise, which lists Dallas among its coming-soon cities. I still haven't heard from John Weis, head of investor relations at EPT, but this morning, Larry Cappos, director of operations for Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill, replied to my e-mail asking him to confirm. Which he did: "That is the area that we will be coming to later this year."

I followed up with a phone call, asking Cappos for more specifics -- chief among them, do they have an opening date?

"At this point, we don't," he said when we spoke late this morning. "As big as we're gonna be, there could be issues that come up. We'd shoot for later in the summer or early fall -- it depends on how well construction comes along and how it goes with the city as far as permitting."

Right now, he says, the joint will take up some guesstimated 30,000 square feet -- though it could be larger once build-out's finished. I asked Cappos why they chose that location. He said he has nothing to do with site selection, but he's got high hopes for it: "We feel we'll do great, with a name like Toby's to attract people. We like to consider ourselves a pretty big tenant, and as big as we'll be I think we can add something to that whole complex."

And, yes, Keith will be here after the opening -- though it could be two, three months down the road. Cappos says the country singer was in Denver last month for the Grand Opening of that location, which actually opened its doors in December.

So, what'll become of the other half of the old Grand? Last I heard, other theater operators were interested in taking the space, and there's even a concept floating around that divvies the space into separate clubs and bars.

Oh, and I see Firewater Bar & Grill is about to house a new tenant too: When I drove past it this morning, I espied a sign out front that read, "Mary's Southern Cuisine & Entertainment Coming Soon." That's  too bad -- guess my one-man BulletBoys tribute band will have to find somewhere else to play.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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