Food News

Restaurants Are Picking Up Pieces After Protests Caused Some Damage

Boards go up over the windows of Ellen's Sunday morning.
Boards go up over the windows of Ellen's Sunday morning. Taylor Adams
The sound of shattering glass echoed off the buildings Sunday morning in the West End of downtown Dallas.

It was after the second night of protests that escalated into confrontations, rock-throwing and looting, and local businesses were cleaning up the aftermath.

For most walking around downtown, Deep Ellum and Uptown on Sunday morning — all of which saw arrests for inciting a riot Saturday night — it was nearly business as usual. The city cleaned up tagged buildings quickly, said Dude, Sweet Chocolate owner Katherine Clapner.

On Friday night, a window of Clapner’s spot on Main Street in the Central Business District was busted. The following day, friends of hers came to board up the storefront — an action taken across areas of Dallas before demonstrations began again Saturday night.

click to enlarge Tagged buildings (such as Neiman Marcus, pictured Sunday morning) appeared clean by Monday morning. - TAYLOR ADAMS
Tagged buildings (such as Neiman Marcus, pictured Sunday morning) appeared clean by Monday morning.
Taylor Adams
Joe Groves, owner of Ellen’s in the West End, took to Facebook.

“We suffered a little damage to our building, all superficial, nothing major, easily repaired and affordable,” he said.

They tried to break through the door and couldn’t, Groves said before getting to “the interesting thing about this,” as he put it:

“We looked at the footage on our security cameras, and do you know who did this? A couple of chubby little white guys.”

click to enlarge Queso Beso on Main Street in downtown Dallas Sunday morning - TAYLOR ADAMS
Queso Beso on Main Street in downtown Dallas Sunday morning
Taylor Adams
In Uptown, 27 people were arrested Saturday night on McKinney Avenue, including a good number at Whole Foods, where people were sweeping up glass Sunday morning.

Over in Deep Ellum, businesses such as Revolver Taco and Easy Slider appeared safe and untouched — at least without broken windows on the facades. In other parts of the neighborhood, boards over broken windows at places such as Murray Street Coffee and AllGood Cafe now greet customers and passersby.

click to enlarge Deep Sushi Saturday night as protesters headed east out of downtown - TAYLOR ADAMS
Deep Sushi Saturday night as protesters headed east out of downtown
Taylor Adams
Murray Street Coffee owners posted Sunday that they slept on the floor to keep an eye on the place, where protesters “smashed our doors and threw a paving stone through a window.

“Nobody hurt, glass can be replaced. Vote out of office all that perpetuate hate and racism at all levels of government, starting at the top. Root out all police that harbor racist and violent tendencies. Treat all with the respect and dignity you demand for yourself.”

No matter how owners feel about the protests, these small businesses were either temporarily closed or just reopening. The effects of COVID-19 are still upon them and this is one more thing. Most business owners are saying it’s financially acceptable and, especially with community support, they will be fine.

As Pete Zotos, owner of St. Pete’s Dancing Marlin, posted a picture of his boarded-up business on Commerce Street, saying: “It is what it is.”
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Taylor Adams has written about the restaurant industry for the Dallas Observer since 2016. Now the Observer's food editor, she attended Southern Methodist University before covering local news at The Dallas Morning News.