Earlier this week the Dallas Farmers Market was handed over to DF Market Holdings, LLC. The management group (formerly known as the Farmers Market Group) is now responsible for market operations and working with farmers, vendors and the business owners of Shed 2.
While some business owners retain their optimism for the coming renovation, many are uncertain exactly how the transition will be carried out. Yesterday, Pecan Lodge created a stir when it announced three different mayors from surrounding cities are offering incentives to move the barbecue restaurant outside of Dallas. So far Dallas has been silent.
There are many reasons why owners Justin and Diane Fourton are considering moving their restaurant, but the biggest is uncertainty. "They're willing to do whatever they can to help us out," said Justin of DF Market Holdings, "but there are still no concrete plans."
Justin says all of the proposed plans for keeping his restaurant at the farmers market have been insufficient, and future rent, temporary kitchen space and other logistics remain uncertain. The group is looking at keeping Pecan Lodge right where it is through the construction phase, but that would require tarps and temporary barriers to keep dust away from all that delicious fatty brisket. Other options including a proposal to use food trucks for kitchens present significant challenges and uncertainty. Meanwhile, other cities are offering attractive incentives to move.
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Justin won't discuss which cities he's talking with, but says each municipality is willing to offset the cost of his relocation through either tax or rent incentives. And while he wants to stay at the Dallas Farmers Market, he's more concerned about the long-term viability and stability of his business.
"I'd love to stay in Dallas, but at the end of they day we have to make the right decision for our business," he said. "The hospitality and forethought from [other cities] stands in stark contrast to the silence from our hometown."
Mayor Mike Rawlings couldn't be reached for questions for this story, as he's currently out of town. But considering the popularity of Pecan Lodge you'd think a close look at how to retain the barbecue restaurant within city limits is forthcoming. The city worked hard to save Rudy's Chicken in South Dallas (to the tune of an $890,000 investment.) While Pecan Lodge doesn't have the same lengthy history, it's just as much (if not more so) an asset to the city.