Street improvements continue to add new vitality to gay entertainment and shopping district
A new bar opened this week on Cedar Springs, and a Subway franchise is expected to open Easter weekend, as the strip’s revitalization continues.
Another restaurant is scheduled to open in June, and the Cedar Springs Merchants Association recently raised an additional $8,000 for beautification efforts.
"I’ve seen a new vitality starting to take place," said Rick Barton, owner of Hunky’s.
Marty Hershner, owner of the Tin Room, opened The Drama Room in the space formerly occupied by Mickey’s. The new orange sign went up over the old storefront on Tuesday night, and the bar opened on Thursday, March 25.
He said the new bar is quite different from Mickey’s.
"We put in a dance floor and an awesome light show," he said. Dancers and entertainment are planned.
Chet Whisenant owns the new Subway franchise that will occupy part of the former Crossroads Market space. He’s planning an Easter weekend opening.
Although the restaurant is a franchise, the space is designed to be unlike any other Subway store.
"We gayed it up," Whisenant said.
By that he means everything from subdued lighting to a living room area, to granite countertops with black vessel top-mounted bowl sinks in the restrooms.
"I knew if we didn’t tweak where we could, we wouldn’t be accepted," he said.
The Subway will open at 7 a.m. for breakfast and will stay open on weekends until 3 a.m. or later. Whisenant said he’s even considering remaining open 24 hours a day.
"After the bars, have a great cup of coffee before the drive home," he said.
Whisenant said a number of the 15 people he’s hired have worked on Cedar
Springs before, and most live in the neighborhood. He said he’s looking forward to being an active participant in the Cedar Springs Merchants Association.
After 25 years in its former location, Hunky’s moved across Throckmorton Street last month, occupying the remainder of the former Crossroads Market space. Barton said business has increased since the move.
He said new patio furniture is coming, which should double his outdoor seating, and by the end of next week, his liquor license should be in place. He plans to begin beer and wine sales first and then add frozen cocktails.
Macho Nacho, a Mexican food restaurant, is planned in the old Hunky’s space, according to Barton. They are slated for a June opening, although construction has not yet begun on the space.
"It could be that getting city permits is delaying it," Barton said. "With city layoffs, the time frame is four times what it used to be."
Scott Whittall, co-owner of Buli CafÃ© and president of the Merchants Association, said upgrades to the street are continuing.
Last weekend the Merchants Association held a fundraiser at the Round-Up Saloon that netted about $8,000. The money will be used to pay for a dozen new brushed-steel trashcans with specially designed ashtrays.
"The city’s not going to maintain them. We have to," Whittall said, adding that they’ll be placed in front of merchants who agreed to their upkeep. He said he hopes they will help keep cigarette butts and broken bottles off the sidewalks.
The group has hired a company to sandblast the old sidewalk continuing down the street from where the recently rebuilt portion ends.
"That should happen in the next week or so," Whittall said.
Whittall said in addition to new business openings, several events are planned over the next few months.
Raffle tickets will be available at all Merchants Association members beginning April 1 for a $1,000 Cedar Springs shopping spree. The drawing will be held at First Wednesday in June.
On April 24, the Art Fest will be bigger than in the past.
"The street will be closed. We have 100 artists, vendors, beer. Red Bull and Andrews Distributing have signed on as sponsors," Whittall said.
At Art Fest, Red Bull will introduce its Art of Can competition in Dallas. The company is looking for entries that use their cans to create sculptures. Those chosen will be on display at the Galleria from July 31 through Aug. 22.
Whittall said once the new businesses open, there will be only a few major vacancies along Cedar Springs. The space formerly occupied by An Occasional Piece remains vacant, and he said he hasn’t heard of anyone seriously negotiating for it yet.
A smaller storefront behind Hunky’s that was occupied by the leather store Shades of Grey remains vacant, as does the original AIDS Food Pantry and the former location of Obscurities, which recently moved to a space facing Cedar Springs. The Food Pantry space was closed for structural renovations last year, and the pantry moved to Denton Drive Cutoff.
But despite those vacancies, the strip is coming back to life.
As Barton put it, "The whole street is livelier and just keeps getting better and better."
BRICK/JOE’S HOLDING GRAND OPENING IN NEW LOCATION
The Brick/Joe’s will hold a grand opening on Saturday, March 27. The bar has been operating in its new location since November after closing its Maple Avenue location earlier last year.
The bars open at 4 p.m. daily. After-hours dancing on weekends continues until 4 a.m.
The weekend lineup includes hip-hop on Friday, dance on Saturday and retro on Sunday.
For the grand opening party, no cover will be charged before 10 p.m.
The new bar is located at 2525 Wycliff Ave.
Skivvies has a new Web site. The Oak Lawn store also has a branch in Austin. Shop on line at SkivviesDallas.com. … Hewitt & Habgood Realty Group is now affiliated with Dave Perry-Miller. They are located at the new Intown office at the Quadrangle, 2828 Routh St. … American National Bank of Texas (ANB) opened in its new 17,000 square-foot building at 2703 Oak Lawn Ave. The bank kicked off a weeklong grand opening celebration, "Five Days of Oak Lawn," at the new location on Monday, March 1. In conjunction with the move, the bank has initiated a coordinated social media presence using both Twitter and Facebook, so customers can now be privy to the bank’s buzz in real-time. … Tea Thyme and Tisane on the town square in Carrollton has a new name. It’s now Tea Thyme CafÃ© & Bakery to reflect that they serve food. Owner Charles Bowen said too many of his customers didn’t realize they were more than a teashop. … Chad Waclawczyk has opened Window Wears at 3614 Fairmount St. The store offers value-priced quality custom window coverings.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 26, 2010.