Changes coming on Cedar Springs

BYGONES | The Bronx closed last weekend after 35 years. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Warwick announces plans for Bronx location; JR.’s remodel starts; new restaurants opening soon

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Two restaurants closed on Cedar Springs Road last weekend, but new businesses are opening, and at least one long-time club is being remodeled.

The Bronx, the oldest gay-owned business on Cedar Springs that had operated for 35 years, has been sold to the Melrose Hotel.

Officials with Warwick, the owner of the Melrose Hotel, released their plans for the real estate on Wednesday, April 6.

“The current plans call for a large and pillar-less ballroom which would be complemented by additional meeting and conference space in a nearby building. The construction of a spa and a swimming pool is also under study,” Warwick said.

The property has a 10-story height restriction on the property because it is on the Love Field glide path. While the building occupied by The Bronx is in great shape, the attached building that was last occupied by Spanish Village, is not salvageable.

Both would likely have to be razed to make room for Warwick’s planned improvements.

On Thursday, April 7, Rick Espaillat, a spokesman for Caven Enterprises, reports that work was beginning that day on a month-long project to remodel JR.’s Bar & Grill, which has been located on the corner of Cedar Springs and Throckmorton for 31 years.

The remodeling project will, among other things, give the club a ground-level patio along Cedar Springs Road.

The last time JR’s underwent significant renovations was 1998, when the second floor and balcony were added, Espaillat said. The club will remain open during the project.

The other restaurant that closed last week was Hung*dingers.

Danny Sikora bought the lease from the former owner and will move his restaurant, Thairrific, from its Forest Lane location to Oak Lawn. Despite its current location, hidden in a rundown shopping center in Far North Dallas, that restaurant won the 2011 Readers Voice award for best Asian food.

Sikora said work has already begun on the move.

“We’ve gotten the space about 80 percent cleaned out,” Sikora said.

He said that Hung*dingers installed a new kitchen when they opened less than three years ago. He expects his restaurant to be ready to open on Throckmorton Street in six to eight weeks.

Two other restaurants are under construction in the same building at 4000 Cedar Springs Road.

Scott Jones, owner of Macho Nacho in the original Hunky’s location, said he is waiting for delivery of some furniture and expects to open around April 18.

Coffee Lab, in the former space occupied by Obscurities, is still under construction with no set opening date.

Issues with permits and parking have delayed any changes at another Cedar Springs Road business: Scott Whittall said that they are rethinking plans for Buli, the café which the owner had originally intended to turn into a piano bar by enlarging into the vacant space next door.

Staff writers John Wright and Arnold Wayne Jones contributed to this report.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 8, 2011.

—  John Wright

‘Lone Star’ pulled from Fox schedule

The Jon Voight series, Lone Star, was pulled from Fox’s schedule on Tuesday after poor ratings from its on its second airing on Monday.

Lone Star is set in Houston and Midland, but was being filmed in Dallas. A view from Voight’s “downtown Houston” office overlooked Infomart on I-35 in Dallas. Interiors were filmed at the Studios at Las Colinas.

Critics were raving about the series. Many said it belonged on cable, however, rather than network television.

Although only two episodes aired, they were in the middle of filming episode six. No word yet on whether production on the series shut down today.

Chase, the NBC series also based in Dallas, had a big drop in viewers for its second airing on Monday also.

Fox’s second Dallas-based show, The Good Guys, will finish filming its 20th episode in October. That show has also been low-rated, but is not as expensive to produce as Lone Star, so Fox may stick with it longer.

The three shows are using local actors. Austin-based casting director Beth Sepko is working with all three. Sepko won the Emmy Award twice for her casting of Friday Night Lights, which was filmed in Austin with a series finale at the Cotton Bowl earlier this summer for airing next year.

Any of our readers work with any of these shows? Let us know. We want to highlight your appearances. Dallas Voice associate advertising director Gary Karwacki’s partner Rick Espaillat was in the third episode of Lone Star. We’ll have to wait to see if it gets an airing.

—  David Taffet

Gay Dallas’ connection to the Emmy Awards: ‘Temple Grandin’ and Caven’s Rick Espaillat

Rick Espaillat of Dallas, right, appeared in the Emmy-winning HBO movie “Temple Grandin,” in which Claire Danes, center, portrayed autistic animal scientist Temple Grandin, left.

The HBO movie “Temple Grandin” — about the autistic woman noted not just for her advocacy on behalf of those with autism, but also for her work as an animal scientist — hit it big Sunday night at The Emmy Awards, taking home five awards.

Claire Danes won the trophy for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie.” The movie won for “Outstanding Made For TV Movie.” Mick Jackson won for “Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special.” Alex Wurman won for “Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or Special: Original Dramatic Score.” And Leo Trombetta won for “Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries or Movie.”

But why should we care? I mean, what was so “gay” about “Temple Grandin” that an LGBT newspaper should take notice (aside from the fabulous black-and-red “rancher outfit” that Grandin herself wore to the Emmys)?

The answer is simple: Rick Espaillat.

Espaillat, the media/public relations manager for Caven Enterprises, has also made a name for himself on stages around Dallas, especially in productions with Uptown Players. He has performed in Uptown productions of “The History Boys,” “Southern Baptist Sissies,” “The Life” and “Equus.” And he has been in commercials for AT&T and Hasbro.

Check out his listing on IMDB, and you’ll find that he has also had roles in “A Thousand Cocktails Later,” “Karma Police,” “Midlothia” and “Love Machine.”

But “Temple Grandin” is the big news right now, and Rick played “the French lecturer” in that one. And even though he didn’t get to stand up on the Emmy stage and get a trophy, I think he deserves recognition for contributing to what was obviously one of the best movies on television this past year. So cheers Rick: Here’s to you.

—  admin

Pink Party raises $6K to fight breast cancer

Rick Espaillat, media director for Caven Enterprises, reports that with the help of the Sue Ellen’s Walking Team (pictured), last Friday’s 3rd annual Pink Party raised $6,000 that will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. We’ve posted a full slideshow from the event here.

—  John Wright