New owners say they plan to update the interior but keep the Buli name and format.
DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
Scott Whittall sold his Cedar Springs Road coffee shop, Buli, to new owners this week and will resign as president of the Cedar Springs Merchants Association.
New owners Robert Clawson and Rob Auman are partners and plan to retain Buli’s format.
“These were two long-time, loyal customers who wanted to purchase Buli,” said Whittall. “They want to see it remain Buli.”
Last week, Clawson and Auman signed a lease with the property owner and Whittall got a release from his obligation for the store from the landlord. Sale of store assets should take place this week.
“In the beginning, we’re going to run it the same way,” Clawson said.
Over the next three to six months, Clawson said they would redesign and update some of the interior. He said that they plan to replace the bar top to give the shop a new look.
“But we’re going to continue to be Buli,” he said.
Whittall said they had talked about extending hours and some additions to the menu, but those changes would also not be immediate.
Dec. 1 is the planned takeover date, but Whittall will continue working at the café for several weeks after to help with the transition and to finish some planned events and catering jobs.
Earlier this year, Whittall tried to expand his business into a neighboring space formerly occupied by a hair salon. He applied for a liquor license but the city requires more parking for restaurants and bars than for retail and service businesses.
By doubling the space, Whittall would have had to provide four times as many parking spaces.
When he couldn’t secure the necessary extra parking, Whittall was released from his option for the additional space and withdrew his Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission application. He said he thought about reapplying for a TABC license and turning his original space into a piano bar.
During this time, Clawson and Auman told Whittall that they’d be interested in purchasing the café. Whittall told them at the time that it wasn’t for sale.
But Whittall and his partner also own a successful cattle business that has been growing rapidly lately. For eight years in a row their cows won the Houston Livestock Show.
But Whittall explained that they don’t ship meat or animals.
“It’s a genetics business,” he said. “We ship embryos and semen. We help them create their herds out of championship stock.”
Whittall is also president of the Cedar Springs Merchants Association. He said he wants to see planned events through until the end of the year.
But Whittall said he would talk to the board at the CSMA meeting in December about who will lead the organization after he leaves.
On Dec. 2, the merchants group is hosting a fundraising event at The Rose Room. The evening includes a buffet dinner catered by Jim Lee Events and entertainment by Linda Petty, Victoria Weston and Rusty Johnson. Tickets are $75.
Money raised will be used to hire a security guard on the east side of Cedar Springs Road. Caven Enterprises currently pays for a security on the west side of the street where that company’s bars are located.
Even though he’s leaving, Whittall said he is passionate about the continued success and safety of business in the area and encouraged people to come to the event to support the neighborhood.
“The event will be an elegant, white-linen dinner,” he said. “The Rose Room will be decorated as you’ve never seen it before.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 25, 2011.