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Oak Cliff El Fenix to be bulldozed for apartment complex

Posted by Ben S. 
Oak Cliff El Fenix to be bulldozed for apartment complex
March 06, 2020 05:24AM
Looks like the El Fenix on Colorado days are numbered as a developer makes public plans to bulldoze the restaurant and parking lot for 300 luxury apartments. Open at this location since 1948.

https://www.dallasnews.com/business/real-estate/2020/03/05/apartments-would-replace-landmark-oak-cliffs-el-fenix-restaurant
Re: Oak Cliff El Fenix to be bulldozed for apartment complex
March 06, 2020 08:55AM
Oddly,this made national news. I read about it in a brief report in the Seattle Times. I guess Coronavirus and elections aren't enough to keep the paper full.

I hate to see these old places go, but then I guess there are more valuable buildings being razed all the time. This one is a sad loss, as El Fenix was always a favorite of mine and my wife's when we were courting (is that an old fashioned word, now?) 54 years ago. We liked El Chico better, but any Tex Mex (we just called it Mexican food back then) is better than none, and we really did like El Fenix, also. Since we liked the Midway at Fair Park, we frequently ate at the El Fenix there, which was in the building once occupied by Borden's Dairy, and before that was the Light Crust Flour building. It has a name, and is still there, but that name escapes me. I think a restaurant is in the building again.

It is good to see that Oak Cliff is moving forward.

mcneely

Dave McNeely
Re: Oak Cliff El Fenix to be bulldozed for apartment complex
March 07, 2020 05:12PM
"It is good to see that Oak Cliff is moving forward."

Guess it depends on your definition of forward. As someone who still lives here, all I see is the destruction of the history and essence of Oak Cliff. If it was just El Fenix it would be one thing, but this is simply the next thing.

Paul
Re: Oak Cliff El Fenix to be bulldozed for apartment complex
March 07, 2020 09:33PM
Paul, I wasn't very clear in my post. I didn't mean that the destruction of icons is moving forward. As I said, I hate to see the old places go. But at least people are living in Oak Cliff, as evidenced by the building of apartments. Everyone has to be somewhere. Many older parts of cities become slums. If new residences are going up, that is unlikely to happen.

I don't know much about the condition of the El Fenix building. The former El Chico just down the street is in pretty bad shape, last I saw, though a restaurant was operating in the building (3-4 years ago). Some buildings really can't pay for themselves. I hate to see that particular one go, for sure.

Dave McNeely
Re: Oak Cliff El Fenix to be bulldozed for apartment complex
March 09, 2020 06:32PM
I was in El Fenix back in January. Looked to be in pretty good shape to me. Or at least the front of house did.
The El Chico/El Corazon building is gone. It's now a CVS. Because there's got to be that or a Walmart on every corner, apparently.
El Corazon is owned by the Cuellar family and has reopened in McKinney.

As for the rest of the destruction. The families that have been displaced from the affordable housing around the Bishop area are more than likely not going to be able to afford the apartments that have been built in their place.

It is what it is, I guess.
Besides, I always preferred Tachitos. winking smiley

Paul
Re: Oak Cliff El Fenix to be bulldozed for apartment complex
March 10, 2020 12:00PM
Thanks Paul, I share the angst about changes, and concern about displaced people. Affordable living space is a real worry these days. Entire cities have become impossible for even middle income people to acquire a place to live.

I was not aware that the old El Chico building (El Corazon) was gone. I last was there 3-4 years ago. I did know that the Cuellar family owned the restaurant. They operated it under another name for a time before adopting El Corazon. Food was good, though the last time I was there they had moved away from the traditional old El Chico Tex-Mex somewhat, I guess to meet more current tastes. I suppose to operate restaurants they have to use other names than El Chico to avoid transgressing on the corporate ownership of that name, though I thought I read somewhere that the family had re-acquired controlling interest in the El Chico corporation at some point.

It was always interesting to me when these two dominant Tex_Mex organizations operated great restaurants just down the street from each other in Oak Cliff, and that aficionados of one would not step foot in the other back in the day. Being a country boy come to town so to speak, though they would not have been so to most people, these places were pretty high class to me when I was a kid.

Dave McNeely
Re: Oak Cliff El Fenix to be bulldozed for apartment complex
June 06, 2020 05:04PM
Ben S. Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Looks like the El Fenix on Colorado days are
> numbered as a developer makes public plans to
> bulldoze the restaurant and parking lot for 300
> luxury apartments. Open at this location since
> 1948.
>
> [url=https://www.dallasnews.com/business/real-esta
> te/2020/03/05/apartments-would-replace-landmark-oa
> k-cliffs-el-fenix-restaurant]https://www.dallasnew
> s.com/business/real-estate/2020/03/05/apartments-w
> ould-replace-landmark-oak-cliffs-el-fenix-restaura
> nt[/url]

Does anyone know the status of this? I also saw that the El Fenix on the north edge of downtown (barely within the area remonikered "Uptown" by developers some years ago), and owned by the same crew as all El Fenix restaurants are, is also up for being shut and new development taking its place. That one is (was?) on the site of the original El Fenix that operated more than 100 years ago. I remember in the 1960s when construction of the Woodall Rodgers Freeway crosslinking between Stemmons and Central was stalled that El Fenix obtained use of the right-of-way for a parking lot. And at that time, an enchilada plate was $1.95. I could afford that about one time a month.

Dave McNeely
Re: Oak Cliff El Fenix to be bulldozed for apartment complex
June 07, 2020 01:15PM
Still one El Chico left in the greater Dallas area: one in Rockwall.
I hope it survives COVID-19.
Re: Oak Cliff El Fenix to be bulldozed for apartment complex
June 07, 2020 03:43PM
Dennis H Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Still one El Chico left in the greater
> Dallas area: one in Rockwall.
> I hope it survives COVID-19.


Those restaurants and all other El Chico's across the country are under the umbrella of a giant restaurant corporation (CRS I think is the name) that runs numerous brands. Though the Cuellars may own some shares, and maybe some Cuellar descendants have employment with the outfit, they really have nothing to do with the restaurants. I think I read somewhere that the food is manufactured in a factory and sent out like frozen TV dinners, though I can't say for certain that that is true.

The Cuellars do own and operate El Corazon de Tejas, now in McKinney I understand.

And, the El Chico corporate website misstates some of the El Chico history. Though the name El Chico was coined for a restaurant opened in 1940 for example, the family operated restaurants from the first decade of the 20th century.

Dave McNeely
Re: Oak Cliff El Fenix to be bulldozed for apartment complex
June 07, 2020 05:32PM
Correction on El Chico locations in the Dallas area.
There are 3 left: Rockwall, Desoto, and Richland Hills.
Re: Oak Cliff El Fenix to be bulldozed for apartment complex
June 08, 2020 07:13AM
Rioters looted and destroyed much of the flagship El Fenix off Woodall Rogers several nights ago. Smashed that whole block up. They tried to burn it too.
Re: Oak Cliff El Fenix to be bulldozed for apartment complex
June 08, 2020 08:32AM
Ben S. Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Rioters looted and destroyed much of the flagship
> El Fenix off Woodall Rogers several nights ago.
> Smashed that whole block up. They tried to burn it
> too.

Ben, do you have a link to a report on this? I could only find very general information, no details. Thanks, Dave

Dave McNeely
Re: Oak Cliff El Fenix to be bulldozed for apartment complex
August 01, 2020 01:26PM
Between the looters, developers, and Wuhan, and maybe a few of us, nothing will survive this decade.
Dean



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/01/2020 01:37PM by dhumphus.
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