Big Beat Dallas opened in March at the Toyota Music Factory with much fanfare, and a well-known partner, Billy Bob Barnett, the namesake of Billy Bob's of Texas. On Tuesday, the new venue abruptly closed its doors.
"The entire experience was shocking," said Will Wilson, who worked in talent support at the Big Beat Dallas. "There was absolutely no warning."
Tuesday evening, crews were taking down outdoor TV sets and disabling awnings as security guards directed would-be-customers off the property.
"In my career, this sudden, never happened," said Alberto Tanzi, a contractor who put up the awnings up just 2-3 months ago. The project wasn't yet complete. "It's disappointing, but it's life."
Noah Lazes, President of ARK Group, the developer of the Toyota Music Factory told NBC 5 by phone that the closure of Big Beat Dallas was "surprising" and "unfortunate". "On the surface, it appeared to be doing well," Lazes said.
But Barnett's attorney, Larry Friedman, told NBC 5 by phone that there were problems with the landlord, adding that Barnett was "constructively evicted" by a lack of promised parking and entrances that were blocked.
The Toyota Music Factory said in a statement that it hoped Restaurants Unlimited, Barnett's partner, and Big Beat Dallas concept will work out a plan to resume operations. Friedman told NBC 5 Restaurants Unlimited cannot reopen the space independently.
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"I'm so shocked. I can't even explain how I feel," said Debbie Brown, a hostess who said she had been working at Big Beat Dallas since before opening day. "It's deeply personal."
The Toyota Music Factory released a statement saying, "Concerts, restaurants and movies at Toyota Music Factory have been doing quite well and business at the project is strong," Lazes said. "Given that we have already received numerous calls from other strong restaurant operators inquiring about the space, we are confident that it will be activated again in short order."