Lower Greenville Restaurant Fights Back Against Post-Construction Slump

On Dallas's Lower Greenville Avenue, signs of long-time construction disappeared months ago, but businesses say they're still feeling the impact.

That's why co-owners of Blind Butcher took to Facebook this week, telling customers they needed support to keep the doors open.

"We got to the point it was either give up or it's time to tackle this thing head on," said restaurant co-owner Josh Yingling.

Yingling opened Blind Butcher four years ago with business partner Matt Tobin. In the beginning, they generated a lot of excitement. But in September 2016, business noticeably slowed.

They say the construction was needed to add infrastructure that would help Lower Greenville continue to develop and eventually make way for more residential growth. But as the cones disappeared, the businesses hoped their crowds would come back. They're not the only ones who say it didn't happen.

"A lot of the foot traffic and a lot of the folks who would come to this area have shifted to different parts of the city and have not really come back into this area," said Andy Rittler, executive director of the Dallas Restaurant Association.

Rittler says the restaurant association has put faith in the fact new apartment buildings are coming to the area, bringing in a new neighborhood crowd to Lower Greenville. They've also asked the city of Dallas to provide more free parking in a neighborhood where customers often complain there's not enough.

But Yingling and Tobin didn't want to wait, instead laying their cards on the table and sharing their situation with the world.

Their Facebook post read, in part, "As you know in the last 18 months, this city has seen its share of restaurant closings... Truth be told, the last 18 months have not been kind to us either. Construction on Lower Greenville and more and more restaurants opening across the city have put a hurt on us too."

They went on to tell customers they'd be jumping behind the bar, putting tips back into the business and offering a scaled down menu during the tough time.

They told customers, "This is not a notice for pity but as realistic small business owners we wanted to face the facts head on and give everyone, including ourselves, a chance to fight for this city's restaurant scene and our place in it. It is our hope that you guys will come out and support us. Because if we don't come together as a city and really support the independents, the locals, the little guys, we will just become another statistic in this ever evolving culinary world."

"We were super nervous. Like really nervous. We questioned it for days," Tobin said, regarding the post.

In the end, they decided they had nothing to lose. And so far, the response has shown it worked.

"It's been a very, very cool thing that people want to support the local businesses more than anything," Yingling said.

As they fight to save their own business, the co-owners agree they want a happy ending for all of their Lower Greenville neighbors, along with local businesses in the other neighborhoods they're reminding their customers to return from.

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