Lawsuits Abound, Craft Beer Keeps Killing, Coffee Goes Traditional and Truck Yard Gets Festive.
Welcome to The Spread, our weekly feature that aims to share all the area restaurant, food and beverage industry news that's fit to print. Except, this is the Internet, so space isn't a concern. Also: Good thing, because this is Dallas and this town always has breaking restaurant news going down like whoa.
In the world of craft beer, things are ever-changing. Beers and breweries come and go, and the newest innovations can often come from the strangest of places. So why not get inspiration from a little bit of everywhere? At least that's what Brews Travelers Brandon Wurtz and Michael Roberts have in mind. The longtime friends from Plano are embarking on a year-long quest to explore the country's craft beer culture. The two plan to visit 365 breweries, hitting at least two in each of the lower 48 states. The end goal? The two will use their travels as the basis for a documentary and a coffee table book, which they hope to release in 2015.
Meanwhile, Paste Magazine recently released a list of its choices for the 20 best new beers of 2013, and Deep Ellum Brewing Co.'s seasonal barleywine Numb Comfort made the cut in a list dominated by similar specialty options.
But while craft beer took a turn toward the unexpected over the past year, coffee, it seems, is returning to basics. Or at least that's the case with Fort Worth and Grapevine's Buon Giorno Coffee, which has gone back to manual-method espresso machines in its shops lately. Owner David Clarke says his aims is to have his shops' espresso resemble the way it was made in Italy in the '40s and '50s. To that end, these new machines use a mechanical system that presses the hot water more evenly over the coffee, creating a better-tasting drink.
Speaking of unexpected turns: That's certainly one way to describe what's going on with the Uptown location of pizza and nightlife spot Sfuzzi, as the LLC that operates company filed for bankruptcy this week. The bankruptcy filing follows a lawsuit that claimed the restaurant's parent company, La Reve Consulting, failed to pay rent and engaged in some fraudulent real estate transactions. La Reve head Robert Columbo says that Sfuzzi will remain open for now, although he's uncertain if the restaurant will last too much longer in its current location on McKinney Avenue.
More legal troubles loom over another well-known Dallas restaurant this week, too, as Tex-Mex mainstay Primo's in Uptown closed permanently last week, according to manager Brandon Kundak. The restaurant was subject to a federal lawsuit earlier this year over music licensing fees — an issue Primo's is hardly alone in facing — but Kundak has refused to comment on the reasons behind the closing. Instead, customers were thanked for 20 years of loyalty at the McKinney spot. Not all's gloomy on the Primo's front, though: The second Primo's location — up in Garland — currently remains open for business.
And, really, if there was a theme this week in restaurant news, it was lawsuits: In the case of the spot that sits just north of the Granada Theater, though, it meant a dropped lawsuit. For the past few months, Pat Snuffer planned to open a concept called Pat's Burger & Cheddar Fries in that original Snuffer's location — a move that didn't sit too well with Firebird Restaurant Group which recently bought the Snuffer's name and its debt from Snuffer, but left Snuffer with the rights to his original Greenville Avenue spot. Firebird filed a lawsuit against Snuffer when he announced the opening of Pat's, fearing that he was simply opening the same concept under a different name. But, now, after a settlement, that lawsuit has been dropped and Snuffer's — the brand, not the man — will take over the Greenville project.
But at least one other venture in town has been all too happy to change its name and branding this week: An announcement on Garland Road spot White Rock Abbey's Facebook page on Monday revealed that the bar had been sold to new owners back in August and that the new higher-ups were re-branding the spot as The Local Pour.
Finally, let's end this week's notes with some news more befitting of the season: On Saturday, December 28, Truck Yard will host its first-ever Festivus For the Rest of Us bash. At the party, participants can join in on all of that fake holiday's usual festivities, from the airing of grievances to the showcasing of feats of strength. Donations made at the event will go to the Human Fund. No word yet, though, on if the Truck Yard will also install the traditional Festivus Pole, too.
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