What’s Next For Daddy Jack’s and Crown and Harp? We Talked To An Outgoing Owner To Try And Find Out.
Since Lower Greenville sister establishments Crown & Harp and Daddy Jack’s announced their simultaneous May 7 closings, there has been much speculation as to what’s to blame. After surviving a handful of both upswings and downswings in the neighborhood in the last 25 years, had gentrification and rising rents finally forced them out?
Doesn’t seem that way. Partners Cary Ray, Neil Connell and Jack Chaplin owned the building that housed the seafood restaurant and the conjoining, music-loving pub. In other words? The closure had nothing to do with a malevolent landlord using a heinous rent hike to force their hand. And, per a post on the Daddy Jack’s Facebook page, bad business wasn’t the culprit either.
Says that Daddy Jack’s posting: “Dear friends and patrons, along with our sister establishment, the Crown and Harp, we have sold our buildings and business assets. We will be closing after the weekend of May 6th. The reasons for this are numerous and mostly positive and none of which have to do with the viability of our operations. Although it is true that the feel and the vibe of Lower Greenville has changed a great deal from the days of the Arcadia Theatre, Whole Foods, Poor David’s Pub and the Royal Rack, our establishments are not a casualty of this change. Rather we are benefiting from the change at a time when our partnerships are individually and collectively ready to move on. Hence, the decision to sell has been painful, but not difficult.”
That’s a sentiment echoed by Ray in D Magazine. Says Ray: “We’re ready to move on to new things and, for lack of a better term, cash in.”
But what of those other lingering questions? Who bought the building? What’s it going to be next? And what of the outgoing businesses? Will we see them pop up somewhere else?
To find out, we sat down with Connell, who was quick to assert he’s still got plenty of good years left in him and that he still has “a lot of ideas that [he] hasn’t used.”
After taking the rest of 2017 off to rest up and regroup, he tells us, he plans on looking into starting up a new music venue or nightclub concept, although exactly what it’ll be – or what part of Dallas he’ll choose for it – is too soon to tell. He suggests that perhaps it’ll look something like his early aughts nightclub Soul II Soul that sat on the stretch of Sears Street now occupied by the Truckyard, or maybe something like Fort Worth’s Scat Jazz Lounge, which he still co-owns, although he concedes that he’s simply speculating at this point.
As for the new ownership, Connell says he isn’t at liberty to disclose who the building’s new owners are. Furthermore, he says he has no clue as to what they plan on doing with the space.
“If we asked, I don’t even know if they’d tell us,” he says.
In the meantime, Crown & Harp has a full calendar of farewell events booked — and a few more announcing soon, several of which are being put together by promoters that have worked at the club at some point over the past two decades. Among those are a 20th anniversary party on Saturday, April 29, that will feature Ricki Derek and Elvis impersonator Toyokazu Toki, who is flying in from Japan. Current Club Dada creative director Moody Fuqua has also signed on to book two closing shows, and a Faded Deejays-hosted Cinco de Mayo party will go down on the 5th (naturally).
As for Daddy Jack’s, Connell says dinner service was slammed on Tuesday night — and he reckons it will every day from now until close. So if you’re dying to get one last Ritz-stuffed shrimps fix, you’d better make a reservation ASAP. After May 7, you’ll have to drive all the way out to Fort Worth for your surf-and-turf needs.
That Daddy Jack’s location, owners confirm, will remain open.
Cover photo via The Crown & Harp’s Facebook page.