An iconic Fort Worth restaurant appears set to vacate its downtown location due to issues with its landlord.
“We’ve been here for about 20 years, but we have to look ahead and we have to find the next perfect location for Reata for the next 20 years,” said Mike Micallef, president of Reata.
Reata Restaurant opened on Houston Street in May 2002. Its current lease expires in just over two years. The restaurant wants a renewal but said it still doesn’t have one from Sundance Square management.
So the Micallef family, owners of the restaurant, decided it was time to move to a new location.
“Our lease expires in June 2024. So we’re just over two years old. Here in Reata, we serve around a quarter of a million customers every year. So for us to go and find a new location, it won’t be a simple thing. We may have to build a new location. So because of that, we need some time, but we have to find the next great location for Reata in the future” , said Micallef.
One big problem, according to the restaurant, is the higher price customers are now paying for valet parking.
“We really care about the total customer experience. Part of that experience is going to your restaurant. Obviously the valet and parking situation has changed from what it was in the past. first 18 years. And we hear feedback from our customers that they don’t like these changes,” Micallef said.
In a statement to NBC 5, a spokesperson for the Sundance Square management team said landlord-tenant issues are not discussed publicly.
Regarding the car park situation, the spokesperson said there was free parking on weekdays and weekends; two and a half hours of free customer parking on weekdays and paid valet parking on the entire 25-block campus.
“All Sundance Square restaurants have the option to pay for some (or all) of their patrons’ valet parking…and Reata does not participate in this program,” Sundance Square spokesman Bryan Eppstein wrote.
“There was a valet system where it was free for customers. The restaurant initially paid $3 a car, then $4 a car. Now the new management wanted to charge $7 every 30 minutes, $21 max, plus expenses. And that’s something we as Reata couldn’t bear. We can’t bear that. You have to realize that our lunch price is only $20. Our dinner price is about $50. If you have to pay that much for someone to park, you’re out of business,” Micallef said.
Reata is now ready to take his business elsewhere. While the restaurant would rather not leave downtown, finding two acres of undeveloped land it would need to build from scratch or a 12,000-20,000 square foot building and parking for 200 poses its own challenges. .
“We have to find the best thing for us, but as I said, it will take us a long time to find a new location and build that location or build an entire building. And as you know, because of the pandemic, the whole supply chain is messed up, so everything is taking longer than before. We have to move forward to find the next perfect location for Reata,” Micallef said.
“It’s tough, but, you know what? Our first restaurant isn’t in Fort Worth. It’s in Alpine, Texas. Our first restaurant in Fort Worth wasn’t even here. It was at the top of the Bank One Tower building. We have made a successful transition from there to here. So we are just looking for the next chapter.
And the restaurant is asking the public to help them find this new place. Information about this is published online. The goal is to identify this next location by early 2023.