Black Market Investments, the parent company of Terry Black’s Barbecue in Austin, is allegedly attempting to move into Deep Ellum with a take-no-prisoners approach.
In January, the offshoot brand of the famous 82-year-old Black’s Barbecue in Lockhart, Texas, bought the building that has housed Dallas Comedy House for the last three years. It’s unclear whether the company planned to bring Terry Black’s Barbecue to Dallas, or a different restaurant. After the building was acquired, Black’s legal team reportedly began sending the comedy outpost threatening letters in an attempt to oust them, reports the Dallas Morning News.
Amanda Austin, owner of Dallas Comedy House, broke the news last week on her Facebook page:
“I’m faced with a new landlord, one whose introduction to me wasn’t a phone call or meeting, but a default letter, and I’m staring at a termination of tenancy notice based on trumped up and bogus claims of being in default under my lease,” Austin wrote in part. “They effectively bought the building with the knowledge I had 2 more years on my lease, with an additional option to renew, but told me they wanted me out. And now they’ve embarked on a four month-long campaign to try to create or ‘find’ some alleged default within the lease.”
Austin details how the fire marshal’s office paid an unexpected visit during DCH’s 9th annual Dallas Comedy Festival in March due to an alleged complaint it received. According to Austin, an inspection last week didn’t result in any violations; still Black Market wanted Austin out by April 16th. Austin also said that the company’s lawyer Boyd Mouse conveyed a clear message: if it wasn’t a “peaceful and orderly turnover” things could get ugly.
Austin ended her Facebook post by stating, “I’m a good tenant. I run a good business. Our community is great for the neighborhood. And I will not be bullied.”
After three years in the current space and five years before that where Dot’s Hop House is located now, DCH has gained quite a following in Deep Ellum, and residents are coming out in support of the comedy venue. In fact, Bishop Arts barbecue joint Lockwood Smokehouse had to send a tweet clarifying that it wasn’t involved with the chain, even though both find their origins in Lockhart, Texas.
Quick PSA folks: We aren’t affiliated with Terry Black’s BBQ, we don’t own a building in Deep Ellum, and have no beef with Dallas Comedy House!... https://t.co/KexRDVyxXJ— Lockhart Smokehouse (@DallasLockhart) April 14, 2018
Oh this would mess with Deep Ellum culture. I hope Dallas Comedy House can survive! Have some great memories there @dallascomedy https://t.co/aEhGCldQvh— Tanner Marsh (@marshmadness16) April 16, 2018
The Dallas Comedy House is my home and I will fight tooth and nail for it #DCHstrong #laughlocal pic.twitter.com/1ZTBoztGwM— Kate Grogan (@grogank72) April 13, 2018
Eater has reached out to both parties for more details on what will happen next. Stay tuned as the story unfolds.
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- Nothing funny about carpetbaggers trying to run Dallas Comedy House out of Deep Ellum [Dallas Morning News]