The Deep Ellum outpost of “eatertainment” chain Punch Bowl Social might be completely doomed thanks to a major investor deciding to stop spending money on the struggling chain.
Weirdly, boomer-beloved Cracker Barrel Old Country Store owns a major stake in Punch Bowl Social, a self-described “millennial magnet” that hails from Denver. According to Restaurant Business, Cracker Barrel reported in a recent securities filing that it would no longer invest in the restaurant, resulting in the closure of all 19 Punch Bowl Social locations across the country and the termination of “substantially” all of the restaurant’s employees.
On March 16, Punch Bowl Social was forced to close its doors like all other restaurants in Dallas after mayor Eric Johnson issued an order shutting the city’s dining rooms. According to a statement posted to the restaurant’s Facebook page, that closure was intended to be temporary, though a date for its reopening was not set.
To be sure, Punch Bowl Social has struggled in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. In November 2019, the chain closed its $2.5 million Fort Worth location after a little more than three months in business. The Dallas outpost earned a rare “no-star” (read: not recommended) review from now-former Dallas Morning News dining critic Michalene Busico.
In a statement provided to Eater, the chain insists that the closure of the Deep Ellum location is temporary, and that the company is working with its lender on next steps. “We are all navigating new terrain and doing our best to simply survive,” Punch Bowl CEO Robert Thompson said. “Punch Bowl Social is continuing to collaborate with our lender, CrowdOut, and is working now to be in a strong position for our future re-openings, nationwide.”
Update, 5:48 p.m.: This post has been updated to include a statement from Punch Bowl Social CEO Robert Thompson.