Michael Martensen Has Left The Cedars Social

Owner Brian Williams just sent this statement:

I am announcing with a bit of sadness, that Michael Martensen has left The Cedars Social, Smyth, and soon to open The Establishment to move on to his own endeavors. We are grateful for everything that Michael has done to make us the success that we are and wish him the very best. We are positive that his new ventures will continue to bring him all of the continued success that he deserves and we support his decision 100%. The Cedars Social, Smyth and The Establishment will continue our commitment to serving exceptional drinks and providing a superior experience for our guests.

In the meantime, I chose to close Smyth for only a week to retool and bring in additional bartenders and management.

Update: Central Track reports the staffs of both establishments staged a walked out last night and shut both places down. The site says:

Citing creative differences, the workers said that things had come to a philosophical business crest at their South Lamar Street and reservation-only Travis Street workplaces, that a final straw had been pulled.Details are hardly specific at the moment; the combined staffs promise a press release coming possibly as soon as Tuesday, one aimed at formally announcing their decision to jump ship. But the workers — talkative, yet preferring not to be directly quoted individually for the time being — were quick to reassure that their departure had been a “singular motion.” The bartenders also teased the likelihood of upcoming pop-up bar events as they search, perhaps together, for new work homes.

Update: I contacted Michael Martensen. He sends this reply:

“I’d like to congratulate my team for the amazing success in creating and executing the cocktail programs at both The Cedars Social and Bar Smyth that garnered national recognition. In fact, in many ways, their efforts have established Dallas as a city with one of the most innovative cocktail programs in the country. We, as a team, have decided to pursue new opportunities that have presented themselves over the past several months and begin the next chapter of our professional careers. We are excited to announce these new projects in the coming days and weeks.  Stay tuned.”


  • DNighter
  • mmmmmm

    Is it just me or do we read more about the places Michael Martensen leaves than places he actually sticks with or stays at???

    • truth comes out

      its just you

  • Stump

    Creative differences happen from time to time, that’s part of business. The final straw needs to be notifying your employer of your intent to resign, not forming a revolt and screwing the company that gave you an opportunity and the fellow team members that you left behind.
    Dallas bar owners/managers, think twice about hiring any of these individuals in the future.

    • Anonymous

      As someone who knows the staff please know that Brian dug his own grave in this situation.thr last thing the staff wanted was to leave on bad terms but they literally had No choice.public as of now knows about 10% of what’s been going down.

  • hiccup burp fart

    I wonder if this is the same 1326 Lamar partnership that is regularly listed in the Dallas Business Journal back pages under federal and/or state tax leins filed? As in employee taxes withheld but not paid?

    • Nancy Nichols

      yes it is.

  • dawn quiett

    Staging a walk out on a slow Monday. Man, that takes guts. Was anyone there to even notice?

  • truth comes out

    Williams is a crook; who has stolen money from investors, constantly bounced paychecks as well as checks to vendors, embezzled money from Cedars Social behind his investors back, diverting it without their knowledge into the Travis Street projects even though they are unrelated entities, he owes money to every vendor he deals with, was responsible for a Chase Bank manager losing his job due to his check kiting schemes, as well as owes his own bank thousands of dollars… I could go on but no need, he was also accused of sexually assaulting an employee at cedars social last spring… Mike has constantly tried to clean up the Mess Williams leaves behind until he could no longer participate in the dealings… It is my understanding the landlord at Cedars is about to take the property back over and have expressed an interest in Martenson taking over the space under their ownership… Due to unpaid rent and a note on the original lease for $50,000 that has never had a penny paid against it… Somehow someway Williams has wiggled and squirmed his way thru the last year with lies and promises to make good on his financial obligations, but it finally is all coming to an end.

    • Nancy Nichols

      I am in the process of reviewing some legal documents today that indicate that some of what you say is true. The rest is hard to find on paper.

  • hillarybarton

    So much for our reservations as Smyth this weekend…. dislike!

    • Mountain Creek