Rumors about the closure of El Corazon de Tejas have been circulating for some time. The restaurant, owned by John and Susan Cuellar of the Cuellar family, has a long history of revolutionizing Mexican food in Dallas. The building was originally an El Chico location before the family changed it in 1978 to Tejano. In late 2013, they revised the name to El Corazon de Tejas, a hipper version of El Chico.
John Cuellar, who owns El Corazon with his wife Susan, says that the restaurant is open “indefinitely,” and that things are going so well that they’ve been shopping for a third location. They also have a sister restaurant, Cuellar’s Fajita Ranch, which they opened in Plano in 2016.
The same day, city council member Scott Griggs shared a demolition permit on his Facebook page. The illustration filed with the permit shows the 4 1/2 acres on Zang at Beckley, where El Corazon de Tejas sits. Griggs speculated the restaurant would be replaced by a CVS and expressed his displeasure.
Concerned Tex-Mex fans went berserk. Angry Facebook posts appeared. Petitions were spread. And guess what. The developers won.
I hate to see old restaurant spaces die. I also don’t know what it is like to be offered a box of money for something I own and refuse the offer. It’s a sad fact for restaurant romantics who find comfort in old spaces. I hope the family finds another location. Recipes and cooks can travel. And so can pieces of the interior and signage. John, if you’re out there, please find an empty CVS and reopen there.
Update: Councilman Scott Griggs, North Oak’s representative, chimed in on Facebook Wednesday afternoon. Things appear grim for the decades-old building:
I spoke with Jason Price of Orange Development about El Corazon. Mr. Price indicated that a CVS is planned for the site and his group has completed the design and plans for the CVS.
Mr. Price implied the contract of sale was already signed or imminent and the demolition of the building would be occurring very soon.
I indicated my disappointment that the building wasn’t being saved. Mr. Price stated that the building has no historic significance. I also indicated my disappointment that Oak Cliff isn’t given the opportunity to to collaborate on the design. Mr. Price had no comment.
Mr. Price also indicated that he has been lurking on my Facebook page and reading my posts.
Please come to Oak Cliff and meet our great people. I believe you and CVS can work with our community to save the building and put a wonderful CVS in the building. Can we at least try?