Thursday, December 20, 2012

Goodbye Taverna. Hello Trader Joe's!

The DMN broke the news on Monday that the long-rumored redevelopment of the Cole Avenue block at Knox Street in Dallas is moving ahead.  The property is now occupied by several commercial buildings, including the Ed Kellum & Son appliance store and La Fiorentina and Taverna restaurant buildings. What's proposed is a mixed-use development that would be constructed on the site to replace the smaller buildings. The lead retail tenant in the project would be a Trader Joe’s grocery store. The project will also include luxury apartments on the upper floors. The project will be the most visible change in the Knox Street district, which has undergone a retail renaissance during the last two decades.

Yesterday, I got an official press release from the Lombardi Group which states:
"Alberto Lombardi, president of Dallas-based Lombardi Family Concepts, has announced that he has finalized a new lease for his Taverna Pizzeria and Risotteria in Dallas. This four-block relocation of the award-winning Taverna will place it next door to the ever-popular Toulouse, another Lombardi concept, and adjacent to the beautiful, busy Katy Trail. The move will take place at the end of March 2013 and Mr. Lombardi will insure Taverna will always be open by conducting the move overnight. With the current lease concluding for the Dallas Taverna on Armstrong Avenue, Mr. Lombardi took advantage of the recently available space next door to Toulouse on Knox Street in Dallas. Taverna will maintain its intimate trattoria atmosphere and al fresco patio dining at the new location with interiors designed by Mr. Lombardi in concert with interior designer Ron Guest. 
La Fiorentina, another neighborhood Lombardi restaurant on Cole Avenue, will also be undertaking a move in early 2013 due to the conclusion of its lease. Beginning in January and continuing through late February, La Fiorentina will be available only for special events and private parties until a new site is selected. Mr. Lombardi is currently reviewing options for La Fiorentina’s new home. “The popularity of both Taverna and Toulouse continues to grow and the landlord presented us with a synergistic location for both concepts. With the proximity of the Katy Trail and the busy street scene on Knox, this was a perfect opportunity,” said Alberto Lombardi. “The Knox-Henderson neighborhood has, and will continue to be, a great location for our three concepts, Toulouse, Taverna and Sangria.”
Are you happy to see a Trader Joe's moving in? Or do you see this as commercialization of a boutique neighborhood?  I have always been a fan of Taverna and the ambiance and atmosphere it had from being located in an old home played a large part of it's charm. Not sure if it's move to a more traditional space is a good thing... But, you can't stop progress. Especially in the form of cheap gourmet grocery goods. How do you feel about this change to the historic Knox Street area?