Plans for a new, locally owned barbecue restaurant to open on the ground floor of a CareSource building on North Patterson Boulevard in downtown Dayton have stalled, at least for now.
“CareSource has not been able to reach an agreement with Texas Beef & Cattle,” CareSource spokesman Joe Kelley told this news outlet. “We are actively shopping the space to perspective tenants.”
Texas Beef & Cattle Company founder and owner James Nuñez, who operates a restaurant in the Wright-Dunbar District west of downtown, submitted a letter of intent in July to lease the 6,000-square-foot space on the ground floor of a CareSource building at 217 N. Patterson Blvd. At the time, Nuñez said his plans called for building out a restaurant that would seat an estimated 144 inside and potentially another 24 on a patio. The new second location of his restaurant “would give us a better opportunity to show off South Texas-style barbecue and the true vision of what it can be,” Nuñez said in July.
But no lease was ever signed.
Nuñez told this news outlet last week that he had to put the downtown Dayton project on the back burner and shift his focus to his Wright-Dunbar restaurant at 1101 W. Third St., in part because of the upcoming closure of the West Third Street bridge over the Great Miami River as part of a bridge-replacement project expected to last nearly two years.
That closure, Nuñez said, will cut off his restaurant’s direct access to and from his customers in downtown Dayton, and will harm his business.
“We’ve got to figure out a way to survive for 20 months, at minimum, starting in January,” Nuñez said.
The Texas Beef & Cattle founder said he doesn’t consider the idea for the downtown Dayton location dead, but acknowledged no lease has been signed for the North Patterson Boulevard space. The project was further complicated by potential regulatory obstacles with operating a wood smoker at or near the restaurant, Nuñez said.
CareSource, which employs hundreds of people in the floors above the ground-floor retail spaces, appears to be looking elsewhere.
Kelly Gray, senior vice president of Equity commercial real-estate firm, confirmed that she is “actively marketing” the space at 217 N. Patterson Blvd., which is next door to ground-floor retail space at 221 N. Patterson Blvd. that has been leased and will soon become a Winans Chocolates + Coffee shop.
“We are actively trying to find an experienced operator who could serve breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Gray said.