Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Goodbye Luqa

Its Restaurant Week this week in Dallas. In case you didnt know, its a huge week considering eating out is a competitive sport, almost a contact sport in this city. During this week restaurants offer scaled-down 3-course meals for a fixed price, normally $35. It's a great way for the newer restaurants to gain some exposure in this city with more dining establishments per capita than any other city in the US.

Its good exposure, until something goes wrong, then it isn't good exposure.

Take for example last night. Eleven of us were looking forward to trying Luqa, the new pseudo-contemporary in the Rooftop Gardens building downtown. I, personally, was excited to try this place, if only because it is 2 blocks away from where I live.

But you just know there is going to be trouble when you walk up to a restaurant and the entire cook staff is sitting on the sidewalk in their little chef pants. Hanging out. Smoking. Looking whipped.


We went in anyway. The lady who runs the art gallery on the first floor was now on the second floor pretending to be Luqa's hostess. Her little puppy is locked up in the art gallery by himself. She is not a hostess. She does not know how to look up reservations. Its hot inside, like the AC has not quite been turned on. There are no other patrons.


Faux-hostess explains that there have been some "issues" with the kitchen and she will not be able to seat us. When I press her about why, she smiles and plays dumb.


We leave, obviously.

Back out on Main St. I ask the cook staff why they are outside. I'm thinking it because the AC is broken and its 130 degrees inside. Nope. It more that the cook staff has not been paid. Not been paid in a month. Oh, and this is not the first time.


Lets review: Luqa is a new place with no history. Luqa just pissed off 100 people who made reservations for Restaurant Week. Luqa apparently does not pay their employees. The AC at Luqa does not seem to work (or perhaps it was shut off due to non-payment). Luqa is in Dallas, a city that is phenomenally harsh on restaurants.

Conclusion: Goodbye Luqa.

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Blogger john said...

That's too bad. You have to wonder why people start a restaurant and then don't follow through with the project.

8:32 PM

Blogger Jim said...

Right John. And its too bad too since they were getting good reviews.

6:31 AM

Blogger BRETTCAJUN said...

You looooove to eat don't you? ;) I bet you eat the finest foods more than the average Joe. ;)

1:29 PM

Blogger Jim said...

Actually Brett, I love to cook. I go out to different restaurants to pick up ideas. Its the curse of growing up with a gourmet in the house :)

6:58 PM

Blogger JC said...

that is absolutely amazing...
feel for all the kitchen staff, but sounds like it was a blessing in disguise....

Austin is hard on resturants.... when ever a local one come by selling coupons for all these great meal deals, you can almost be assured it is a death sentence - it will be gone in month or so...
Establishing a resturant is hard work, to bad that place did not work out....the worst things is locations sometimes get a jinx or bad reputation and what ever goes in there is destined for failure - hope that is not the case here since it was so close to you.

10:59 PM

Blogger JC said...

ps, I don't see the curse in that - gourmet in the haus - what a treat!
Got any good recipes for beanie-wienies?

11:01 PM

Blogger Jim said...

JC, I always have good recipes!

The space where Luqa is now is great. Within a block of that building they will open 1000 new residential units by the end of the year. So whoever takes it over has a huge base of potential customers.

8:07 AM

Blogger Michael said...

Considering the management, it sounds like goobye and good riddance.

1:57 AM

Blogger Jim said...

No kidding Michael. When you dont pay your employees, its not a stretch of the imagination that they will leave.

What is worse are the close relationships within the restaurant industry; those people who walked out will tell all of their restaurant friends, noone will want to work for them and soon Luqa will be 6 ft. under.

7:57 AM

Blogger Michael said...

Jim, in biology, that's called "natural selection."

8:07 AM

Blogger Jim said...

LOL, yes Michael, Darwin is alive and well in the restaurant industry :)

8:25 AM

Blogger Gavin Elster said...

Oh well. thats the end of that place and any other they try to open in the future.

6:40 PM

Blogger Jim said...

Gavin, yes, thats about it. Its a shame really - nice space and apparently the food was quite good.

6:23 AM

Blogger Matthew said...

Dallas is AMAZINGLY cruel to new restaurants...they better shape up like yesterday or they are gone....

that totally sucks....


10:49 AM

Blogger Jim said...

Thats right Matt, there are just too many other options!

I will pop by Luqa this coming week to see what is happening with them.

11:53 AM

Blogger Junk Thief said...

I don't get to Dallas very often these days, but I'm impressed with how restaurants get better there each time. I'll have to check out this one. They've certaily evolved from the days when I was a kid when going to Steak and Ale spelled class.t

3:19 PM

Blogger Jim said...

Thief, I'm sure if Luqa will be around for you to try, but I would say its way better than Steak and Ale (gag!) :)

8:16 PM


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