While the bright orange exterior and decorated windows indicate a vibrant business, the interior of the building at 214 E. Hickory St. is nearly empty, a collapsed news rack near the side door along Industrial Street one of the few remaining items.
After a little more than two years of business, the Burguesa Burger restaurant closed its doors quietly last Saturday. No sign hangs on the door to indicate the closing. The leasing agent for the property, Greg Johnson, CEO and managing partner of Verus Real Estate Advisors, said he wasn’t notified of the move.
“I got a call from a downtown friend [on Saturday] who asked me if I was aware, and of course I wasn’t,” Johnson said. “They worked really hard and they tried, but I think what they found out was their product offering and experience wasn’t a fit for downtown.”
The concept restaurant offered a Mexican twist on burgers and fries, with a signature burger called the La Monumental that added avocado, refried beans and a crunchy tostada on top of two beef patties. The restaurant was created by Jeff Sinelli, who also created Genghis Grill and Which Wich.
Sinelli said by phone Friday that while he was not directly involved with the Burguesa Burger franchises, he was surprised the restaurant closed. Company officials involved with the chain will provide more information next week, he said.
While the area around the building location has a vibrant restaurant scene, 214 E. Hickory has cycled through tenants, including Giovanni’s Pizza and Hot Box Pizza. The problem isn’t the building, Johnson said, but the type of restaurant that tries to occupy the space.
“What they figured out was, for the food offering that they had and their price point, it was much more suited for an area with drive-throughs,” he said. “They didn’t get the traffic downtown that they expected they would.”
Burguesa Burger’s two remaining locations are in Dallas, and no new locations have been opened since the Denton restaurant opened despite company officials previously expressing interest in expanding the chain.
Area restaurateurs apparently have been keeping an eye on Burguesa Burger. Johnson said three businesses have inquired about the location over the past year and asked to be notified when it became vacant.
Though the building has not even been listed as available, he said his company is in negotiations with two restaurants that want the space, and “one would be a knock-out concept.”
“We want the right user,” he said. “The goal isn’t to hurry up and get it leased. We’ll take it slow and get someone we think is a really good fit for the area. I think, if the deal I think is going to happen happens, everybody will be pumped.”
The eagerness of other businesses to take over the location shows the strength of the downtown market, Johnson said.
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.