News Article | 3/18/2009

Hard Rock Cafe to return to Dallas

The Hard Rock Cafe is planning to return to Dallas this summer, opening its only North Texas location in Victory Park, the parent company is expected to announce today.

The announcement comes two years after the restaurant/concert venue closed on McKinney Avenue, ending a two-decade run.

The announcement is also a coup for Victory Park, which has had a spate of high-profile defections.

“Victory is one of the more substantial and impressive private real estate developments in the U.S.,” Stacey O’Bryan, a vice president of operations for Hard Rock International, said in an e-mail. “We believe the quality of the project, combined with terrific visibility for Hard Rock Cafe Dallas, is a winning combination.”

The Dallas cafe is to take up about 8,900 square feet on the ground floor of the House, Victory’s condo tower that will open this spring.

Hard Rock’s opening is tentatively set for July.

It will include a 265-seat restaurant, an oval stone bar and outdoor seating.

The Hard Rock Cafe Dallas will be across the street from another restaurant/concert hall, the House of Blues.

Brian Pekny, senior marketing director for Hard Rock International, said in an e-mail that the two brands compete in several markets, but said the positioning of the two “is fundamentally different.”

“Hard Rock Cafe Dallas will have a distinct identity and feature rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia from Hard Rock’s collection, which includes items … from Texas-born artists and bands, including a black suit worn by Roy Orbison, snakeskin boots worn by Stevie Ray Vaughan, a Western-style tie-dyed shirt donated by Laura Lynch of the Dixie Chicks and more,” Pekny said.

“Memorabilia from the late, great ‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott of Pantera also will be displayed at the Dallas cafe,” he said.

When the original Hard Rock Cafe Dallas opened in 1986, it was one of the few outside London and New York.

Located in the old McKinney Avenue Baptist Church – the building dated back to 1904 – it described itself as “the Supreme Court of Rock & Roll.”

Hard Rock founder Isaac Tigrett spent about $13 million renovating the building, including the private Cheese Club, a replica of a room in Who guitarist Pete Townshend’s home that drew the likes of Dan Aykroyd and the Blues Brothers.

By 2007, though, sales were disappointing, and the Dallas venue closed.

Hard Rock International did not announce any concerts, promising more details closer to opening day.