The Tin Man Diner, a brand new pizza buffet in Old Town at 136 W. Main St. that opened just months ago, closed its doors July 8. Tin Man becomes the latest restaurant in recent years to shut down at that location.
Owner Craig Jennings, who is still paying the lease through the end of the contract, said the restaurant wasn’t making money and didn’t look like it ever would, so he shut it down rather than put more money into it.
Jennings said there just wasn’t enough foot traffic to make the location work. He said that while there appeared to be significant foot traffic, most of the people in Old Town are there to go to the wedding shops and don’t stop for food.
“For me, at least, the appearance is that there’s some foot traffic, and when you actually look at who’s coming and going, it’s people from around the state coming for their wedding and their beautiful day,” he said. “It’s a little deceptive.”
He noted that the area is improving, saying that the city is adding residential areas to Old Town that should increase the traffic. He also said he wasn’t as invested as other recent culinary additions to downtown like Twisted Root and J2 Steakhouse, many of which built their locations from the ground up or spent millions on renovations, in the case of J2.
Lewisville’s economic development director Nika Reinecke said the location is just fine.
“It’s not the location, that’s for sure,” she said.
She said the restaurants that have closed have done so for a variety of reasons, most of which had to do with the restaurateurs themselves. She said restaurants have had issues with the location’s rent and having their primary income be from delivery orders, to the point that the physical location was almost superfluous, but also they’ve had personnel issues and issues building their clientele.
Reinecke also said that the facility’s kitchen needs to be expanded, but that the new tenants haven’t wanted to invest in that. She said the city would help, but only to make significant improvements.
Nevertheless, Reinecke said the location is ideal, as evidenced by the longest-term tenant in recent memory, Dat’s Good bbq, which held the location down for years before being followed by a string of short-lived successors.
Reinecke also said there is significant interest for the nearby vacancy on 165 W. Main St., which until recently hosted Elke’s Beer Haus before the eponymous Elke Macy retired to spend more time with her family in December. Reinecke said the new owners of Elke’s building, Randy and Ronda Owens, are mulling their options — they’d intended to make major changes to the building, adding an upstairs area and opening it up to Wayne Ferguson Plaza to the north, but have received several offers to occupy the building both as-is and with the proposed improvements. Reinecke said they’ll have plenty of offers to choose from once they make their decision.