It’s been a bit since I reached out to you with news from your friendly neighborhood TFB. This is partly because we’ve been ridiculously busy this summer and we’ve kept one foot on the brakes in an effort to assure that everyone who comes to Texas French Bread will (hopefully) receive the kind of quality experience that we strive to provide.
But I’ve also been hesitant to do much outreach recently because things have just been so darn weird and disrupted. We spent much of 2020 open only for walk-up/takeout business at our front doors on the corner of 29th St. When we began serving folks on a sit down basis again, it was in the great outdoors in our garden. Then by June the vaccine tipping point arrived and we scrambled to reopened the doors of our dining room and invite folks back inside. It seems that just about the time we get into a groove, we find that we need to reinvent our approach.
Well - a couple of more changes are in the works. First, we’ve staffed up and beginning next week on Labor Day, we’ll be reopening on Mondays again (8am-2pm). And with the holiday this coming week we’ll be running full brunch service this Monday. So be sure and make a reservation in advance if you would like to join us.
Also, for those of you who may have been away over the summer, please note that we have changed our dinner schedule and are now serving dinner on Tuesday through Saturday evenings beginning at 5pm.
In other news, while we have been incredibly fortunate to have access to the garden space adjacent to TFB in recent years (and especially over the course of this past pandemic year), I’m sad to announce that the garden has changed ownership and we no longer have access to it.
I know this news will come as a disappointment to many folks who have loved the garden space over the years, and I do try and steer clear of too much detail about how the “sausage is made” in these emails, but it seemed worth taking a minute to discuss how it came about.
First of all, this was a business decision and a tough one. But I had to make a call and I saw no real options that stood to make everyone happy.
That said, I would be remiss if I failed to note that the access we've enjoyed to the garden in recent years was made possible primarily because of the generosity and largesse of a benevolent property owner who leased the space to us at very reasonable rates over the years while shouldering most of its true cost - especially with regard to the amazing and creative makeover that came about in 2014.
But while everyone enjoyed the garden's tranquil beauty, the truth behind the scenes was more complicated. Serving guests in the garden posed near insurmountable challenges. Running a secondary dining room meant hiring an entire secondary team for the area. Equipment had to be carried in and out daily and stored when not in use. The additional seating regularly proved more than our modest kitchen could support. And communication between the garden and kitchen was challenging.
Then of course there was the garden’s goldilocks vulnerability to rain, cold, and heat, not to mention insects. The point is, It had been clear for some time that although we loved the space, we struggled to offer a consistent and positive guest experience out there (though we certainly gave it our best).
Anyway, over the past year or so, the property owner finally decided, quite reasonably, that it was time to recoup their investment. And with a decision made to put the property on the market, they were kind enough to offer us first dibs. However, between the challenges of conducting restaurant service in the garden, the rather jaw dropping market value of the property, and the difficulties of making a deal that worked for all parties, I finally decided it was time to move on.
To the folks who I'm sure this decision will greatly disappoint, all I can say is, I’m so very sorry. I tend toward caution. I believe deeply that small is beautiful and that more is not always better. And from an operations standpoint, I had few doubts that we would be better to focus on our core mission of providing you with delicious food and friendly service. It was a tough call, but one I stick by.
As a closing thought for those who enjoy al fresco dining, we’ve been cracking the french doors in the dining room to provide more fresh air, and weather permitting, we plan to throw them open a lot this fall. It really changes the feel of the space and particularly on pretty days, the effect is quite pleasant.
We are also experimenting with some trial seating along the sidewalk on both 29th and Rio Grande. It will likely be hit or miss for a bit. We are working with a consultant regarding permitting for this type of seating and possibly for a small covered deck area on the parking side. So we hope to be able to offer you a fresh take on outdoor seating in the future.
Hope to see you in the shop soon - bon appetit,