Farmers Market Owner Invites Brentwood Tavern to Stay
Eatery's last scheduled day of business is Oct. 25.
By Lee Nichols,
10:03AM, Tue. Oct. 23, 2007
Paz Dhody, the new owner of the former Travis County Farmers Market, sent a letter to the Chronicle yesterday apologizing for the uproar caused by the departure of Brentwood Tavern from the market, and says he hopes the beloved neighborhood restaurant will reconsider its decision and sign a new lease. Currently, the restaurant plans to close its doors on Oct. 25.
(UPDATE: Brentwood Tavern owner Kathleen Macek has nixed the offer, telling Austin Chronicle Food Editor Virginia Wood: "It's too little too late – we've already sold half our equipment, found jobs for all of our employees, and booked tickets for a vacation in Thailand.")
Click on the link below to read a slightly edited version of Dhody's letter:
This is in response to your article, published last Thursday in the Austin Chronicle and also further to the article in Friday's Austin Statesman to correct some misunderstandings and to offer my apology for any misunderstandings to which I have been party.
Initially on behalf of Spiritual Urban Warrior LLC, I only felt able to offer a continuation of the month to month lease on the assumption that The Brentwood Tavern would stay till May 2008 which was when the lease was originally to end. I thought this would give us plenty of time to come to an agreement on a future tenancy with them. Infact I was very disappointed when Tim Thomas called me to inform me that he had given notice. Now given the massive support The Brentwood Tavern has garnered from its loyal customers, I support the campaign to "Save The Brentwood Tavern" - I would love the Brentwood Tavern to stay at the Old Farmers Market. I drove past on Saturday evening and the carpark was pretty full of cars - all belonging to customers of theirs. Brentwood Tavern is an excellent restaurant and is well supported by the local community. I think this is wonderful for all stakeholders including the new owners.
In August 2007 before the Property was sold, Travis County sent notices to the existing lessees at the Property informing them that they were on month to month leases. Copies of these notices only came into the possession of Spiritual Urban Warrior LLC only after the change of ownership. Prior to my submitting a contract, and, indeed, through closing on September 14th, 2007, the status of the various leases existing was that they all terminated not later than may 2008. Infact, Brentwood Tavern's status at that time was that their lease ended May 2008. And at that time they were committed to staying till May 2008.
The sale of the property to my company Spiritual Urban Warrior occurred on September 14th 2007 (the "Closing"). Subsequent to the County's notice of the month to month status of the leases on the Property and the Closing, The Brentwood Tavern informed me that because of their liquor license renewal issues they had already given notice to Mr. Rylander that they would leave at the end of October and he Mr. Rylander accepted that notice without informing me.
SUW LLC now invites The Brentwood Tavern owners to not only see out its lease until the end of May 2008 but to continue thereafter on a year to year lease. Or start a new year to year lease immediately - or talk with me in order to discuss their wishes. We want them to stay and we are willing to be flexible to their wishes - The Brentwood Tavern is an excellent anchor for that site and there is much mutual benefit for all - customers and businesses alike - that they stay. I also believe that their business will much improve with increased pedestrian traffic at the site.
Our initial plans are simply to gentrify the place as it has become somewhat in need of "doing up" - And rather than wishing to drive tenants away we wish to draw new tenants in immediately. In addition to tenants for the buildings, wWe wish to arrange festivals, fetes, art and craft fairs, wedding parties, more farmers produce…you name it and we'll consider it. Also, very soon SUW will be having a gallery and selling crystals, Buddhist art work from Thailand (very beautiful for home decor!) and other very cool things from the site of the Red Barn at the Farmers Market very soon. I enclose pictures of some of the exhibits we intend to show: they are not only beautiful but very educational and children especially seem to form an amazing connection to such beautiful "living art"…
I encourage all customers of the Brentwood Tavern to please go and eat there and tell the owners to stay! If the Brentwood Tavern now chooses not to stay - for their own reasons - we are offering their building for lease to another prospective restaurant tenant. Prospective interested tenants can - if they wish - contact me on 512-897-7755 if they are interested in leasing or in renting stalls or holding their event there. They could also contact Mr. Rylander but since before the change of ownership he has refused to have any direct dealings with the new owner which obviously could be a cause for confusion.
In an article in Friday's Austin Statesman, a quote was attributed to Mr. Rylander that "the new owner has run off all my tenants". This sentiment is not true and we would ask Mr. Rylander to withdraw that statement if it was correctly attributed to him. The facts are as follows: Each of the tenants that is leaving has given notice - from what I understand - has given notice formally to Hill Rylander and he, without informing me or involving me in any way agreed to the termination of the leases. In the case of each lease terminated, I was informed by the tenants directly after they had already given Mr. Rylander notice. The only exceptions are Dog Almighty, Lightsea Farms and Hill Country Landscapes.
Dog Almighty left because of a dispute with Mr. Rylander which, as far as I can tell still isn't resolved. [Ed. note: a sentence has been edited out here, so as to not publish a private phone number.]
Niether Lightsea Farms nor Hill Country Landscapes have given their notice. They are seasonal tenants and do not rent stalls when the weather does not allow it for their perishable produce. I have since Friday spoken to the owners of both businesses. They are here for November and possibly after that depending on the weather. They are both encouraged to come back in the Spring - as per usual and this is their intention too.
Thank you for your attention.
Spiritual Urban Warrior LLC
P.S. The idea is go see the gallery and enjoy it which children I am sure will enjoy very much – and it is very educational too – and then enjoy the further ambience of what the Farmers Market has to offer and intends to offer including The Brentwood Tavern…