ARLINGTON — An Arlington businessman has bought the vacant former Fantasy Ranch topless dance club property near the city’s entertainment district and is leasing the building to a Fort Worth developer who wants to return it to its original use as a restaurant.Hussein Mahrouq, president of Mahrouq Enterprises, which owns Automax and Dollar Rent-A-Car sales lots at Division and Collins streets, bought the property at 701 106th St. from Bayview Loan Servicing in Coral Gables, Fla. Bayview foreclosed on the previous owner in November.Mahrouq said he will lease the 10,000-square-foot building, which was built in 1979 as a Bobby McGee’s Steakhouse, to real estate developer Justin McWilliams. McWilliams was involved in redeveloping some older properties along Race Street in Fort Worth a few years ago.Mahrouq said he is also financing the restaurant’s startup.“I’ve always eyed that property,” Mahrouq said. “It needs renovations, but he should be able to do good.”McWilliams said the restaurant will be called Bootay’s House of Soul, offering a menu of Southern comfort food to go along with the building’s plantation-style architecture. It will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, feature an all-female waiter staff and have room for about 300 patrons, he said.In the evenings, the restaurant, on the east side of Texas 360 just north of Randol Mill Road, will have music including jazz and blues, and will shuttle service to the nearby Rangers Ballpark and Cowboys Stadium on game days. After construction permits are obtained, McWilliams said, it should take about 90 days for the work to be completed and the restaurant to open.“We want this to be a fun, energetic place,” McWilliams said. “This restaurant really has opportunity. it will appeal to a wide variety of people.”Bobby McGee’s operated until about 1990, when the property became Fantasy Ranch and Arlington’s most notorious violator of ordinances that regulated topless bars and sexually oriented businesses.After Fantasy Ranch closed in 2007, it was sold to new owners who operated a sports bar called the Ranch Bar & Grill. Bayview began foreclosure procedures in 2011.
Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727 Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST