During the past seven days or so, we’ve had news about Fort Worth’s Little Red Wasp adding a Southlake location, and about popular New York-based burger chain Shake Shack adding a location in Southlake Town Square. A Hopdoddy Burger Bar location also recently opened, on the west side of the town square.
But as the restaurant gods give, they also taketh away: Cafe Express, one of the longest-running restaurants in Southlake Town Square, closed a few days ago. We haven’t confirmed exactly when, but the most recent post on the location’s Facebook page is Aug. 23, and the Facebook page now says “permanently closed” in the “About” section.
The restaurant, a gathering place for families in Southlake and adjacent cities such as Keller, Grapevine and Colleyville, opened in late 2003, a few months after a location of the Dallas-based chain opened in Fort Worth’s University Park. The Fort Worth location closed in 2007, and the spot is now home to an Anthroplogie clothing/jewelry/decor store.
Cafe Express, which offered a menu of burgers, sandwiches, salads and more (including some pretty good desserts) was kind of a fast-casual pioneer in at least one sense: It’s the first restaurant where we can remember being handed the pagers that you take to your table and wait to buzz (which was sometimes a little startling) to tell you that your food is ready.
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Since the Southlake Town Square location opened, however, there has been a lot of restaurant development in Southlake, both within the Town Square and along Southlake Boulevard and Texas 114. Within the past couple of years, the Park Village center across from Southlake Town Square has added several restaurants to the city, and a Trader Joe’s grocery store opened a short walk (or short but crowded drive) from the Cafe Express location.
According to the Community Impact Newspaper for Plano, Cafe Express closed a Plano location in March. The Cafe Express website now lists only three DFW locations, all in, well, the “D” part of DFW on McKinney Avenue, Lovers Lane and at Mockingbird Station in Dallas. The Southlake location has already been removed from the website.
Cafe Express originated in Houston, where it was long based, but according to a January report from CultureMap Dallas, it was bought by M. Terry Enterprises, which moved the headquarters to Dallas. The original McKinney Avenue location was torn down in 2016, according to the CultureMap report, and came back in January with a grand reopening as part of the M Line Tower, a 20-story residential building in Uptown Dallas.
We have sent an email query to Cafe Express to see if we can get a reason for the Southlake closing. We’ll update if we hear anything.