Eats Beat

9 flops in 11 years: This restaurant space is empty again, and here’s why

Make it nine.

Nine restaurants have opened and closed in a north corner of Montgomery Plaza, enough to make that space the Bermuda Triangle of West 7th dining.

Barrel & Bones Craft Bar and Smokehouse and neighbor Bourbon Street Oyster Bar gave up this week, the eighth and ninth restaurants to close in the same space in 11 years, even while neighboring restaurants have thrived.

Maybe you remember the Fort Worth location of Mac’s Steak & Seafood, Deluxe Bar & Grill, Monty’s Corner, Bite City Grill, King Crab Tap House, M Bistro or Honey Smoke Pit.

All have come and gone since 2008, the last eight restaurants each lasting only a year on average in what has become a classic “jinxed” location.

The space has problems, but not any more than the rest of Montgomery Plaza.

The restaurants are on the West Fifth Street side facing the uninviting central driveway. They’re dark and look empty even when they’re not. Everybody seems headed to the busy Chick-fil-A across the intersection.

But the restaurants had their own problems. In a city that loves barbecue and catfish, Barrel & Bones and Bourbon Street worked way too hard promoting bourbon and rum punch instead.

Both concepts seemed contrived and better suited to suburbs. Neither focused primarily on food or service, so diners never took either restaurant seriously.

The owners also have a Barrel & Bones in the Colony, along with suburban sports grills.

In an unsigned Facebook message, the Barrel & Bones site administrator wrote that the restaurants asked the landlord for help “due to a dispute over all the construction that has taken place over the last 10 months” and also to “us having no parking.”

A Baker Bros. Deli also recently closed nearby, with rumors of another chicken restaurant ticketed for that space.

Columnist Bud Kennedy is a Fort Worth guy who covered high school football at 16 and has moved on to two Super Bowls, seven political conventions and 15 Texas Legislature sessions. Since 1985, he has also written more than 2,000 “Eats Beat” columns about Texas dining, restaurants and food.