July is often one of the slowest months of the year for restaurants in Dallas. it’s hot. Customers travel. And some North Texas restaurateurs are embracing the scorching days of summer by closing for a week or more around July 4.
“It’s time to take a break and walk away,” said Jennifer Uygur, co-owner of Italian restaurant Oak Cliff. Lucy with her husband, chef David Uygur.
His motivation has less to do with slow sales, which doesn’t really happen in a tiny, nine-table restaurant that’s still considered one of Dallas’ best. It’s more about resting, says Uygur. Their 18 employees are among thousands of North Texas restaurant workers who have been on the front lines of the pandemic for more than two years.
“It’s good for everyone to take a brain break,” Uygur says.
Lucia will be closed July 10-19 and its full-time employees will be paid for their time off.
Uyghurs are planning to take their first plane trip since January 2020 – and they are counting the days.
Urban Cafe in East Dallas is another restaurant that holds annual “summer vacations” for its employees. Owners Kristen and Mitch Kauffman are closing the restaurant July 2-7 and reopening for dinner July 8.
At French Room and the French Room Bar Inside the historic Adolphus Hotel, staff members are off June 27-July 5. They do it twice a year: for one week in the summer and one after the holidays.
“It’s a full-time profession for most of our team, and we stay so busy throughout the year that it can be difficult to find time for an extended vacation,” one executive wrote. company in a press release. “Taking a week off twice a year allows us to break up together and gives everyone the opportunity to travel, visit family and enjoy life.”
It also allows time to update the historic building in downtown Dallas, which is 110 years old.
Full-time employees of the French room accumulate paid vacation during the year and can use it during the two annual breaks if they wish, a spokesperson said.
Lone Star Donuts in Oak Cliff takes a different approach, closing for the entire month of July to “reorganize” its business. This isn’t so much a “headache” as more of a reset for a 72-year-old company.
The Swiss pastry takes its break this year from July 3 to 11. The bakery closed the week of July 4 “for as long as I can remember,” says chef and owner Hans Peter Muller. His father opened the shop in June 1973, and it’s one of the oldest restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth.
“Everyone has the same week off and we’re not short-staffed all summer because people take individual vacations,” Muller said via email. Employees of the company for a year or more are paid for their free time.
Of course, many restaurant owners and employees feel they can’t afford to close, especially as the cost of food rises. Barbecues and bars, in particular, are likely hoping for strong sales in early July to offset the long hangover from weak sales during the pandemic.
The July 4 weekend “can be an incredibly busy and lucrative time for liquor retailers,” TABC Chief Enforcement Officer Brandy Norris said in a statement. They encourage bars and retailers to be careful not to overserve intoxicated customers.
Before going to a restaurant in North Texas in July 2022 —
Hours and dates for some restaurants will change in July. While some restaurants are taking a big break, others are taking a different approach: Between, they say. Many offer 4th of July promotions designed to entice customers.
Still others will close on July 4th only. Many consider it a day of celebration. But others, like TLC Vegan, call the 4th of July a day “to mourn the loss of personal freedoms, religious liberty, and the separation of church and state in America” after Roe vs. Wade was overthrown.
So here’s a suggestion: if you’re heading to a restaurant in the next week or two in D-FW, call ahead or check social media first.