Tex-Mex teardown

Dallas took down another nostalgia-inducing old building in May.

The 77-year-old building that most recently housed El Corazon de Tejas was torn down over two days to make way for a new development, possibly a CVS store.

We first alerted neighbors to impending changes on West Davis Street between Beckley Avenue and Zang Boulevard after a developer requested a replat for the restaurant building and an adjacent shopping center, a sign that something big could be in the works.

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The restaurant closed about a week after we first reported that Alabama-based Orange Development LLC, which previously has built CVS stores, had plans for the 4.5-acre lot. Orange since then has confirmed that CVS is the plan.

Despite the Dallas Landmark Commission’s resistance, demolition permits already had been issued, so the bulldozers moved.

Anyone paying attention to commercial real estate in the Bishop Arts District shouldn’t be too surprised at this move. Massive new developments already are underway on the three other corners of Zang and Davis, where the Oak Cilff streetcar line ends.

Alamo Manhattan is transforming the western corners of Zang and Davis with apartments and retail. And Crescent Communities is doing the same at the former site of Dallas County Schools.

Wyatt Food Store, then a major grocer in Dallas, constructed the building with its tiered topper around 1940. The grocery store was notable for its large number of parking spaces by mid-20th Century standards.

The building became El Chico restaurant in the 1950s. When El Chico pulled out in the ’70s, the Cuellar family stuck with the location, running Tejano Restaurant for a few more decades. The family revamped that classic Oak Cliff Tex-Mex spot into El Corazon de Tejas in 2013.

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Here’s an opportunity to get involved: The Old Oak Cliff Conservation League hosts a panel discussion on neighborhood preservation at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 20, at Arts Mission Oak Cliff, 410 S. Windomere.

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