Buh-bye Black-Eyed Pea

Texas home-cooking classic shuts down restaurants across the state

Texas home-cooking classic shuts down restaurants across the state

Black Eyed Pea chicken fried steak
Chicken-fried steak fans have about a dozen less places to find it. Black Eyed Pea/Facebook

Iconic home-cooking chain Black-Eyed Pea has closed nearly all of its restaurants, leaving only the branch in Arlington Highlands, and possibly two others.

On September 27, numerous branches — including North Dallas, Hurst, Fort Worth, Houston's Bellaire neighborhood, and San Antonio — posted "temporarily closed" signs on their doors, stating, "We will let you know when we are able to reopen."

Restaurants Acquisition, which owns the locations around Texas, did not answer calls. An employee at the Arlington Highlands branch said that they were definitely still open, and that possibly one other branch would remain open as well, but that the rest of the chain was "in limbo."

According to WFAA, landlords for the locations in Mesquite and Hurst locked out the restaurants for failure to pay rent.

Restaurants Acquisition filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in December 2015. It had since closed half of its 30 stores, including the Dixie House in Lakewood, leaving 14 branches in Texas, including seven around Dallas-Fort Worth.

The chain was founded by restaurateur Gene Street in 1975, and it was cherished for its simple, affordable home cooking, with signature chicken-fried steak, copious vegetables sides, and complimentary basket of warm wheat rolls and cornbread. He sold it in 1986, and it changed ownership more than once.

Street still owns the building at the site of the original on Cedar Springs Road in Dallas, which he closed in January 2016. It is now the inaugural branch of his family's fried chicken concept, Street's Fine Chicken.

There's a Black-Eyed Pea in Tennessee that is still open; an employee at that store said she had heard that three locations total were to remain open. There are also nine branches in Colorado, owned by a separate entity, which are still open.