After 5 years of business, the Beckley Brewhouse is set to close tomorrow. The place has been a fixture in my life for those 5 years and I’d like to share some of my thoughts, and why it is so important to me and the others who visited. I also want to highlight their incredible accomplishment. Five years for any new business is wildly impressive. Theirs was a restaurant in Dallas. More specifically Oak Cliff. I can count more than 10 restaurants opened by experienced businesspeople that all failed in 1-2 years in Oak Cliff. Ron and Corinna were pioneers, and here is my version of their story…
About 5 years ago, two of my friends opened a restaurant. Actually the story starts a little before that. These friends were probably much like you – they were very successful, had great jobs, but were unfulfilled. Where they were not like most of us, they actually did something about it. They were passionate about life, passionate about their inspiring neighborhood and the people that lived there, and wanted to contribute. They walked away from their lucrative corporate careers and did what most would consider the riskiest thing possible – they opened a restaurant, with zero experience and their own money. After finding a completely run-down property over on Beckley, they called their restaurant the Beckley Brewhouse and started building from scratch.
They built an amazing restaurant from that run-down property. They filled four small walls as well as any restaurateur with 20 years of experience would have. Since they opened 5 years ago, they have never had a bad review. They were consistent, and people appreciated that.
They opened not too long after the Belmont Hotel opened. Aside from Hattie’s and the original incarnation of Tillman’s there was not much reason to head to Oak Cliff. This was long before the Bolsa and Enos days. There were no guys on bikes. Or better blocks. Or BBQ cook-offs. No Oak Cliff People or GoOakCliff. While all of the new aspects of Oak Cliff are completely exciting, amazing and truly an evolution, Ron and Corinna’s vision of their patrons likely resembled the friends and neighbors that they hung out with on a regular basis. And that is largely what the place became. You had real regulars there. The people that were simply addicted to a particular menu item. The judge that always tipped with silver dollars. The young lawyer who could down the giant burgers daily because he ran 50-mile races on the weekends. Talk of politics. Progress in the Cliff. Homes. Neighbors. Music. It was that kind of place. It was never considered trendy, which likely contributed to its success. It was a place where people of all walks could hang out and did.
And while closing doors is almost always viewed as failure, the Beckley Brewhouse was the farthest thing from it. Imagine how many people walked in those doors and saw what Ron and Corinna had created and were left feeling inspired to the same thing. Imagine how many people were inspired to take risks. To let their balls hang out there in a major way to create something of their own. Imagine how many lifelong friendships were made there – I can attest to a few. Ron and Corinna will be better people for it. They brought people together. Inspired others to do what they did. Filled a void in many people’s lives. Provided jobs for those who needed to catch a break.
This is an outlier moment for Ron and Corinna. For at least the second time in their life, they’ve been knocked off their rails. They gave up one life for another, and now they get to pick the next life that they want. We should all be envious. They are both amazing people and deserve the best. I consider them both lifelong friends.
When they close tomorrow, they should be remembered for much more than the snarky foodie blog posts that may document their closing. I want to make sure people keep things in perspective. See the bigger picture and the larger contributions they made to Oak Cliff.