Home Adult entertainment Luby’s sale ends; Owner of TJ’s Seafood to open ‘Birdie’s Eastside’ restaurant

Luby’s sale ends; Owner of TJ’s Seafood to open ‘Birdie’s Eastside’ restaurant

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Luby’s site on East Mockingbird Lane. Photo by Renee Umsted.

Veteran restaurateur Jon Alexis has completed the purchase of Luby’s former site on the north side of East Mockingbird Lane between Skillman and Abrams.

The site totals 2.2 acres and includes the existing 5,000 square foot building. The purchase price was $5,750,000.

The Lawyer first reported on Alexis’ planned acquisition of the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School real estate in December 2021. At the time, the city faked Alexis, first requiring a waiver to serve alcohol, then ruling a few days before the hearing that he didn’t need it.

Alexis is the owner/operator of TJ’s Seafood Market and Malibu Poke. Recently, he announced the opening of Escondido Tex-Mex Patio in Preston and Royal in Ruggeri’s former space.

The Mockingbird Restaurant’s working name is Birdie’s Eastside. In a private placement memorandum obtained by the LawyerAlexis is “inspired by high-volume restaurants/bars such as The Rustic, Katy Trail Ice House, Desert Racer, Smoky Rose and many others that feature large landscaped patios to create unique, family-friendly F&B experiences”.

The plan calls for converting the existing structure into a 250-seat indoor restaurant and adding a shaded, misted 7,500 square foot patio along the west side of the building. Features would include an indoor/outdoor bar, an Eatzi-style take-out market and several flexible spaces for private events.

“Birdie’s Eastside will feature open front walls, creating a flexible indoor/outdoor environment. We will feature raw materials and landscaping elements that blend indoors and outdoors in our “neighborhood gathering place” vibe, according to the offering memorandum.

The design will be a “Marfa ‘Texas on Trend'” vibe, filled with color and decor to appeal to 25-45 year olds. It will also contain artworks that will also serve as photo backgrounds.

“In a nutshell… ‘Instagrammable’,” the offering memorandum reads.

The food offering will be an “affordable all-day menu”, including burgers, salads, bowls and traditional entrees. The plans also include coffee, pastry, and breakfast options. (No mention of a LuAnn tray.)

The “Eastside Market” will provide quick coffee, pastries, after-school snacks and takeout using the restaurant menu.

We’ve reached out to the PR representative for an estimated opening date for Birdie’s Eastside, and will update the story when we receive a response.

The estimated construction costs for the project are listed at $3.5 million in the offering memorandum.

Sarah Lamb of The Retail Connection represented St. Thomas and Michael Miller of Stablemade and Walker Hairston of Falcon represented Alexis.

St. Thomas clearly proceeded with caution in the transaction because the school, which serves children in kindergarten through third grade, remains next door. In the deed of transfer of ownership to Alexis, significant restrictions exist on what the new owner can and cannot operate. The list of excluded uses is here and includes adult entertainment, any manufacturing use, a “main” store or restaurant similar to Hooters or Twin Peaks. An establishment providing abortion or contraceptive services is also prohibited, but this restriction “does not apply to an establishment advising on the sanctity of life in accordance with the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church “.

The deed also includes a lengthy right of first refusal and a right of first offer, essentially giving St. Thomas the right, with exceptions, to redeem the property if Alexis offers the property for sale or rent.

The provisions provide guardrails on what can and cannot happen on a site adjacent to a single-family neighborhood and a school, while also allowing the school to potentially repossess the site if things go wrong.