The Advocate - Emily Charrier - 17 May 2017
Even though it might seem a little confusing, Scott Maness really wanted the classic Greenville Bar & Grill sign to welcome guests who come to his new Slater’s 50/50 — Burger By Design, opening next month. The longtime Dallas resident loved the history and wanted to show reverence for the sign that first lit up the Avenue in 1933.
The city had other ideas, he said.
“The landlord was forced to take it down by the city,” Maness says. “When we tried to put our new sign up, they said the GBG sign was not up to code and it needed to come down.”
How, you might ask, could a decades-old sign not be up to code? Once approved, a sign is grandfathered in, even as modern engineering changes. That is, unless the sign has been altered to taken down, as was the case in 2015, when it was restored by then-owner Shawn Foley.
According to Maness, the sign’s last permitted upgrade was in 2009, after the Grill reopened with its original name in 2007. “The city said it was not the same sign [today as it was in 2009],” Maness says. “Someone took it down after 2009, changed it, and put it back up.”
Apparently, whatever work was done to the sign violated city code.
Maness says he asked about fixing it, but the landlord had made plans to remove the neon sign that was one of the few things to survive the 2010 fire that took down much of the block. He heard, although cannot confirm, that it was sold to the crew at Gas Monkey, the biker bar owned by “Fast ‘N Loud” famous Richard Rawlings.
Since it came down, passersby have angrily expressed their displeasure that this little piece of history was ripped from its home, Maness says. He’s quick to tell people it was at the behest of the city.
Councilmember Philip Kingston has not yet responded to our query seeking further clarification on the city’s position. We’ll update the story when we know more.
However, the sign will rise again, albeit in a new fashion. To pay homage to the history of the location, Maness plans to have the sign recreated to hang on the second story of his new burger joint.
“We absolutely get the historical significance of this site,” Maness says. “It’s part of the reason we wanted this location, it’s a very desirable spot.”
He says he’s shooting for a June 14 opening, but don’t hold him to that because “with construction, anything can happen.”
It will be the first Slater’s 50/50 outside of California, but the signature burger that’s 50 percent bacon, 50 percent beef sounds decidedly Texan. “I found it while I was traveling for business and I was so drawn to the food,” Maness says.
In the newly designed space, the main floor will include ample seating and a bar with 50 beer taps. The second floor will have a smaller bar and special event or overflow seating. He hopes to restore the third-floor patio, but so far the city has not signed off on his plans.
“At some point, we hope to put a full bar up there,” Maness says.
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