Billy Miner's Saloon, one of the original anchors of Fort Worth's Sundance Square, is riding off into the sunset.
Owners Peggy and Dick McMullin opened the burgers-and-beer style roadhouse in 1984, and it helped pave the way for the revitalization of downtown. Dick McMullin died in 2006 and now Peggy is planning to retire, and will close the landmark restaurant on Sept. 30, according to a press release from Sundance Square.
My husband Dick and I poured ourselves into Billy Miner's and we have been so thankful for the support of Fort Worth and Sundance Square, said Peggy McMullin. Since my husband passed away, I have been considering the right time to retire. I am ready to leave the restaurant business and slow down.
Billy Miner's, famous for its big ol' burgers and hot dogs, not to mention its extensive condiment bar, was the place to be in the '80s. No one dreamed of going anywhere else for happy hour. Over the years, as flashier restaurants have grown up around it, Billy Miner's has maintained its steady base of customers with its jeans and boots atmosphere. It's still a cool place to grab a longneck and watch the Rangers or Cowboys.
"That's a piece of our history," said Johnny Campbell, president and CEO of Sundance Square. "Dick and Peggy were pioneers. We had just started to renovate downtown and theirs was a pioneer decision to step in. They created a center of energy on that corner."
Billy Miner's had three more years on its lease, but was able to negotiate that away with Sundance Square. No word yet on what will replace Billy Miner's. But don't assume it will be a restaurant.
Sundance Square's Campbell said he's already had quite a bit of interest in the space in only the first few hours since the announcement of the closing was made public. "Peggy surprised me a little bit with this decision ... We have not idea yet what will go into that space," he said. "There's no doubt in my mind that it's the best retail location in Fort Worth."
Campbell talked about striking the right balance in downtown between retail and restaurants, and retail right now might have the edge in terms of growth. Regardless of what replaces Billy Miner's, it's likely the new tenant will want to be in place before Super Bowl XVL comes to DFW in February.
"I think it would be very nice to have someone in place by then, but I don't know if it's possible," says Campbell. "I'm not far enough along to say."
One thing that isn't in doubt? There will be more than few farewell happy hours at Billy Miner's before Sept. 30. Stay tuned.