Restaurants / Closings

Super Hyped Dallas Restaurant With its Own Pool Suddenly Shutters Amid Major Drama

The Circus of Circo

BY // 06.27.19

Circo TX, the Italian coastal restaurant in Uptown with its own swimming pool, has shuttered for good. The McKinney Avenue spot was only open for nine months before calling it quits.

Despite just recently opening that much-hyped, glass-bottomed swimming pool, the restaurant has had quite a dramatic closing.

But before we get into that, here’s a bit of background. The Circo concept was founded in New York by Sirio Maccioni in 1996. Circo TX was supposed to be a modern reimagining of the classic concept. The massive 25,000 square foot venue brought in a two-pool patio called Circo Beach and a second floor lounge.

You could say that “concept” was a bit more than the establishment could handle. The closing was abrupt, as Circo chef Yia A. Medina had just done a TV spot about a week ago with FOX 4 News promoting the restaurant. There was even talk of expansion.

Some of the drama at Circo that led to the shuttering included noise complaints, bounced checks for the staff, wild parties, and more. Guidelive even details alleged “urine throwing incidents.” The restaurant is located in One Uptown, a residential building, so the noise complaints make sense. But the other problems are pretty out there.

Dallas Observer reporter Brian Reinhart did a deep dive into the financial issues, interviewing former employees and chef Eddie Barron. Barron notes that a lot of payments were in cash due to checks bouncing, and that he was fired after taking time off to grieve the death of his mother.

Another former employee says she was asked to sign an agreement stating that she wouldn’t talk negatively to the press (hardly standard restaurant practice). Pay stubs allegedly aren’t available for tax purposes. And the times that Reinhart reached out to CEO Lauren Santagati, she was not too happy about it. The Observer exposé is worth a read.

Circo advertised itself as a “circus” when it first opened and it sounds like it ended as one as well.

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