Chef Omar Flores’ critically acclaimed Dallas restaurant Casa Rubia closed its doors for good after dinner service on Saturday night. The modern Spanish eatery opened in 2013 and was one of the first successful endeavors for Trinity Groves, the restaurant incubator at the foot of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.
During its four years in business, Casa Rubia was a favorite of local food critics and earned Flores multiple James Beard Nominations.
“Casa Rubia and Omar’s creative take on Spanish ingredients epitomized our goals as an incubator,” Trinity Groves co-founder Phil Romano said in a statement.
Flores, who previously worked in the kitchens at Abacus and Driftwood, created unique interpretations of traditional Spanish tapas, charcuteria, and paella at the restaurant. Casa Rubia also offered one of Dallas’ widest selections of Spanish wines, beers, cidras, and sherries. The Trinity Groves restaurant was one of few Spanish-centric spots in town.
The restaurant shuttered over the weekend after facing several months of declining sales and financial strain, as detailed by D Magazine. Despite its notable reputation among local foodies, and a rare four-star review from Dallas Morning News food critic Leslie Brenner, Casa Rubia struggled to keep business thriving.
“A lot of customers mistakenly took us for a Mexican restaurant as Spanish is not big in Texas,” Flores tells D. “I do however think we would have done better in a different neighborhood.”
Casa Rubia is one of several restaurants that has failed to get a foothold in the restaurant incubator. Last year, pop-up concept Kitchen LTO left its spot in Trinity Groves and later relocated to Deep Ellum. The experimental restaurant did well there, made a permanent home, and was reimagined as Junction Craft & Kitchen.
There’s no word on what restaurant will replace Casa Rubia in Trinity Groves, but it seems that Chef Flores will stay busy with his fried chicken concept Whistle Britches. The rustic chicken restaurant in North Dallas is set to open a second location in Plano at The Shops at Willow Bend.