DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The LBJ Express Project has turned parking lots into construction zones and freeway exits into parking lots. No one knows this more than restaurant owner Jose Chac. “It’s been tough. My business has been going bad,” Chac told a table full of loyal customers.
After 32 years, the owner of Mario & Alberto said goodbye to those customers. Chac is shutting down his beloved restaurant next Friday. “When the construction on LBJ started, it killed all of our business,” he explained. “My business has been down maybe 50 or 60%.”
Tippy Klungpong recently opened her Thai Cafe near I-635 and Preston Road. It’s been a tough six weeks and her restaurant is sorely lacking customers.
She too blames it on the construction. “It’s hurt me very bad. Some days we have no dinner business at all. Some days for lunch we do 10 or 15 couples,” said Klungpong. “That’s not what I expected.”
Not all businesses along LBJ are feeling the construction crunch. The manager at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio says business continues to step in the right direction, despite the fact the studio’s parking lot is a pile of rubble.
Dance studios and medical offices along LBJ continue to draw a steady clientele looking for a specific service.
Restaurants, however, attract customers who prefer convenience and as it stands now, driving through the maze that is LBJ is not convenient. “There’s going to be a little bit of a sting,” admitted Andy Rittler of the LBJ Infrastructure Group. “It depends on what businesses you talk to. Some have seen a downturn, some have seen the same numbers and some have seen an uptick,” Rittler added.
The LBJ Express Project is attempting to make the construction less painful by creating the LBJ Express Market Place. It’s a website that offers merchants along 635 free advertising, while providing their customers with deals and discounts.