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Piece Of North Oak Cliff History Heads To Landfill

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DALLAS (CBS11) – A piece of Oak Cliff history is headed to the landfill.

The old El Corazon de Tejas restaurant was demolished Monday, just weeks after announcing it was closing its doors.

A CVS Pharmacy is coming to the prime piece of Bishop Arts, according to Dallas city officials.

Fans of the area’s historical charm call it a ‘bitter pill’.

“That’s terrible!” exclaimed Gary Burns of Dallas. “There’s some tradition that should be here. But, if you look at the construction that we just drove by, it’s unbelievable… The whole area is under construction.”

The city’s Landmark Commission had begun the process the recognizing the historical significance of the site. But, by then, the demolition permit had already been approved.

“It’s fun to come down here,” says Burns, “there’s a lot to do. But, it’s bad because for those of us that remember what it like… it’s not what it used to be. I think you do lose history with the growth and that’s unfortunate.”

That area’s popularity is also driving up prices. Manuel Ruiz’s auto repair shop now sits in the middle of the Bishop Arts building boom. He wants to stay put, but says many of his regular customers have already been forced out by the rising prices.

“Nobody wanted to be here,” says Ruiz of the days when Oak Cliff was more likely to be called ‘scary’ instead of ‘trendy’. “Now,” he says, “everything is changing.”

He, too, hated to see the long time neighbor across the street reduced to rubble. He enjoyed the restaurant and respects the Cuellar family’s history.

The family founded the El Chico restaurant chain and the building on W. Davis—under one name or another—had been an Oak Cliff staple for decades.

“I think it’s sad,” added Tony Hammontree, of the neighborhood’s loss. “Me and my wife used to go here all the time and we’d meet friends all of the time. It was delicious!”

“This is a neighborhood that had history, this is a neighborhood that was known for its history,” says Burns. “This is a neighborhood that was proud of its history: so you want to keep that pride in your neighborhood as you allow things to grow.”

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