West Dallas venue the Foundry closes despite appealing outdoor setting

A West Dallas institution has closed: The Foundry, formerly known as The Foundry/Chicken Scratch, closed on July 31, which they divulged via social media (vs. the preferred method, IE telling CultureMap).

"Farewell neighbors," their post said, declaring that "the amazing memories" would last forever and expressing appreciation to their customers.

This is not the first time The Foundry had closed.

It originally opened in 2011 by the same team who owned Smoke and BarBelmont, also in West Dallas. They visioned an urban, kid-friendly oasis worthy of hipster Oak Cliff in the style of an "Austin-style beer garden" with live music and more than 50 local and international brews, on a property formerly occupied by Jack's Backyard.

It made CultureMap's list of underrated music venues, which cited the joys of gravel under your feet, picnic tables galore, a long list of beers, and plenty of diversity on stage – from electronic and avant-garde duos to indie-rock acts from Austin.

Its low-pressure vibe got it on CultureMap's 2016 list of great places for a first date, and it was also a drop-in in 2020 for then-Presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden.

West Dallas has become one of the top newly-gentrifying neighborhoods in Dallas, with scores of apartments, restaurants, and other businesses opening in recent years.

But the Foundry closed in May, a casualty of COVID-19 — odd, given the fact that its indoor/outdoor profile is the direction many restaurants and bars have gone following the pandemic.

It was reopened in late summer 2021 by Shane Spillers, owner of Eno's Pizza and fervent former Foundry customer, who said he loved the place and wanted to make sure it kept going for the neighborhood.

"I live a few blocks away and I've always enjoyed the space ever since it opened," he said. "It's an amazing space for gatherings of friends and family that has served the needs of the community in such an amazing way. I hated to see it go, and to have the opportunity to come in and resurrect it is a huge honor."

He and his team from Eno's also updated the menu, still focused on fried chicken but with plans to add breakfast, and possibly expand with more restaurants to share the courtyard.

"We want to bring the Foundry back to life with the bar, food, live music programming, and make the space available is most important thing," he said. Spillers was unavailable for comment.