Several months after Hill Country Barbecue Market opened its Food Park in Downtown Brooklyn, new owners are apparently taking over the lease— and shuttering the food hall, including the new iteration of Hank's Saloon.
“Hill Country Food Park has closed for the season to make way for some big changes," the company said in a statement to Gothamist. "While we have enjoyed stretching our culinary wings at Food Park, we have decided to focus on growing our other Hill Country restaurants and will be handing over the reins to a new operator, who will be curating a collection of exciting new food offerings from some very well-known hospitality brands planned for later this year. Details are being finalized, and more information regarding the new operator as well as our involvement will be coming soon." Eater notes that the Food Park space will give way to another food hall, though it won't be operated by Hill Country.
Hank's revealed the sudden news
Late last year, the beloved dive bar shut down as plans are underway for new development to go up there. Hank's relocated to the nearby food hall in early 2019, where they say they'd been doing really well, "rocking it with packed happy hours and fantastic nights of music."
Lee Greenfeld, former Hank's booker, told Gothamist the news was a surprise, noting, "As the booking agent, I am heartbroken that we are closing so abruptly. I personally have to cancel and try to move over 20 shows and three ongoing residencies. What makes it so hard to take is that everything was going really fantastic; our shows were getting better and better —with some huge ones on the horizon — not to mention our regular bar business and happy hour crowd was growing each week. The community that followed us from the old space was being augmented with a new influx of people who fell in love with the room and our staff. Speaking of our staff, they are all out of jobs, and that includes myself and owner Julie, who I am incredibly proud to have worked so closely with. It’s all just very unfortunate and awful."
Hill Country, an establishment that takes the dry-rub approach of Central Texas's distinctive barbecue spots, opened the Food Park in late 2018 as a nod towards Austin, Texas's culture of outdoor food trucks and stalls surrounding picnic tables. The space is currently home to the likes of a pizza stall called Austino's, Hill Country Chicken, and a Tex-Mex joint, Nickie's. Calls to Hill Country went unanswered, and an answering machine said that the food hall was temporarily closed.
Greenfeld says Hank's will be open through June 15th. "I am really hoping that maybe we can give it another go somewhere else, I really believe we can do it again," Ipcar told Gothamist over email. "I still have a little smidgen of faith left in this city, although it's been rough going these past couple of years as a business owner here."
We'll update this post when we know more.