Lekka Cafe & Gifts on Preston Road in Far North Dallas — an “oasis” for drinking and dining, as co-owner Lynne Kirshenbaum calls it — closed in late February.
The lease was up and the owner wants to sell the building, Kirshenbaum says. Unlike some owners who’ve blamed recent restaurant closures on sharp increases in rent, Kirshenbaum says lease prices weren’t the issue.
The Kirshenbaums would have had to buy the building to keep the music and patio drinking going.
“There was no way I could afford to buy the building for what she wanted,” Kirshenbaum says.
Lekka joins a list of high-profile restaurants that have closed since early 2023. Many are neighborhood restaurants: Homewood near Highland Park; RM 12:20 Bistro in Lake Highlands; Postino Wine Cafe in Deep Ellum; Fish & Fizz in Richardson; and The Original Mexican Eats Cafe in Fort Worth.
Veritas Wine Room and Blue Goose Cantina, both in East Dallas, are expected to close this month.
What’s lost at Lekka
Lynne Kirshenbaum and her husband, Gary Kirshenbaum, emigrated from South Africa in 1994. They opened Dallas cafe Obzeet, which had a lush patio and blues music. Obzeet was a jovial spot for parties, baby showers and the like until it closed in 2012. Lekka had a similar vibe, because the Kirshenbaums’ restaurants are bistros where customers would stay for a while and listen to music, a cocktail in hand. She can’t count the graduation parties and wedding receptions that happened over more than a decade.
“It was party central,” she says.
The building now sits empty, with a vacant, fenced-in patio. Lynne added the fence — and fountains, plants and twinkle lights — in 2011 when Lekka opened, trying to cover up its former life as a car repair shop.
Lekka had a gift shop that sold eclectic trinkets from all over the world. Lynne sold that portion of the business in 2018 when her sister was sick in South Africa.
Lekka’s menu included shareable appetizers that paired well with wine or cocktails, like bruschetta, warm artichoke dip and a cheese board. The most popular dish was The Blue, a salad with candied pecans, Granny Smith apples, blue cheese crumbles, cranberries and a maple vinaigrette. Sandwiches like the Texas Yankee Club — smoked brisket, cheddar, pastrami, Swiss and Russian dressing — showed the Kirshenbaums’ love for their new home.
When asked how she’s feeling, closing a restaurant that was a meet-up spot for many, Lynne says, “I’m numb.”
She says Lekka was an “amazing business” that she ran while raising a family.
“It’s a bittersweet feeling,” she says of the closure.
The Kirshenbaums say they’re cautiously looking for a new spot to open a patio restaurant. There’s no news to share on a potential Lekka 2.0 yet.
The family will continue to operate a pub near Preston and Frankford roads in Far North Dallas called The Irishman.
Lekka was at 17606 Preston Road B, Dallas. It closed after service on Feb. 19, 2023.