By Brian Bearden, TSB Contributor
The smoke has been rising in the feud between the City of McKinney and Hank’s Texas Grill for a while.
Hank’s, known for serving up fried pickles, smoked barbecue, beer and live music, is in a fight to stay open. Hank’s asked a visiting judge for and received an unusual restraining order against the city.
Under the order, code inspectors, fire department officials and the police can’t go inside Hank’s unless there is an emergency or an invitation. No one recalls a time when the city was banned from entering a local business.
Ron Reynolds’ live music venue at U.S. 75 and White Avenue opened in 2003 and bills itself as the place “Where the Big Dogs Play.” Beer, bikes and big-name country music on the weekend nights draws a crowd to Hank’s.
Bri Bagwell will be on stage Thursday night, and the Bellamy Brothers are in town on Friday. In September, Hank’s will also bring in Whiskey Myers, Tyler Rogers, Bart Crow, George Ducas, Maylee Thomas, Chris Knight, Sean Franks, Zane Williams and Mark Chesnutt.
The fight moves to the 366th Judicial District Court of Collin County in McKinney in two weeks.
City officials are not talking, but they are suing Hank’s Texas Grill. The city has also been in another code violation tussle this year with a local music venue: Dawgs ‘n Hawgs Club.
What sent this to court and brought on the restraining order? The city tagged Hank’s with about 80 code violations in mid-June, according to the owner. Last month, Hank’s was given a short leash in a letter to make repairs and get the restaurant, bar and music venue up to city code.
What’s the most visible violation? The big Texas flag on the wall is out of sync with “applicable interior finish requirements.” Other violations include “fire hazards” such as the posters and animals mounted on the walls. Hank’s will also have to deal with violations for grease traps, fire safety exits, alarms and emergency lighting.
Why a restraining order? Reynolds accuses the city of harassing his customers and costing him money.
The city countered the restraining order with a suit and stands ready to shut down Hank’s until it meets the code.
A big crowd at Hank’s is expected tonight for open mic night and because the Cowboys-Giants game will be on TV for the NFL opener.
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