The downtown location of Lava Cantina has closed for the summer to operate as a private party space, while the owner said he'll make a determination later if he'll reopen the rock and roll-themed Mexican restaurant.

Ian Vaughn said the restaurant at 151 Third St. will be used as a private party space during the slow season. The employees at the restaurant are being offered opportunities to work at the three other Lava Cantina locations in Perkins Rowe, The Colony, Texas and Aurora, Colorado. 

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"We’re not performing at a level we can be proud of, and therefore we want to refocus on our operation in Perkins Rowe, roll out new training initiatives, a new menu, entertainment experiences, etc.," Vaughn said. "Once we can show the level of improvements needed for our business, we’ll make other considerations."

Vaughn, a former Raising Cane's executive, opened the first Lava Cantina in Perkins Rowe in April 2013. Three years later, he purchased three downtown restaurants: Lucy's Retired Surfer Bar, Roux House and Schlittz & Giggles.

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Lucy's was quickly rebranded as Lava Cantina. Vaughn said he would turn Roux House into Repeal 33, a gastropub, selling gourmet hamburgers, slow-smoked meats and high-end cocktails. There was also talk that Schlittz & Giggles would be converted into a location for Texas-based Pinks Pizza.

No changes were made to Roux House. Vaughn said plans to install smokers in the property were shot down, so the switch was never made. Recently, a new liquor permit was posted in the windows of the building and the marquee has been changed to The Register Bar. Schlittz & Giggles has continued to operate under its original name.

In the meantime, the Lava Cantina in the Dallas suburb of The Colony, which opened in 2017, has turned into an 1,800-seat music venue, regularly bringing in national acts such as Snoop Dogg, former NSYNC star Lance Bass and Nelly. 

"While the business has evolved greatly, we don’t want to forget our roots, and therefore this is a healthy reflection stage to get better in the areas that got us started to begin with," Vaughn said. 

Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.