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Clarkesville Institution Corazon at Castle Hill Will Shutter

Regulars mourn the loss of one of Austin's seminal 90's-era restaurants.

Corazon at Castle Hill
Corazon at Castle Hill

The many loyal regulars of longtime Clarksville restaurant Corazon at Castle Hill only have a few months left to dine at the restaurant. After 29 years, the restaurant announced on Facebook they will shutter on April 30th, as first reported by The Statesman. A sale of the building prompted the closure according to CultureMap,. While the concept has yet to be revealed, the new owner intends to operate a restaurant.

Eater spoke with Corazon general manager Philip Lowrie, who says since sharing the news of the closure, he's been moved by the outpouring of memories from longtime customers. "We have a very loyal clientele, who have been coming here for fifteen or twenty years," Lowrie says. "People meet here, get engaged, host rehearsal dinners and fiftieth birthday parties."

When asked what made the restaurant such an institution, Lowrie cited the hospitality of owner Cathe Dailey, and the warmth of the entire staff. "By the time I came on board, we had an incredible crew of loyal regulars." When the restaurant opened in 1986, it was also a standout as a destination that straddled casual and fine dining. "Most of the town was Tex Mex and barbecue, or The Driskill with white tablecloths." Newer regulars from the nearby apartment buildings later embraced Corazon.

Owner Cathe Dailey now spends most of her time in San Miguel de Allende, and Lowrie says it was time for her "to not have to worry." But he also cites Austin's rapid urbanization as an element of the decision to close. "Many of our original regulars, they sold their Clarkesville and Tarrytown houses and now live far south. They still come, but not as much, because they have to fight the traffic." He also suspects that the city's dining boom means it's hard for any restaurant to attract regulars the way Castle Hill once did.

Corazon at Castle Hill opened in 1986 as Castle Hill Cafe, and reopened as more interior-Mexican focused Corazon in 2008. The Chronicle captures the restaurant's long influence on the city's dining scene, including numerous restaurant poll awards from the paper.