El Gallo, the longtime, family-run Tex-Mex restaurant on South Congress, is shutting down, as reported by Austin 360. Its last day of service will be held on Sunday, January 29.
Abraham and Maria Kennedy opened the restaurant in 1957. Their son Abel currently runs the restaurant. Maria passed away in the spring of 2015. The family decided to close El Gallo because of very high operating costs:
Management cites increase in property taxes, bills and the cost of doing business as reasons for the shutter. General manager Sandra Madrid, who has worked for the restaurant off and on since she was a teenager, says the restaurant’s property taxes have rocketed from $25,000 to $145,000 over the years. The Kennedys have responded with only one price hike in the last fives years (raising prices less than 50 cents per dish).
Rather than increase prices to the point where guests wouldn't be able to afford the delicious Tex-Mex, the Kennedys decided to close up instead. They do still own the land where El Gallo is found, but they're not selling the property.
Similarly, just a street over, Mexican restaurant La Feria shut down its South Lamar location after running for 17 years, but moved into Jollyville. East 7th Street's classic/longtime spot El Azteca wrapped things up last fall after serving the East Side for 53 years.
Update, February 10: KXAN reported that the landlords of the now-shuttered El Gallo are suing the owners for alleged outstanding rent and property taxes, totaling over $150,000.