Yes, Austin’s dining scene keeps expanding, but with growth inevitably comes loss, and the city has seen its fair share of restaurant shutters this year.
While the full roster of shutters is quite extensive, Eater put together a list of the hardest and saddest closures Austin had to suffer through this year. There were the departures of longtime restaurants from Tex-Mex spot El Gallo to Hill Country icon Hudson’s on the Bend, the loss of the generous Nubian Queen Lola’s Cajun Soul Food, and, relatedly, the shutter of chef’s haven Metier.
Everything below is listed in chronological order. And don’t worry, there are more restaurants to come in the near future.
Share your most-missed Austin restaurants within the comments.
2910 South Congress Avenue, Dawson
Closed: January 2017
The longtime Tex-Mex restaurant, run by the Kennedy family, shut down earlier this year. Abraham and Maria Kennedy opened the restaurant back in 1957, and their son Abel took it over. The shutter cause? High operating costs.
Where to Eat Instead: Habanero Cafe (501 West Oltorf Street, Dawson), Matt’s El Rancho (2613 South Lamar Boulevard, South Austin), or any of these other Tex-Mex restaurants.
Hudson’s on the Bend
3509 Ranch Road 620 North, Hudson Bend
Closed: February 2017
The iconic Hill Country restaurant closed after 32 years of service, even after new owners and renovations. Founder Jeff Blank sold the restaurant to chef Billy Caruso and advanced sommelier Chris McFall, who temporarily closed Hudson’s for sprucing. It reopened to great reviews, but that wasn’t enough to keep the restaurant running.
Where to Eat Instead: Apis Restaurant & Apiary (23526 State Highway 71 West, Spicewood).
Nubian Queen Lola’s Cajun Soul Food
1815 Rosewood Avenue, Central East Austin
Closed: June 2017
Owner Lola Stephens-Bell has a big heart, and it showed with her Cajun soul food restaurant, She kept herself busy by cooking and feeding the homeless regularly. Alas, she left Austin to bring her efforts to Taylor, Texas.
Where to Eat Instead: For charitable dining, My Name Is Joe Coffee Co. (501 Colorado Street, Downtown) employs those in recovery, as well as donates 1.2 percent of its sales to an addiction treatment center's restaurant out in Smithville. For Cajun fare, head to Evangeline Cafe (8106 Brodie Lane, South Austin).
1512 Holly Street, East Cesar Chavez
Closed: September 2017
Another 32-year-old institution closed this year with breakfast taco spot Porfirio’s. The cash-only restaurant was known for cheap and spicy breakfast and lunch tacos spanning the usual fillings from chorizo, eggs, potatoes, sausage, carne guisada, to barbacoa.
Where to Eat Instead: Veracruz All Natural (1704 East Cesar Chavez, East Side), Las Trancas (1210 East Cesar Chavez Street, East Side)
5111 Airport Boulevard, North Loop
Closed: September 2017
One of Austin’s essential Neapolitan pizzerias closed this year after over eight years of slinging pies. No specific reason was given for the shutter.
Where to Eat Instead: Until Home Slice opens its second pizzeria in North Loop, hop down to Unit-D Pizzeria (2406 Manor Road, Cherrywood).
Dog & Duck Pub
2400 Webberville Road, East Austin
Closed: November 2017
Campus favorite Dog & Duck Pub was given a second life in East Austin, but that wasn’t enough to keep it going. The bar closed because of outstanding rent.
Where to Eat Instead: Nosh & Bevvy (8440 Burnet Road, North Shoal Creek)
Cuban Sandwich Cafe
1804 Briarcliff Boulevard, Windsor Park
Closed: November 2017
The underrated Cuban restaurant, known for stellar sandwiches and regional specialties, closed its doors this year. However, owners David and Mary will flip the space into a pizzeria and sandwich shop, Rocco's Pizza and Subs. Let's hope that those Cuban sandwiches will remain.
Where to Eat Instead: Cuba 512 (6800 Westgate Boulevard, South Austin)
4238 Bee Caves Road, Westlake
Closed: December 2017
The pasta shop closed up after making dried and fresh noodles for the past seven months. Austin’s loss is Boston’s gain, though, as owner Matteo Gallizio is moving La Dolda to the Massachusetts capital next year.
Where to Eat Instead: It’s Italian Cucina (1500 South Lamar Boulevard, Zilker)
1805 South First Street, Bouldin
Closed: April 2017
Lenoir’s specialty cooking shop Metier, known for its extensive cookbook collection, closed in the spring. The South First street restaurant held onto the space and turned it into a private event and dining facility.
Where to Shop Instead: For cookware and products, Kettle & Brine (908 West 12th Street, Downtown); for cookbooks, BookPeople (603 North Lamar Boulevard, Downtown)
- Austin's Restaurant Closings of 2017 [EATX]
- All Shutters [EATX]
- All Year in Eater [EATX]