Iconic South Austin restaurant Maria’s Taco Xpress is up for sale again. The 2529 South Lamar Boulevard property, complete with its open armed statue, is currently listed on real estate company CBRE’s website. Although the restaurant’s days appear to be numbered, it will remain open until and perhaps after a sale is complete. Fans of the funky cool landmark should probably make a trip to the Tex-Mex restaurant soon to be safe.
It looks like “price, term, timing, and providing the Seller the opportunity to remain in the space for a short lease in order to relocate their business” are on the table as discussion points for a potential buyer. This would mean Maria’s could potentially stay open at least for a little bit before it will move if a sale goes through.
Maria’s general manager Fernando Ezeta confirmed the sale and told Eater that the restaurant’s catering business is doing well, but high taxes, high wages, bad traffic, and a declining regular customer base led to the “perfect storm, multiplied twice.” This, he says, is why Corbalan is looking for a buyer. He cites people selling their houses and/or moving out of the South Lamar neighborhood because they’re being priced out as part of the problem, and that businesses across Austin are struggling with similar problems. “She wants to make sure she can get a really good deal,” Ezeta elaborated.
The listing includes the roughly 2000-square-foot restaurant building and the surrounding generous acre of land. It calls the South Lamar property a “prime asset on one of the ‘hippest streets in Texas.’” Interested buyers will have to submit their offers after signing a confidentiality agreement.
This isn’t the first time Maria’s was up for sale. Citing high property taxes and poor restaurant sales, Corbalan almost sold the property in 2017 to an unnamed buyer. At the time, she negotiated to retain the copyright for the restaurant’s name with designs on reopening elsewhere in the suburbs with a drive-thru. However, all of that fell through. She also said that business increased as her clientele rushed in for one last meal before that potential shutter.
Maria’s opened over 20 years ago as a taco trailer. When a Walgreen’s displaced it in 2005, it moved down the street and eventually upgraded to a restaurant in its current location on South Lamar.