Downtown Austin restaurant Second Bar + Kitchen is closed permanently, according to its Instagram account. The post noted that parent company La Corsha Hospitality Group is letting 200 Congress Avenue lease expire, because they weren’t “able to successfully negotiate long-term lease renewal terms,” according to a rep.
Jeff Trigger, the president of La Corsha explains it further: “It was the totality of the agreement [a 10-year-renewal starting in the summer], coupled with the unpredictable micro-economic recovery period from the impact of the virus that drove our final decision.” He also noted that the Congress Avenue restaurant has been affected by the lack of downtown traffic (office workers, convention center attendees, tourists).
Chef David Bull opened the casual New American restaurant, along with cocktail spot Bar Congress and fine dining destination Congress (both of which have since closed), in December 2010. During the pandemic, the restaurant had reopened for dine-in service in May, but then closed temporarily again in July. Eater has reached out for more information; watch this space for updates.
La Corsha is into the idea of opening another location of Second Bar elsewhere, something that has been talked about already, but location is key. “The farther away you operate from major downtown areas, the better the performance of the hospitality venue,” Trigger says.
There are still two other Second Bar locations in Austin: the second in the Domain Northside within the Archer Hotel (which opened in 2016), and the third in the Austin Bergstrom-International Airport (which opened in 2017). Both are remaining open for dine-in and takeout services at this time. Trigger noted that these two locations weren’t as impacted by the pandemic as the Congress Avenue restaurant.
Bull is the regional vice president of food and beverage of La Corsha. Other restaurants under the company’s umbrella include Mattie’s at Green Pastures and the East Austin Hotel. There was also downtown restaurant Boiler Nine, but that closed after nearly four years of operations in 2019.
The Congress Avenue restaurant was found on the street level of residential skyscraper the Austonian. The building also housed a location of Caffe Medici, but that location closed this year as well.
This shuttering also marks yet another shuttered downtown Austin restaurant during the pandemic, including downtown diner Holy Roller, Easy Tiger’s original location, and Irish bar B.D. Riley’s original location.
Update, November 17, 8:50 a.m.: This article, originally published on November 16, has been updated to include comments from a rep of La Corsha and Jeff Trigger.