Cafe Josie, the longtime New American restaurant in Clarksville, is now closed permanently, as reported by Austin 360. It was located at 1200 West Sixth Street.
Owner Cody Taylor believed that his rent was going to “double” when the lease ended next year, as he told the publication. Cafe Josie’s landlord (who owns the entire plaza) is Larry McGuire, the co-partner behind the restaurant group McGuire Moorman Hospitality. McGuire’s seafood restaurant Clark’s is right next door to Cafe Josie.
Despite “four record-breaking years in a row” in terms of sales, Taylor still needed to ramp up business in anticipation of that rent spike. He wanted to expand with additional services, like lunch and catering, but needed to change and expand the physical restaurant. However, he said that McGuire “was not amenable to expansions of the restaurant’s footprint.”
The likely future hike in rent, plus the fact that the restaurant had temporarily closed in mid-March, along with the rest of the city’s restaurants, in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, meant that the restaurant didn’t have enough business nor sales to stay open.
McGuire wouldn’t comment on Cafe Josie’s plans nor his future plans for the address to Austin 360. McGuire’s company has been recently taking over existing or closed Austin restaurants — Sweetish Hill Bakery, Hut’s Hamburgers, Little Barrel and Brown/August & Marcel Wine Bar — and turning them into new restaurants — Swedish Hill Bakery, the forthcoming Italian restaurant Sammie’s, the forthcoming Neighborhood Sushi.
Cafe Josie opened in 1997 by chef Charles Mayes. Taylor, who worked at the restaurant under Mayes, bought the restaurant in 2013. He brought along executive chef Todd Havers in 2015. The restaurant added all-you-can-eat dinner and brunch experiences in 2015 and 2017. Taylor is still involved with San Marcos restaurant Industry, which opened in 2018.