Austin fast-casual Tex-Mex mini-chain El Chilito is closing its East Austin location. The 1627 East Seventh Street restaurant, which falls under the El Chile Group umbrella, will shutter starting at 3 p.m. today, Friday, January 15.
The location had to close because of “prolonged lack of commuter traffic, downtown business, and business lunch catering” due to COVID-19 pandemic, explains El Chile Group chief operating officer Orlando Sanchez, in a press release. “It is just no longer viable to keep the doors open.”
Last summer, Alma Alcocer, who is part of the El Chile Group team and the executive chef of Bouldin Creek Tex-Mex restaurant El Alma, told Eater that the company had to individually adjust the services for each of the El Chilito services because of the pandemic. “It’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all strategy,” she said. “Even within the same brand, the South Austin El Chilito is facing a totally different set of challenges than our East Seventh Street location.”
This specific location had opened back in 2015. El Chilito’s other two locations on Manor and Menchaca roads remain open for dine-in patio, takeout, and delivery services. Likewise, the restaurant company’s other two restaurants — South Austin Tex-Mex restaurant El Alma and Cherrywood casual Tex-Mex cafe El Chile — are open for dine-in, takeout, and delivery services, plus El Alma is offering a subscription meal kit service.
This isn’t El Chile Group’s first shutter related to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The company closed Peruvian restaurant Yuyo in Cherrywood, which was run by chef and James Beard Award semifinalist Maribel Rivero. Unrelatedly, the group closed the Burnet Road location of El Chilito in 2018
- All Coverage of El Chilito [EATX]