As is the tradition as we near the end of 2021, Eater asked a trusted group of friends, industry types, and local bloggers for their takes on the past culinary year in Austin. Given the insanity of this year, Eater has adapted the standard survey into one that reflects the new realities of takeout, restaurant shutters, and a shaky industry. All answers will be revealed before the year ends — cut, pasted, (mostly) unedited, and in no particular order. Question number three:
What was 2021’s saddest restaurant closure?
Jane Ko, blogger, A Taste of Koko
G’Raj Mahal, New Fortune, and Cow Tipping Creamery.
Lenny Dewi, @eats_n_noods and Eater contributing writer
Nicolai McCrary, Austin staff writer, The Infatuation, and photographer for Eater Austin
I know they have a second location on Burnet, but the closure of the original Bufalina on Cesar Chavez is a sad one for me. They have plans to reopen somewhere on the East Side, but there was something special and intimate about that old building that will forever leave a small pizza-shaped hole in my heart.
Pat Sharpe, executive editor and food writer for Texas Monthly
Chez Nous was the one that I miss the most. I remember when the charming young Gallic owners opened it in the seventies — it was a real French restaurant, a novelty for Austin, with classic bistro food, and it gave nearby Sixth Street a touch of class — which is very much needed.
Paula Forbes, cookbook writer and critic, and former editor of Eater Austin
I’m sad about Craft Pride, not a restaurant obviously, but for a long time the sanest spot on Rainey Street. And just a joyful celebration of Texas brews. Chez Nous was rough, too —learned a hard lesson in not just talking about visiting old favorites but actually going with that shutter. And New Fortune, where plenty of my pre-pandemic afternoons was spent happily stuffed with dumplings.
Raphael Brion, Texas editor, The Infatuation, and former editor of Eater
The two most notable closures would be: Craft Pride, a serene oasis on Rainey Street, with a super chill backyard that housed a location of Via 313. A carbo-loading refuge on a bad street. And New Fortune, which was one of the few great options for dim sum in Austin. Hectic yet controlled, affordable, and delicious. I miss the carts.
Erin Russell, associate editor of Eater Austin
Prohibition Creamery — a great spot run by good people, plus who doesn’t love booze and ice cream?
Nadia Chaudhury, editor of Eater Austin
It’s been yet another really hard year, bringing about so many restaurant and bar shutters this year. The shuttering of the OG Bufalina hit me hard because the restaurant meant a lot to me slash interviewing owner Steven Dilley was one of my first pieces for Eater Austin in 2014. (Yes, I know it is going to reopen somewhere in East Austin.)
Craft Pride is another one of those special places for me, because of its excellent beer array and chill vibe amid the hectic Rainey Street.
New Fortune was sad because it was such a wonderful spot for bustling dim sum in the city.
Contigo was another major shocker, considering its impact on the local dining scene.