Austin classic restaurant and bakery Texas French Bread’s building is still in ruins because of a January fire that severely damaged the bakery, but the owners are looking into the future to see what could be done about the 2900 Rio Grande Street property to keep the restaurant and bakery business going. Co-owners Murph Willcott and Carissa Ries put out requests for proposals to rebuild the property in September, as reported by Towers.
It seems like they’re looking for a mixed-use development project, which would include Texas French Bread. The restaurant shared a statement with Eater via email where:
Willcott reports he is looking to secure a long term ground lease tenant for the site who can bring needed development, construction and financial expertise to the project, saying “We want to see the TFB site built back better than ever - we hope within the context of a project that allows for Texas French Bread to continue operations there for years to come”.
Towers reports that the request floats potential ideas like a hotel, office, or residential building, all of which would include Texas French Bread operating from the ground floor. They’re also looking for someone that would keep the heritage oak tree on the property and be generally respectful to the neighborhood.
Texas French Bread caught on fire the night of January 24 because of a mechanical failure, destroying the building and causing $1.1 million in structural damages and $500,000 in content damages.
After the fire, the bakery started baking in commercial kitchen space Prep ATX to sell baked goods at Texas Farmers Market in the summer. Wilcott also bought the next-door space at 2904 Rio Grande, where he plans on opening a food truck serving coffee, baked goods, and a limited version of the restaurant’s daytime menu for outdoor dining to come later this year.
Texas French Bread was originally just a wholesale business when it opened in 1981. Wilcott’s mother and TFB founder Judy Willcott moved it into the Rio Grande address in 1986. Murph Willcott eventually took over.