As is the tradition as we near the end of 2022, Eater asked a trusted group of friends, industry types, and local bloggers for their takes on the past culinary year in Austin. All answers will be revealed before the year ends — cut, pasted, (mostly) unedited, and in no particular order. Question number three:
What was 2022’s saddest restaurant closure?
Darcie Duttweiler, freelance writer and Eater contributing writer
It’s a tie. Enoteca Vespaio was one of my favorite still-affordable, sit-down casual bistros, while Russian House was a really fun and festive place to go with friends to sip a ton of different flavored vodkas.
Pat Sharpe, executive editor and food writer for Texas Monthly
I have such fond memories of [the Sixth Street location of] Z’Tejas from years ago. It occupied that sweet spot between the end of old sleepy Austin and the rise of trendy new Austin. In its day it was one of the go-to, hip restaurants in Austin, with a Southwestern-style menu and a fun bar. [Ed note: the restaurant is closing in March 2023.]
Chris Hughes, editor-in-chief, Austin Monthly
Enoteca Vespaio. I have countless memories of eating there over the years. It was always a reliable go-to spot near South Congress.
Jane Ko, blogger, A Taste of Koko
I was very sad about the closing of Contigo [at the tail end of 2021] — I loved walking to Contigo over the years from Mueller and hanging out on the dog-friendly patio.
Lenny Dewi, @eats_n_noods and Eater contributing writer
Chicken Rice Joe. The people that run it were the sweetest. It’s also Song La’s last week in 2022 and whether or not they can reopen next year we don’t know yet.
Erin Russell, associate editor of Eater Austin
Texas French Bread catching on fire in January 2022 is pretty much the worst start to a new year, but I’m relieved they’re (kind of) back now. I miss the burger at 40 North already and the Buddha Bowl, scones, and cookies at the Steeping Room. I am also sad about the impending Nau’s shutter in 2023 — I grew up in Clarksville and have fond memories of toddling over there for a burger and milkshake with my parents.
Nadia Chaudhury, editor of Eater Austin
Luke’s Inside Out had been a go-to of ours from the beginning of our time in Austin, so I’m sad I can’t have that burger anymore.
Another one from the beginning of our time in Austin, La Mexicana Bakery had been a go-to for all things cakes and sweets for us, from birthdays to late-night snacks.
It’s also sad that Baby Greens had to close because owner Sharon Mays couldn’t afford to keep enough employees on staff even though she paid $17 an hour.