Longtime Austin cafe Thunderbird Coffee is closing in the Cherrywood neighborhood later this year. Its last day of service at 2200 Manor Road will be on Sunday, December 17.
The coffee shop is shuttering because of the “changing business landscape,” according to the release shared by founder and owner Ryan McElroy. He cites the pandemic has having a big impact and that “sadly, the business has never really bounced back and now is in a position where it can’t sustainably move forward.”
The longer-lead time is because it’ll give the team time to find other jobs as well as let people visit the coffee shop one last time, according to the release.
Thunderbird was known as one of the first third-wave coffee shops (focusing on high-quality products) in Austin. It serves coffee and espresso drinks made using beans from Austin-based roasters Wild Gift, as well as Quack’s pastries, breakfast tacos, sandwiches, and teas.
McElroy opened Thunderbird Coffee on Manor in 2006, followed by a location in Brentwood at West Koenig Lane. Then he got into the biscuit sandwich game with co-partner and chef Brian Batch with Bird Bird Biscuit in the same neighborhood in 2018. And then he opened a pizzeria, Love Supreme, with his brotherWade McElroy in 2021 in the Blackland neighborhood. And lastly, he turned that second location of Thunderbird on West Koenig into a second location of Bird Bird in 2021.
McElroy is holding onto the address but isn’t sure what he will do with it. “We have a few ideas, but nothing fleshed out,” he shares in the release. KXAN reports that he filed a rezoning request for the address in order to be able to sell alcohol. He had told the news channel that he is looking into opening a “public house type of vibe” place, which he further explains to Eater as “an approachably-priced, neighborhood pub with a lovely garden and a food trailer onsite.” He also notes that it’s depending on whether the rezoning request is approved though.
Update, October 30, 11:55 a.m.: This article, originally published on October 6, has been updated to include McElroy’s potential plans for the Thunderbird space.