East Austin’s the Native — which housed several restaurants — is now permanently closed as it prepares to morph into a putt-putt golf course. Holey Moley will open at 807 East Fourth Street in November 2023.
In addition to offering putt-putt, Holey Moley will serve food and drinks. Featuring 27 holes and a large outdoor space, this will be the first U.S. location entirely designed by the company, as the other two forthcoming locations in Denver and San Francisco took over existing putt-putt courses. The press release promises “super-vibey, multi-sensory experiences and new, iconic pop-culture themes woven into the golf holes”
That means different things for the restaurants and food trucks that were inside the Native. Those included sushi hideaway Toshokan (which was awarded Best Omakase in the 2022 Eater Austin awards), Japanese comfort food spot Tiny Diner, Jamaican food spot Mama A’s, and taco truck La Santa Barbacha. The restaurants were allegedly only given a month’s notice of the changes in May.
Tiny Diner has closed at Native as of June. Chef and owner Domonic Candy tells Eater Austin he plans to continue the concept with more details to come later. “This was very much a surprise for me and to have to close less than a month with no notice has really put us in a bind,” he writes to Eater. “It was just a waste of opportunity. The building had such a historic tie to Austin but now will be owned by an out-of-country company.”
La Santa Barbacha has already moved to a new location on Manor Road as of June 18. Co-owner Rosa de Lima Hernández told Eater via Instagram direct message that they had been looking for a new space for a while to have better parking and a more family-centric neighborhood, and Fleet Coffee’s new Manor Road location, slated to open this summer, was the perfect opportunity.
Mama A’s owner and chef Nia Ashanti is currently offering catering and meal prep services and is looking to open another location, whether it’s through partnering with a business or opening her own. She’s also open to offering her savory patties at local coffee shops, including flavors like spicy beef, spicy chicken, and spinach.
Eater has confirmed that Toshokan and Eastend Tattoos were extended offers to stay in their spaces.
Holey Moley is owned by Funlab, an Australian company that itself is owned by private equity firm TPG Capital. Funlab has eight brands (including putt-putt, escape rooms, and more) and over 40 locations in Australia and New Zealand.
Eater has reached out to the Native, Holey Moley, and Fun Lab for more information.
Native originally opened in 2017 as Native Hostel with its own restaurant, which went through several iterations. As the hostel concept was not exactly in demand during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Native pivoted to a kind of restaurant and business incubator in 2022. Mama A’s opened in February 2022; Toshokan opened in March 2022 with co-partners restauranteur C.K. Chin and chef Saine Wong; La Santa Barbacha relocated into the Native in June 2022 from far south Austin; and Tiny Diner opened in September 2022.
In recent years, there’s been a spate of activity spaces with golf-esque offerings and food/drink in Austin. Mini-golf course and restaurant the Dirdie Birdie opened in November 2022 in the Domain and Spare Birdie Public House opened in January 2023 with a bunch of games and activities including augmented reality golf.
Update, 11:10 a.m.: This article, originally published at 10:20 a.m., has been updated to include Mama A’s current services and future plans.