Austin is losing one of its kitschiest dining destinations. South Congress staple Snack Bar will close at the end of October, according to a letter posted to the restaurant's website on Tuesday.
"Snack Bar is closing permanently so the new owners and managers of Austin Motel and its Fine Foods Diner can debut their renovations synchronously. In lieu of shuttering suddenly, we are giving the public six weeks notice so that we have time to share our love and appreciation," wrote owners Bethany Andrée and Karl Gilkey in the statement.
Although the Snack Bar team was given the option to continue operations through the end of its lease, Andrée and Gilkey chose to do "the right thing to do for us personally and our Snack Bar family" and close sooner. The plans are to celebrate Snack Bar's seventh anniversary and shutter on Sunday, October 30; details on the party are forthcoming.
In a footnote to the letter, Andrée and Gilkey provided context for the closure. Greenfield Partners LLC, who also owns Hotel San Jose and several other SoCo spots, purchased Austin Motel and its surrounding properties — including Snack Bar — in May. In an effort to revitalize the 78-year-old motel, Greenfield and Austin-based hospitality group Bunkhouse will be conducting renovations and opening a new restaurant.
"Any other corporate buyer would most likely raze everything and build a mixed-use project or high-rise. Thankfully, Greenfield assures us that they have no plans of demolition and the motel's iconic sign, erected in 1938, will remain," reads the Snack Bar statement.
The Austin Motel property also encompasses next-door neighbors The Turquoise Door, Blackmail Boutique, and Heritage Boots; no word on how the purchase will affect the retail spots. The sentiment of preservation does not ring true across South Congress, where several buildings face potential demolition to make way for a new mixed-use development.
Although the future of the Snack Bar space and Austin Motel appears to be in good hands, this marks a new era for the SoCo staple, which has been family-owned since it first opened in 1938. "Getting 'priced out' is unfortunately the evolution of revitalization. It is happening all over Central Austin, including South Congress," said Andrée and Gilkey.
Snack Bar encourages Austinites to come for one last visit: "Savor a glass of wine, a local craft beer, or a pot of tea while pondering life's whims or writing your novel."