Players Makes a Comeback

Iconic Austin burger joint Players will be reborn in Zilker Park

Iconic Austin burger joint Players will be reborn in Zilker Park

Players Campus Austin Closing Sign
Players is making a comeback near Barton Springs. Players/Facebook

Players is making a comeback. The Austin City Council has approved Players Concessions' proposal to operate in the Zilker Park Cafe near Barton Springs, breathing new life into an old University of Texas campus favorite.

Players fueled thousands of students with late-night burgers and beers since opening in 1981. Unfortunately, the burger joint shuttered in November 2014 after UT terminated the restaurant's lease.

Co-owners Carlos Oliveira and Edward Hempe originally had no plans to relocate, but the concession stand near Barton Springs Pool offered a unique opportunity as Oliveira already operates Players Concessions in three public golf courses around Austin.

Players Concessions' bid to take over Zilker Park Cafe — which has been in operation since the 1960s — went to a vote before Austin City Council on Thursday. Based on survey results and a formal evaluation of the proposals, Players was chosen over two other service providers, including Rodriguez Concessions, which had been operating at Zilker Park Cafe for over 30 years. The council approved an initial 48-month contract with Players, which is expected to cost about $558,000.

In addition to fan favorites, the new Players menu will also feature healthier options. "The menu will include items historically associated with the concession, including burgers, snow cones, ice cream, juices, sodas, as well as other drinks and snacks. In addition, Players will provide a selection of healthy menu items as an alternative to standard concession fare at an affordable price," reads city documents outlining the proposal.

No word yet on when Players is scheduled to take over the lease. Once open, Players will be open from 10 am until sunset daily.