If you've driven down Manor Road over the past few days, you may have noticed something amiss.
Flat Top Burger Shop, the gas station turned hamburger joint with its signature bright red awning and picnic benches, is gone. The building has also been repainted light blue to match El Chile across the street. A small sign with the El Chile logo hangs in the back.
But what about the milkshakes? The burgers? And — of course — the French fries?
"As much as we hate to disappoint our customers, they're going to have a taste of the old Flat Top," says owner Carlos Rivero
"Although we were happy with the way [Flat Top] was going, we had issues with the city, and so that was part of the reason [we decided to close]," he said.
In addition to parking, the city took issue with the picnic tables' being to close to the street.
But don't expect the new cantina to be a carbon copy of its sister restaurant just across the road. "We're going to differentiate it [from El Chile]," said Rivero. "We want to do something a little more relaxed, a cantina where you can go hang out." Expect a lounge-like feel, complete with craft cocktails, a small plates menu and a patio where patrons can relax.
Expect a menu with some El Chile staples (Rivero says the salsas, guacamole and queso will stay) alongside new dishes, including tacos. Another thing customers can look forward to seeing on the menu? Hamburgers and fries. "We're definitely going to have burgers," laughs Rivero. The new space will also "Mexicanize" Flat Top's signature fries, adding queso and other options.
El Chile's Bryan Gonzales has been creating a brand new drink menu for the space and testing them out at El Chile, said Rivero, noting, "The cocktail menu is going to be differentiated, a little more crafty."
In addition to being a place where folks can grab a quick bite, the new cantina will serve as a waiting space for El Chile patrons. Rivero says he hopes to have to have the space open sometime in December. "As much as we hate to disappoint our customers, they're going to have a taste of the old Flat Top [at the new space]," says Rivero.
For all you Austinites who live in South Austin, look forward to another big announcement coming soon from the owners. Plans are in the works to bring El Chilito to Manchaca Road.