Heartbreak at Castle Hill

More details emerge about closing of downtown Austin dining institution

Details emerge about closing of downtown Austin dining institution

Corazón at Castle Hill_restuarant_food
Corazón at Castle Hill will close on April 30. Corazón at Castle Hill/Facebook
 Corazón at Castle Hill_restaurant_interior
The new owners plan to operate a restaurant in the space.  Corazón at Castle Hill/Facebook
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The restaurant has served Austin for 29 years. Corazón at Castle Hill/Facebook
Corazón at Castle Hill_restuarant_food
 Corazón at Castle Hill_restaurant_interior
Corazón at Castle Hill_restuarant_exterior

Austin is losing an old dining favorite. Corazón at Castle Hill's 29-year run will come to an end on April 30, when the doors of the restaurant close for good.

On Tuesday, Austin 360 reported that an email had been sent to patrons alerting them to the closing date. "We will miss serving you and inviting you into our 'home,' for home is where the heart is," read the email and a corresponding Facebook post from the owners. "It has been a wonderful 29 years, with many fond and lasting memories."

Manager Philip Lowrie tells CultureMap that the restaurant and property have been sold to an outside party. Although he can't speak to the details of the deal, Lowrie says that the new owner plans to continue operating the space as a restaurant. The building (which has existed in some form since the 1800s), will need renovations. Lowrie says that the new owner does not wish to make plans public at this time. CultureMap's attempts to reach the new owner have not been returned.

Castle Hill began its culinary adventure in 1986. With a focus on Southwestern dishes, owners Cathe and David Dailey opened the restaurant known as Castle Hill Cafe. The food and atmosphere garnered lots of positive attention, culminating in its recognition as one of the forefathers of Austin's modern dining scene. In 2008, the restaurant received a facelift and evolved into the Corazón at Castle Hill that we know and love today with the help of Chef Michael Taddeo.

Lowrie says that Austin's current fine dining obsession doesn't leave a lot of room for places like Corazón, despite its 29-year legacy. "It's sad, but sometimes it's just time for a restaurant to fade out and retire. Things run their course, they don't just run forever," says Lowrie.

"With the change in demographics and change in trends, I don't know that what we are — which is a destination restaurant that focuses on food and an intimate environment — would meet the demands."

From first dates to family outings to anniversary dinners to engagements, Corazón has been a part of many Austinites' lives for the past three decades. "We've had a lot of amazing guests, and I know that the staff will miss them and miss being a part of that," says Lowrie. 

"There's a tender sadness to it," Lowrie explains, but he's looking forward to a few last meals with regulars, and new faces, too. "That's what's really neat. It's like having the funeral party before the funeral."

Corazón at Castle Hill will close at the end of dinner service on Friday, April 30.