Celebrity chef's downtown restaurant latest victim in Austin's summer of shutters
In what is becoming a sad tradition this summer, another Austin restaurant has decided to fold. On June 24, owner Hakkasan Group told CultureMap that its popular downtown eatery Searsucker will close by the end of the month.
The new American concept opened in June 2013 under the helm of Brian Malarkey, a finalist on Top Chef and a judge on the first season of short-lived ABC cooking competition The Taste. The celebrity chef sold a majority stake in Searsucker and sister concept, Herringbone, in 2014, but he still remained involved in the project until March, when he left to concentrate on his own San Diego-based hospitality group, Puffer Malarkey Restaurants.
“As part of our everyday business practice, we are constantly reviewing and analyzing each of our restaurants,” the group said in a statement to CultureMap. “While we have been very proud of Searsucker Austin, we have made the decision to close the restaurant at the end of June.”
If the cost of maintaining and staffing the 7,000-square-foot space was a factor in the decision to close, Hakkasan isn’t saying. In the statement, a rep only said that the restaurant will continue to focus on its other global culinary and nightlife projects, including several lavish concepts in Las Vegas.
The cavernous Warehouse District space at 415 Colorado St. has seen a revolving cast of concepts since the late ‘90s, most notably Miguel’s La Bodega, Ringers Sports Lounge, and Maria Maria — the Carlos Santana-owner interior Mexican Restaurant with former Fonda San Miguel chef Roberto Santibañez.
Searsucker’s closure is just one of several shutters that have shocked Austin over the last few months, including Philip Speer’s Bonhomie, El Chile Group’s Alcomar, Parkside Projects' Bullfight, cocktail bar Backbeat, and Chicon from the owners of Contigo. At least two of those concepts will be replaced by new projects, with Backbeat turning into Tiki Tatsu-Ya and Chicon being turned over to an unnamed new operator.