In 2013, late Austin Chronicle food editor Virginia B. Wood penned an infamously scathing blind item restaurant review, ending it by saying she didn’t expect the eatery to be around long. Six years later, the concept — Austin Ale House — appears to have finally closed.
The closure, as first reported by the Austin Business Journal, seems to have happened in mid-August. Although CultureMap was unable to directly confirm the shutter with the owners, the doors to the property were locked during business hours on August 16, and all social media accounts have been deleted.
Thomas Elliott and Spoon Singh, the proprietors of the popular Venice Ale House in Venice Beach, California, opened the Austin outpost in March 2013. It was one of a wave of gastropubs advertising farm-to-table fare and a large local craft beer selection, then a novelty in Austin.
Although its opening attracted the attention of New York magazine’s Grub Street blog, it received far less attention by Austin’s local press — that is until Wood’s assessment. Unnamed in the review, Austin Ale House was nonetheless quickly identified by the unique menu details (tacos, risotto, and poke) mentioned in the piece.
Wood slammed everything from the “squiggly sauce paintings on every plate” to the slow service. “The most positive thing I could say about any of the food was that it could prevent starvation,” she wrote.
The Yelp reviews were considerably kinder, and the restaurant enjoyed a middling three-and-a-half star rating at the time of closure. And many of Austin’s more acclaimed concepts failed to attain Austin Ale House’s longevity.
It’s unclear if there are any future plans for the prime downtown space. Although it’s unknown whether the owners of Venice Ale House are still involved in the project, CultureMap has reached out for a statement.