Seeds of Change

New owners plant seeds to save East Austin's classic 24-hour cafe

New owners plant seeds to save East Austin's classic 24-hour cafe

Star Seeds Austin
Star Seeds Cafe will soon reopen as Stars Cafe. Star Seeds Cafe/Facebook

From bell bottoms to ripped jeans to JNCOs, Star Seeds Cafe has seen a lot of fashion trends come and go but always kept its status as the unofficial hub for Austin counterculture. Now the iconic diner is gearing up for a new chapter under a new owner — and a new name.

Shannon Sedwick and Michael Shelton, the co-owners or Esther’s Follies, have purchased Star Seeds from Ellis Winstanley, who purchased the greasy spoon in 2001 while still in college. The pair had previously worked with Winstanley in purchasing The Tavern in February 2018.

Sedwick said she and Shelton have been longtime customers of Star Seeds. The new name, Stars Cafe, will pay homage to its first incarnation.

“The diner was originally called Stars Cafe, when it was part of a motel called Stars Inn,” she said in a statement. “So we thought to bring it back to its former name, from the time when we first used to hang out in the early morning hours drinking coffee while we were in school at UT in the ‘70s.”

Sedwick said the pair will be spiffing up the interior over the next few weeks, but the aesthetic will remain largely the same and the hours will not change. Fans also need not worry about radical menu changes, although Tavern chef Johnny Romo will be introducing a few new dishes.

The sale is welcome news in the Austin dining scene, which has seen a series of bombshell shutters in 2018 and 2019. Among the losses have been some of the Capital City’s most well-known names, including Threadgill’s, Hut’s Hamburgers, El Patio, and The Frisco.

“With all the great restaurants of Austin's past continuing to close due to high property taxes and spiraling costs, we are glad to keep some special places alive for Austinites to enjoy, and keep the weirdness going for the next generation,” Sedwick said.