Blame it on COVID-19

Beloved Austin burger chain sizzles out of downtown location due to pandemic

Austin burger chain sizzles out of downtown location due to pandemic

James Beard Foundation Smoke Session at The Brewer's Table P. Terry's
P. Terry's is out of its downtown Austin location. Photo by Shelley Neuman

Austin's own P. Terry’s Burger Stand chain has flipped the last burger at its downtown location. Citing the novel coronavirus pandemic — and its effect on downtown business and tourism — the company permanently shut down its location at 515 Congress Ave. on September 18.

“With offices and hotels virtually empty in the downtown area, we have seen a dramatic drop in sales and traffic over the last several months,” Todd Coerver, CEO of P. Terry’s, says in a statement.

The Austin-based company says it has offered all of the employees at the downtown location the opportunity to relocate to another P. Terry’s restaurant. It also says it’s looking for a tenant to sublease the downtown space.

“Unfortunately, the location is no longer financially viable for us, so we have made the difficult decision to close,” says Coerver, who joined as CEO last year.

Despite the downtown closure, P. Terry’s is moving ahead with plans to open a location in Pflugerville and a location in New Braunfels this fall. But the pandemic has pushed the debut of P. Terry’s first location in San Antonio to 2021, the company says. The chain said in January, before the pandemic hit the U.S., that it planned to open an Alamo City outpost this fall at 8539 Fredericksburg Rd.

The chain now operates 18 restaurants in Austin, Georgetown, Lakeway, and San Marcos. In addition, the company has one location of its Taco Ranch concept in Austin; a second location of Taco Ranch, near the University of Texas campus, was converted into a P. Terry’s.

“This setback will not deter us from our growth plan,” Coerver says of shuttering the downtown location.

When Coerver, a former Taco Cabana and Whataburger executive, came aboard at P. Terry’s, he replaced co-founder Patrick Terry as CEO. Coerver is tasked with leading the expansion of the fast-food chain into other Texas markets, including Houston and San Antonio.