Sad Sayonara

Longtime downtown Austin sushi lounge closes permanently as high-rise moves in

Longtime downtown Austin sushi lounge closes as high-rise moves in

Maiko Sushi Lounge Austin
Maiko closes in two weeks. Maiko Sushi Lounge/Facebook

In news that will no doubt have longtime Austinites yearning for those big-fish-in-a-small-pond days of yore, a favorite downtown sushi spot has announced it will close at the end of this month to make way for one of the city’s tallest new high-rises.

Maiko Sushi Lounge, the popular East-meets-West sushi fusion joint that opened in 2005 at 311 W. Sixth St. and quickly became a downtown foodie hot spot, will close up shop October 27, a company rep tells CultureMap.

“I’m sad to announce that after 15-plus years, Maiko Sushi will officially close their doors on October 27th. So get your last fill of sake mac and cheese, maki rolls, yaki udon, or poke bowl. Happy hour, dine-in, and takeout services are available [during] regular hours,” says Larina Chen-Mehta, whose parents own Maiko.

The closing, Chen-Mehta confirms, is brought on by the development of a 60-story BBVA USA apartment and office tower, construction of which includes demolishing the nearly 100-year-old building that houses Maiko, thereby displacing the beloved eatery.

Chen-Mehta says she and her family had been “hoping they would be building retail in the new high-rise, but that is not the case,” and says there are no current plans to reopen Maiko in a new location, though Austinites can always hold out hope.

In its heyday, Maiko was nightly abuzz with local sushi lovers and happy hour devotees, many of them treating out-of-town visitors to the vibrant, fast-paced scene and exquisite and extensive menu of sushi specialties and fusion fare. (Anyone else get addicted to those tuna avocado nachos and Texas Monster rolls with tequila lime sauce?) 

Maiko’s closure is one in a long line of well-loved local eateries that have shuttered (Las Manitas, Frank & Angie’s, Hut’s Hamburgers) to make way for a growing and reshaping Austin, though many locals wonder if that can be considered “progress.”

Local sushi lovers aren’t taking the closing news terribly well, with dozens of Maiko fans commenting and sharing their sadness on the restaurant’s Facebook page, and one poster even noting “it’s the only restaurant I can count on being great every time.”

Maiko Sushi will be open for the next two weeks, so roll on in while you still can. Check the restaurant’s website for any updates.