Iconic Austin restaurant may soon serve its last brunch
UPDATE: Since this story was originally published, Threadgill's owner Eddie Wilson confirmed to the Chronicle that he was able to negotiate a new short-term lease with land owner Moton Crockett, allowing the restaurant and music venue to stay open in its current Riverside location for a few more years.
An Austin icon is likely to close after SXSW 2018. According to a story from the Austin Chronicle’s Kevin Curtin, Threadgill’s World Headquarters’ owner Eddie Wilson has been unable to come to a lease agreement with owner Moton Crockett for the prime Riverside property, and the lot is now for sale. Threadgill's North Lamar location is secure.
It’s a bit of an understatement to say that Threadgill’s — and Wilson’s previous business, Armadillo World Headquarters — is a part of Austin’s DNA. Bootlegger Kenneth Threadgill’s Gulf filling station on North Lamar was one of the original joints to bridge the divide between the good ol' boys and the fledgling Austin counter culture. That mantle was assumed by Armadillo, arguably the birthplace of today’s Austin music scene and the epicenter of the cosmic cowboy movement.
Wilson converted the gas station location to a Southern restaurant serving meatloaf, chicken fried steak, and catfish in 1981 after closing Armadillo World Headquarters in 1980. In 1996, he opened a second location on Riverside Drive — Threadgill’s World Headquarters — decorated with memorabilia from Armadillo’s halcyon days. It has remained a popular Austin institution ever since, packing customers in for the Sunday gospel brunch.
But, of course, Austin is a different town now. The explosive growth in Austin has made the corner of Riverside and Barton Springs a very desirable location for redevelopment in Austin's increasingly crowded city core. Wilson told the Chronicle that he understands why his landlord would want to sell and harbors no ill will, but he was hoping to keep that location open for a few more years. Now the future of Threadgill's remains cloudy unless a deal can be made to include the restaurant in any future development project.