Another downtown Austin favorite is shuttering due to COVID-19. Dai Due Taqueria, the taco-driven little sibling of local butchery and eatery Dai Due, has permanently closed its location within the Fareground food hall at 111 Congress Ave., citing insurmountable obstacles associated with the pandemic.
According to a statement from Dai Due Taqueria co-owners Tamara Mayfield and James Beard Award finalist chef Jesse Griffiths, the decision came after months of the eatery remaining closed because of COVID-19: “After much deliberation and due to COVID-19 hardships, Dai Due Taqueria is permanently closed. We are grateful to all who supported us on the new endeavor.”
“As with many other independent concepts, we were hit pretty hard and decided to focus our efforts on the original location,” Griffiths adds. “Most Fareground businesses weren't operating at the start of the pandemic, so we weren't open, but we officially terminated the relationship in September.”
Griffiths says there are no plans to revisit the taqueria concept in the future.
Dai Due Taqueria, one of six local food vendors anchoring the food hall, originally closed its doors in mid-March because of coronavirus concerns.
“Out of an abundance of caution,” Griffiths says, “we opted to stop all food service at the taqueria and we moved some staff to Dai Due on Manor Road, where we could safely serve guests through our takeout window.”
To pay homage to Dai Due Taqueria, Griffiths says the flagship on Manor Road will offer a “Taqueria Special” on Tuesdays that will feature tacos, tortas, and flautas, with nixtamalized corn tortillas from nearby Nixta Taqueria.
Dai Due Taqueria’s March closing corresponded with an announcement from Fareground that the marketplace would close temporarily. Currently, of the local vendors located within Fareground — Contigo, Henbit, Italic, TLV, and Dai Due Taqueria — only Israeli street-food eatery TLV remains open for limited service.
In August, Ni-Kome, which operated the stall next to Dai Due, also closed its Fareground location, citing the economic impact of the pandemic.
Fareground, which opened in January 2018, aims to provide a curated open-air, community-driven space for the best of Austin culinary offerings, a goal that has been upended, at least temporarily, thanks to COVID-19 restrictions and safety concerns.
Fareground’s most recent social media post, from March 17, stated: “In light of the national health emergency, we agree that the best way to truly protect our team and community is to support the strictest recommendations by the CDC and our city.”
As Austin restaurants continue to confront the complications of operating during a pandemic, Griffiths says customer support remains paramount.
“The Manor Road shop is still offering takeout, dining on the patio, and butcher-shop items,” he says. “The patio has never looked nicer, with all the grapevines and other plants providing some nice shade, and the weather has been great.”