A longtime sweetheart of the Austin dining scene is the latest influential eatery to fall. Contigo, the chef-driven east side restaurant known for its ranch-style cuisine and enchanting patio space, will close permanently at the end of this month.
Co-owner Ben Edgerton announced just days before the Christmas holiday that he, chef Andrew Wiseheart, and managing partner Dana Curley had decided to close Contigo for good.
“After 10 years of serving our community, Andrew, Dana, and I feel it is time for us to let Contigo rest,” Edgerton noted in a social media post from December 18. “December 30 will mark our final service. It has been an incredible ride, and we are overwhelmingly thankful for the support we have received over the years.”
Though the owners gave no specific reason for the closure (and indeed, the restaurant’s parking lot has remained packed with diners in recent days and months), what is clear is that Austin is losing a unique culinary gem in Contigo.
The eatery, which opened in 2011 (before the adjacent Mueller neighborhood was overflowing with potential customers), emphasized supporting the local community as much as highlighting its rotating menu of homey, Texas-inspired game fare. In fact, Contigo often challenged the palates of Austinites during a time when many were still awakening to atypical dining experiences.
From rabbit and an array of sausages to house-cured meats, unforgettable Brussels sprouts and other roasted veggies, one heck of a tasty signature burger, and expertly crafted cocktails, Contigo never failed to impress. Even odd-sounding appetizers like the chicken-skin peanut butter and jelly slider with togarashi became stunning hits in the deft chef-y hands of Contigo's culinary artists.
This isn’t the first closure the Contigo team has experienced. Edgerton and Wiseheart’s garden-focused eatery Gardner, which opened in 2014 on East Sixth Street, closed soon thereafter, giving way to their neighborhood eatery Chicon in 2016, which itself shuttered within two years.
The sister business, Contigo Ranch, a Hill Country lodging and events destination located in Fredericksburg, will remain open.