At least a dozen Central Austin restaurants and bars have closed since March, continuing trend

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At least 13 local restaurants and bars have shuttered in Central Austin since March, when Community Impact Newspaper published a story about a spate of closings.

Between January 2017 and March 2018, reporters were able to confirm the closure of more than 50 restaurants and bars, most locally owned small businesses.

Since then, at least six more restaurants have closed: Galaxy Cafe‘s Triangle location, downtown Italian spot Winflo Osteria, nine-year Congress Avenue veteran Annies Cafe & Bar, Lucy’s on the Fly in South Austin and—most recently—French-American diner Bonhomie, which announced its closing Monday, and Mexican seafood restaurant Alcomar, which closed Tuesday.

Bar closings include whiskey spot The Blackheart on Rainey Street, Rattle Inn on West Sixth Street and The Sidewinder on Red River Street.

The Red River Cultural District has seen many of its live music venues close recently due to skyrocketing rents. In an attempt to offset this trend, the city of Austin launched a pilot program last May to allow certain venues to extend their outdoor live music curfews in an effort to increase sales. The program was deemed successful and solidified as an ordinance in April.

Apanas Coffee Bar also quietly closed its South Congress location in April, after fewer than two years in business. Owner Aamil Sarfani said he has no plans to reopen or relocate.

Krua Urban Thai recently closed after fewer than six months in business but was quickly purchased by Sap Apisaksiri, owner of local chain Sap’s Fine Thai Cuisine.

Some Austin spots hoping to avoid closing have launched crowdfunding campaigns.

Jeanette Friedman, owner of Phara’s Mediterranean and Christopher’s Casbah on North Loop Boulevard, launched a $50,000 GoFundMe campaign in April. Poor weather over the winter hurt sales at her restaurant, which has a large patio, she wrote on the website.

As of Wednesday, she had raised $6,595—or around 13 percent of her goal.

Zero-waste organic grocery in.gredients on Manor Road launched a similar campaign earlier this year, successfully meeting its goal of $30,000 for “strategic infrastructure investments” in March, according to its IndieGogo campaign.

Nonetheless, in.gredients announced its closure in late April, writing on its Facebook page that “it’s not easy being green.”

Although most of these businesses did not disclose their reasons for closing, some did. Lucy’s on the Fly, Alcomar and The Blackheart all cited lease expirations or negotiations as the cause.

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Emma Freer
Emma Freer began covering Central Austin for Community Impact Newspaper in 2017. Her reporting focuses include employment and economic development. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School in 2017.
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