Dripping Springs restaurants begin transition to takeout service as future operations remain uncertain

A photo of Dripping Springs' Mercer Street.
A number of Dripping Springs dining establishments are implementing new takeaway options as they try to keep sales up during the novel coronavirus outbreak. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

A number of Dripping Springs dining establishments are implementing new takeaway options as they try to keep sales up during the novel coronavirus outbreak. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

Following the news that Austin dining establishments were required to switch to mandatory takeout service to stem transmission of coronavirus, many restaurants in nearby Dripping Springs still have their doors open to customers, but say they are preparing to make the shift themselves.

Vicky Lewis, co-founder of Mazama Coffee Co. in downtown Dripping Springs, said she worries about the future of her establishment.

“I’m very nervous about our ability to stay open and employ our staff,” she said.

Mazama, which employs 20 part-time and three full-time employees, has seen sales decline by around 40% since coronavirus concerns “got real,” Lewis said. The business is looking to reduce labor by at least 30% in order to get through.

A representative from another downtown eatery, Rolling in Thyme & Dough, said he had also seen a reduction in customers of at least 50% recently, despite implementing curbside ordering and ramping up health and safety measures.

“In all honesty, we are expecting [Dripping Springs] to tell us to shut down as basically everywhere else has,” Jeremy Bollom, co-owner of Thyme & Dough said.

However, business owners are working to adjust. Lewis said she is putting measures in place at Mazama that she hopes will allow it to adapt to the current situation.

“Instead of panicking, we are brainstorming,” she said.

Some of the solutions Mazama has or plans to implement in order to boost sales while fewer customers are dining in include online ordering and setting up a mobile espresso cart outside the building so that customers do not have to enter the establishment. Lewis has discussed other potential innovations with staff, including offering local delivery and curbside pickup.

Lewis also said Mazama plans to move exclusively to takeaway service beginning the morning of March 21 in an effort to protect “the safety of [Mazama’s] staff and to do our part to work towards containment of this horrible virus as swiftly as possible so we can get back to normal sooner rather than later.”

Other local-owned Dripping Springs and Driftwood dining establishments that are offering special takeaway options include Homespun Kitchen & Bar, Suds Monkey Brewery, Pieous Pizza, Crepe Crazy, Treaty Oak Distilling and Salt Lick Barbecue, among others.

Belterra Village barbecue establishment The Switch has already transitioned to become takeaway-only, alongside its Central Austin counterpart Stiles Switch, according to co-owner Catherine Stiles.

Stiles said whether her businesses maintain their takeaway services during the current coronavirus scare or shut down temporarily depends on community support.

“It could be more cost-effective to just shut down if we’re losing money by staying open,” Stiles said.

Although Dripping Springs City Council has a meeting tonight to discuss topics relevant to the coronavirus pandemic, the agenda for that meeting currently does not reflect a resolution to close city businesses to dine-in customers. Other business owners, including Lewis, anticipate the move in the near future, however.

“I think Austin is doing the right thing,” Lewis said. “I hope the decision doesn’t put us out of business.”
By Olivia Aldridge

Olivia is the reporter for Community Impact's Southwest Austin edition. She graduated from Presbyterian College with a bachelor's degree in English and creative writing in 2017. Olivia was a reporter and producer at South Carolina Public Radio in Columbia, South Carolina before joining Community Impact in Austin.


Austin and Travis County adopted new guidelines, recommending local residents wear face masks or fabric covering when out in public. (Christopher Neely/Community impact Newspaper)
Austin health officials are tracking 8 clusters of confirmed coronavirus cases

The clusters are groups of coronavirus cases health officials know are related to one another.

A $4.3 billion project to improve I-35 through Central Austin will include a $600 million piece that will be provided by deferring other projects in the area. (Courtesy Texas Department of Transportation)
Local political leaders look to free up $600 million for I-35 by potentially waiting on local projects such as Loop 360, RM 620, US 79 and Parmer Lane

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization is scheduled to vote April 13 on a list of projects to defer in order to fund an I-35 improvement project.

Minerva, captured here, is an eastern screech owl in Northwest Austin who laid five eggs that are expected to hatch sometime in April. (Courtesy Merlin the Owl)
WATCH HERE: Northwest Austin webcam streaming owlet eggs set to hatch in April

A Northwest Austin resident set up a webcam to capture two owls raise their owlets.

Yesenia and Antonio Morales welcomed their fourth child, Luka, on March 31. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Pregnancies won't stop in a pandemic, but growing precautions leave expecting mothers uncertain and anxious

As the coronavirus tightens its grip on Austin and much of the world, inevitable human events such as pregnancy and childbirth are having to adapt in the new, cautious and socially distanced reality.

Coronavirus stories readers might have missed from the Austin area

Here are nine stories Austin-area readers might have missed in our previous coverage.

Gregory Fenves will step down as the president of the University of Texas on June 30, according to a letter he wrote April 7 to the UT community. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
University of Texas President Gregory Fenves to leave for Emory University in Atlanta

University of Texas at Austin President Greg Fenves announced in a letter to the UT community that he will leave the state’s flagship college for Emory University.

The Austin ISD board of trustees met for a virtual board meeting April 6. (Courtesy Austin ISD)
Austin ISD approves new grading policy for coronavirus-impacted spring semester

Austin ISD will temporarily switch to a “pass or incomplete” grading scale for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.

Abbott's order closes all state parks and historical sites effective 5 p.m. April 7. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Gov. Abbott closes state parks, historical sites due to coronavirus concerns

Abbott said the closure is to help prevent large gatherings and strengthen social distancing.

VIDEO: Texas Tribune interview with Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar about the coronavirus's effects on the state economy

At 8 a.m. April 7, The Texas Tribune will host a live interview with Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar, conducted by Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey.

Austin and Travis County adopted new guidelines, recommending local residents wear face masks or fabric covering when out in public. (Christopher Neely/Community impact Newspaper)
Coronavirus update: There are now more than 500 confirmed cases in Travis County, Austin

This post will include updates from Travis County and the city of Austin for the week of April 6, including daily case counts. For local updates from March 30-April 5, please click here.

The Texas Workforce Commission's phone and online systems to accept applications for unemployment benefits have been overwhelmed by hundreds of thousands of Texans who are out of work and looking for assistance. (Design by Shelby Savage/Community Impact Newspaper)
With Texas Workforce Commission overwhelmed by surging unemployment claims, Central Texas residents try to hang on

The Texas Workforce Commission received 1.7 million calls from individuals seeking assistance with unemployment benefits in a 24-hour period on March 26.