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 Central Austin edition. A graduate of Presbyterian College in upstate South Carolina, Olivia was a reporter and producer at South Carolina Public Radio before joining Community Impact in Austin.


The Office of Police Oversight released its first comprehensive report detailing its operations though 2019 and 2020 this June. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Office of Police Oversight report finds complaints against Austin police officers went up, but discipline fell in 2020

The new report centers on the office's three main functions, including tracking APD officer discipline, reviewing the city's police policies, and engaging with Austin residents.

Dreamland adding a disc golf course to its Dripping Springs outdoor entertainment and arts offerings in June. (Courtesy Dreamland)
Dripping Springs and Driftwood business news: Dreamland gets disc golf, new dog grooming business gets closer to opening and more

The new disc golf course at the outdoor entertainment venue sits on 42 acres and is free to play through June.

Volunteers of Austin Vaccine Angels gathered after becoming fully vaccinated. (Courtesy Jodi Holzband)
Grassroots groups aimed at vaccine outreach look toward the future

For the past five months, grassroots volunteer groups have been working to connect thousands of Central Texans to COVID-19 vaccines.

Photo of a woman and girl walking the trail with the Austin skyline behind them
Travis County commits to electrify fleet, doubles down on climate goals

Commissioners directed staff this week to develop a plan to fully electrify Travis County's fleet of vehicles, a leading source of greenhouse gas emissions for the county.

The Bloomhouse—an 1,100-square-foot home in the hills of West Austin—was built in the 1970s by University of Texas architecture students for fellow student Dalton Bloom. It was featured in the Austin Weird Homes Tour of 2020. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin Weird Homes Tour ends; Z’Tejas to close Arboretum restaurant and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Project Connect's proposed Orange Line will run from Tech Ridge, through downtown Austin and to Slaughter Lane. (Rendering courtesy Project Connect)
Project Connect Orange Line design reveals proposed locations for rail stations in North, South Austin

The latest Orange Line design shows potential elevated rail line over I-35, as well as options for the Drag.

Photo of a weird home
Austin's Weird Homes Tour says goodbye—for now

The tour's founders say they are open to a new local operator taking over the event.

The former hotel off I-35 had most recently been used as a COVID-19 homeless Protection Lodge. (Courtesy City of Austin)
East Cesar Chavez encampment residents move into former South Austin hotel

Through Austin's HEAL initiative, residents of an encampment near East Austin's Terrazas Branch Libarary were relocated to a South Austin shelter before that camp is cleared away.

The regional blood bank appealed for further donations in the wake of the June 12 shooting in downtown Austin. (Courtesy We Are Blood)
We Are Blood appeals for blood donations following weekend shooting in downtown Austin

The Central Texas nonprofit also said its blood supply remains depleted due to decreased donations through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo of a man holding robotic equipment
Tesla teams up with Austin Community College for manufacturing training and hiring program

The Tesla START program will hire and train ACC students to work with robotics and other advanced manufacturing equipment.

Austin City Council's Housing and Planning Committee met virtually June 15. (Screenshot via City of Austin)
Austin City Council members, city Realtors talk housing market increases and affordability

The median sale price of Austin homes surged past $500,000 through the first five months of 2021.

Izzy  is one of the 20 dogs in need of an emergency foster home. (Courtesy Austin Pets Alive)
Austin Pets Alive seeks emergency foster homes for dogs recovering from distemper

The Bastrop County Animal Shelter and Austin Pets Alive are seeking homes within the next 48 hours for 20 dogs facing euthanasia.