As Dripping Springs grows, residents are beginning to see new businesses open in the area, including an influx of chain, fast-food and fast-casual restaurants.

The background

The population in Dripping Springs increased by 43.4% from 2020 to 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The population nearly doubled from 2016 to 2021, with the median household income increasing by 62%, as previously reported by Community Impact.

This growth has caused the local school district, Dripping Springs ISD, to go for bonds to build new schools as three of the district’s eight campuses are overcapacity. In November 2021, the city entered a development moratorium over a lack of wastewater capacity, which lasted until September 2022, as previously reported by Community Impact.

What’s happening?

Throughout this, businesses have been taking the opportunity to become part of the community, ranging from local mom-and-pop shops to larger national chains offering fast-food favorites.

On May 10, Panda Express opened in the Ledgestone development, across from the Belterra shopping center off Hwy. 290 in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction. The fast food chain, originating in California, brought 50 jobs to Dripping Springs, according to a news release.

"The ongoing growth in the Dripping Springs community showed it would be a wonderful opportunity for expansion within the Texas market for Panda Express," a spokesperson for the company said in an emailed statement. "The opening was inspired by the desire to grant the Dripping Springs residents easier access to enjoy their favorite American Chinese dishes."

Chipotle Mexican Grill, a national chain of fast casual restaurants, joined the same development at the end of 2023, offering bowls and burritos to the community.

Closer to home, Austin-based fast-casual restaurants, such as P. Terry’s, and Mighty Fine Burgers Fries and Shakes, as well as Texas-based chain Mr. Gatti’s Pizza brought locations to the city, all off Hwy. 290.

“Dripping Springs is a growing community that has expressed great interest in having a P. Terry’s in recent years,” P. Terry’s CEO Todd Coerver said in January 2023 regarding the restaurant’s opening. “So, we’re excited to open our first location in the area.”

Mighty Fine Burgers, from Austin-based restaurant group TC4, opened in its first Dripping Springs location in April in the Belterra shopping center. The group had previously opened another restaurant, The League, in the area prior to 2023.

“TC4 has historically selected locations for our restaurants in booming suburbs, and we’re excited to be adding jobs to the area,” TC4 co-founder Tony Ciola said.

Dripping Springs locals of 20 years Michael and Christie Sanders opened an HteaO location in Ledgestone in 2023, offering sweet tea to-go. HteaO is an Amarillo-based chain operating in 14 states and is projected to have 500 locations open by the end of 2026.

In 2024, Dripping Springs will see more chains and drive-thrus join the community, including 7 Brew Coffee and Dutch Bros. Coffee. Austin-based chain Amy’s Ice Creams and Playa Bowls will also join the Ledgestone Development this year.

At least six fast-food and fast-casual restaurants opened in the city in 2023, creating over 100 jobs.

Panda ExpressP. Terry’sMr. Gatti’s PizzaMighty Fine BurgersChipotle Mexican GrillHteaOComing soon

Dutch Bros. Coffee7 Brew CoffeePlaya BowlsAmy’s Ice Creams