With 2017 in the rearview mirror, 2018 was shaping up to be a great year. After all, the Gaineses are set to open Magnolia Table in Waco, and the Pioneer Woman is counting down the days until renovations at The Boarding House are complete. The Austin Food + Wine Festival, Hot Luck Fest, and the East Austin Urban Farm Tour are right around the corner. However, a recent shake-up in the Austin food scene has us reminiscing of the times we spent at each establishment.
Here are the two small businesses that are set to close this year.
The first business to close, with the soonest deadline, is Ruby's BBQ. After opening in 1988, Ruby's came onto the scene during the era of Salt Lick and Iron Works BBQ and loyally served the area of West 29th Street for over 30 years. The joint was famous for the brick pit and oak-smoked barbecue with University of Texas students because it was delicious and reasonably priced, especially by college kid standards. The Houston Chronicle first covered the closing, speaking with owner Pat Mares on her decision to close the iconic joint.
Ruby's did things a little differently than other Texas barbecue joints, featuring sides with a Cajun twist and it occupied a place that many barbecue joints didn't at the time: accessibility in downtown Austin.
Mares gave a statement in her own words to the publication and pointed to the cause of the closure.
The Austin scene and market has changed significantly. With the saturation of the restaurant market, high property taxes, increasing meat/food prices, and shortage of labor, it's become difficult to do business as a small operator. I'm very thankful to the Austin community for its amazing support for nearly 30 years, but I'm not 36 any longer and cannot keep working the long hours required in this business.
Ruby's last official day of business is February 17.
Springdale Farms was one of the first farms I really grew to love in Austin, and so this news breaks my heart. On the last day of January, Glenn and Paula Foore released a newsletter stating their future plans.
It is with extremely mixed emotions that we want to share with you the news that we will be starting a new chapter of our lives sometime this summer after tomato season. This past year brought some unepected trials in our personal lives and our focus must turn in another direction. While it was a very difficult decision, we have decided to retire Springdale Farm and move on to the next phase of our lives with a focus on health and family.
It's hard to believe we bought this place 26 years ago on a wing and a prayer. The years have flown by. These past 10 years in particular have been such an amazing journey. The food community has shown us tremendous support, and we have been so honored to be a part of this wonderful group of people. The adventures were grand, to be sure: the fun times at the farm stand and the friends we've made, the fundraisers, the farm tours and school kids of all ages... The documentaries, the photo shoots, the supper clubs, the politicians on the porch, the celebrities on the grounds...
Our daughter's wedding, and any minute, God willing, we'll christen the farmhouse with the birth of our first grand baby. We have loved this farm hard, but we know what we'll miss the most are the warm smiling faces of the people that have come through the gates of the farm and shared this space with us. For that, we will be eternally grateful.
In the meantime, while we figure out what's next for us, we will continue to bring beautiful fresh produce to the farm stand on Wednesdays and Saturdays through June of this year. Additionally, Springdale Handmade, with a life all it's own, will still be available online as well as at other retail locations, and of course the well loved East Austin Urban Farm Tour will once again take place in April - so you haven't seen the last of us.
Austin has such a bright future. Love your neighbor, and Go Local!
With love and gratitude,
Glenn and Paula
The couple purchased the property in 1992 and converted it into a farm in 2009, where it quickly became a staple in the burgeoning farm-to-table scene in Austin.
A beloved stop on the East Austin Urban Farm Tour, it's questionable if it will be involved in one last tour this year as the farm stand will remain open through June 2018. It's a shame to see such dear local businesses close around town, so make sure to visit these Texas gems before their doors shut forever.