Story by Melyssa Fairfield
Rest in peace, Noodles & Company. Today the pasta-passionate business has closed all five of its locations in Austin.
Noodles & Co.’s Executive Vice President Paul Strasen says that employees were notified of the closings today, and that salary-based managers are being offered to relocate to other cities or given a severance package option.
“We appreciate those in Austin that like our concept,” Strasen says. “And we hope to be back soon.”
When asked why the stores are closing so suddenly, Strasen said that a press release issued today on the company’s website can explain.
Among the financial information discussed is a quote from Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Reddy. "As we increase our focus on our culinary, marketing and operational efforts, we have also completed a strategic review of our overall real estate portfolio. We anticipate the closure of 16 restaurants during the fourth quarter of 2015, an action which we feel will improve the Company's performance and better position us to grow the brand," Reddy says in the press release.
Here's the situation according to a company spokesperson: “We had difficulty overcoming operational setbacks in the Austin area, despite investing considerable resources, and decided to close our locations there,” the spokesperson says. “The decision to close a restaurant is never easy and is only made after careful consideration of the long-term financial performance of a particular location. “
The five locations in Austin and one in Killeen closed today are among the 16 discussed in the press release, and the spokesperson says the stores closed are “inclusive of the Austin market, several in the Washington D.C. area with the remainder spread throughout the country.”
Multiple employees from three Austin store locations were approached for comment but all say they aren’t allowed to speak to the media at this time.
Noodles & Co. got its start in 1995 with the opening of its first restaurant in Denver, Colo. “with the goal of delivering fresh ingredients and flavors from around the world under one roof – from Pad Thai to Mac & Cheese,” according to the chain’s website. The restaurant’s location in Austin on the corner of Guadalupe and 24th streets made it a prominent food joint in the UT community.
But don’t start panicking yet! If you’re sad to see Noodles & Co. leave and worried about where you’re going to get your starchy fix from now on, we’ve made a list of places in Austin where pasta runs aplenty.
Julie’s Handmade Noodles
This food truck is run by Julie, a chef that strives to bring the authenticity of China to Austin in the form of delicious homemade noodles. Menu items include Beef Noodle Soup, Za Jiang Mein (Noodle w/ Meat Sauce), Tomato & Egg Noodle Soup, Pork Feet Noodle Soup and Chicken Noodle Soup Dumplings.
Julie's Handmade Noodles
2512 Rio Grande St.
Austin, Texas 78705
Mandola’s Italian Market
If you’re looking for some rich and comforting Italian noodles, check out Mandola’s. The extensive menu includes many Italian classics and all the pasta you can imagine, including spaghetti and meatballs, gnocchi, fettuccine alfredo, lasagna and more.
Mandola's Italian Market
4700 W Guadalupe St., Suite 12
Austin, Texas 78751
This Japanese restaurant specializes in creating ingredient-packed bowls of authentic ramen, made up of different types of noodles and scalding hot meat or veggie based broths. Don’t be fooled, these noodles are a stark contrast from the cheaper-than-dirt variety that some college students survive on. Consider getting there early, there’s usually a line!
8557 Research Boulevard #126
Austin, Texas 78758
1234 S. Lamar Boulevard
Austin, Texas 78704
Pasta & Co.
If what you’re craving is just a big batch of fresh, locally made pasta, look no further than Pasta & Co. This Italian deli and fresh pasta market offers pasta by the pound and a variety of stuffed raviolis and sauces. The name even sounds familiar to Noodles & Co. if you’re feeling sentimental.
Pasta & Co.
3502 Kerbey Lane
Austin, Texas 78731
Thai-based restaurant Madam Mam’s is a staple on The Drag, offering a wide variety of Asian cuisine and of course, a ton of noodle dishes. The menu offers Pad Thai, Pad Sea-Ew and over 15 types of noodle soup that will kick your pasta craving to the curb. Madam Mam’s has one location on Guadalupe Street and two others in Austin.
Madam Mam's Thai Cuisine
2514 Guadalupe Street
Austin, Texas 78705
The short-notice closing of Austin’s Noodle & Co. may come as a shocking surprise, but you can be sure to find oodles of noodles at these and many more local restaurants to keep your pasta cravings satisfied.