Another year has gone by and the basic makeup of the beloved Guadalupe Street, dubbed “the Drag,” has changed. From devastating closings to highly anticipated openings, below is a list of the most noticeable changes on the university’s cultural hub.
Story by Andrea Cos
Illustrations by Maddy Kaniewski
Restaurant Closings on the Drag
After twenty-two years of sitting on the corner of 24th and Guadalupe Street, Kismet Café left the West Campus food scene last fall, the weekend before Thanksgiving. They did not close permanently, relocating instead to the Hancock Center as a way to accommodate their growing business. This long-time student favorite served Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine to a loyal clientele.
As a newcomer to the campus food scene, this Philadelphia-based restaurant was located inside the Space 24 Twenty courtyard on the Drag. The pizzeria’s last day was Tuesday, Jan. 31. It served gourmet pizza pies, calzones, homemade cocktails, and creative desserts. A particularly popular dish was the Nutella pizza. Even though the pizzeria was relatively new to campus, it quickly became a hidden gem by innovative pizza pies to hungry college students and adventurous families alike.
Big Bite was a West Campus favorite, serving deliciously greasy late-night dishes. It was known for its unique stuffed sandwiches and late hours of operation, making it a regular destination for sleep-deprived students and the after-party muncher. The almost 10-year-old establishment closed abruptly this month, leading to widespread dismay. The owner of Big Bite told the Daily Texan that American Campus declined to re-lease the restaurant’s location on 24th and Guadalupe Street after the lease expired in December.
After almost twenty years of serving authentic Thai cuisine on the intersection of Guadalupe and Dean Keeton, Madam Mam’s is relocating its establishment in order to accommodate more clients and cater specifically to college students. Their new space will be located on 26th and Nueces Street, just a short walk north from their current location. Madam Mam’s will feature an outdoor patio, craft drinks, and flat screen TVs, according to a report released by the Daily Texan. Even though their new location is not far from where they’re currently situated, the upgrade will change the feel of the original space by leaving behind nearly two decades of accumulated memories and experiences in the “hole-in-the-wall” campus favorite.
Restaurant Openings on the Drag
After almost a year of anticipation, In-N-Out, the famous Californian burger franchise, opened on the Drag this past December. This is the sixth location that has opened in Austin, marking the expansion of the burger-chain behemoth. This establishment took over the place where Burger King used to reside, right next to Halal Bros and across the street from Torchy’s Tacos. Although they specialize in serving fast food fare, In-N-Out stands out for preparing their food with locally grown and fresh ingredients instead of the frozen and processed variety.
Four Brothers is a family-run food truck that serves authentic Venezuelan food. They currently have three operating food trucks located around town and just recently moved one to Space 24 Twenty this December. They specialize in serving a variety of savory arepas, which are stuffed corn cakes served with avocado sauce.
Pinch is a new Asian fusion food truck categorized as an urban food lab. It was created by two UT alumni, Uzhuo Liu and Phoebe Cheng. They explained that the idea behind their urban food lab is to create perfect dishes consistently. By measuring all the ingredients and components of a dish with exact precision (just like scientists in a lab), they have come up with the perfect “formula” for the creation of their food. Their menu is limited to only three main entrée options and their specialty is fried chicken. Their goal is to serve the community quality Asian food with a scientific twist.
The famous Mexican-inspired fast-food chain opened its doors to the University of Texas on November of 2016. It is the first Taco Bell Cantina in Austin and one of only a few located in Texas. Alongside its regular fare of tacos, quesadillas and nachos, this particular Taco Bell will also serve alcohol.