Austin's high-rise cliff-dwellers say density is not a problem, and they're staying put—coronavirus be damned
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Elevator wars. Cramped life on a balcony. Darkened bars and restaurants. No deliveries to your condo. Generational differences over latex gloves, disposable wipes and social distancing. Ready to kill for a beer on a restaurant patio. Yes, those who live in Austin downtown's high-rises are stressed in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Yet the downtowners believe this time will pass and are optimistic about the future of the heart of our boomtown. For one thing, downtown's density—when closely examined—seems less of a threat than elsewhere because it is highly affluent and not all that dense.
If the urban dwellers yearn for the old days, it's not for their previous lives in the suburbs, but a distant time—only six weeks ago—before Austin shut down.
Ours is a city revered for its outdoors life, entertainment and food scene. Tens of thousands are drawn to our streets and trails every week. Now our sidewalks are silent as we cautiously creep our way back to what used to be.
Twelve years ago, Forrest Preece and Linda Ball, who had lived in a comfortable, 3,000-square-foot house with a lush and sprawling backyard overlooking Shoal Creek, moved to 360 Condos at 360 Nueces Street. They were in search of a simpler, more convenient life.
Until the city's shelter-in-place expires, they are largely self-isolated in their 1200-square-foot apartment and small balcony.
"Well, I didn't have any regrets until now," says Preece, a retired advertising agency owner who is 73. "Before this, if we wanted vegetation, we'd walk three blocks south and be on the hike-and-bike trail. We are scared to be over there now. There's not a whole lot of respect for social distancing going on."
Austonia checked in with a dozen people—residents, downtown leaders and an urban thinker—to gauge how living in a high-rise during a pandemic differs from the lives of other Austin residents. For the most part, the people who live high in glass and steel say there's no material difference between the pressures of the pandemic on urban and suburban life. They take great pride in downtown Austin, are committed to sticking out the virus and know things will get better.
Coronavirus has been clearly identified with population density and poverty. The nation's hotspots are New York City, with a population density of 26,000 per square mile; Detroit, 4,900; Chicago, 12,000; and New Orleans, 2,300. All have significant pockets of poverty, and those places are where COVID-19 stalks the streets.
Is downtown Austin dense? According to the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA), an estimated 15,500 people live within the 1.67 square miles bounded by Martin Luther King Blvd. on the north, Lady Bird Lake on the South, Lamar Blvd. on the west and I-35 on the east. That would give downtown a density of 9,300 per square mile.
But that's only part of the picture. It's not clear how many of Austin's downtown residents are part-time. But from discussions with real estate agents and others, it appears that a significant number treat our city as their second home. So that eases density.
Also, downtown residents are wealthy. Their median household income is $110,303, compared with the median of $67,462 for Austin as a whole, according to the DAA.
They say the wealthy control their own destiny, and it seems they also control their own density. Plaza Lofts at 5th and Guadalupe, where Nina and Frank Seely live, has 55 units. Nina Seely says only about 35 people are in the building at any one time.
The Seelys moved from The Ridge at Barton Creek in 2018. Plaza Lofts is two blocks away from 360 Condos, so close that Nina can wave from her balcony to her friend Forrest Preece on his.
Seely sells to wealthy buyers who prefer confidentiality. Often, they are seeking a second home downtown. She says few of her clients even mention the virus and density. "If they do ask me about that, I say you're going to have to live your life as you want to. Living in a condensed area downtown, people are behaving themselves."
Emily Zipp and Andrew Fischer, both 29, share Fischer's unit at 360 condos. For them, the pandemic arrived with a few bearable annoyances. The pool, lounge chairs and grills on the recreational deck were closed by building managers, and Zipp misses cooling off in the pool after a day's work or gathering with friends on the weekend.
"Elevators are a very hot-button subject," says Zipp, a 2013 graduate of St. Edward's University who is an account executive for Sprout Social, a Chicago-based social media software management company.
"We only have four, one is for freight, and it seems like one is always broken down. If you're trying to go out between 5 and 7 p.m., the waits can be as long as 10 minutes." The pandemic heightens elevator chagrin: "If someone is in it, I won't get in. I'll wait for the next."
Not all agree that the denizens of downtown are so well-behaved. One older person complained about young people and the homeless not wearing masks or keeping their distance on the streets, trails and parks. He asked not to be named to avoid being called out by homeless advocates.
Zipp says she carries a mask with her when she's out for a run, or when she is in the public spaces of her condo building. If she approaches someone in a hallway, she puts on the mask. She doesn't engage in 360 Condo's online chat room. Arguments prevail between those who agree with the condo's restrictive policies, such as requiring food delivery pick-ups to be in the lobby, and those who see them as over the top. Zipp agrees with the policies, though she misses the pool.
Rikki Jump, 29, head of author strategy at Scribe Media, rents a one-bedroom unit at The Catherine, a luxury high-rise apartment building at 214 Barton Springs Road. She is across Lady Bird Lake and less than a mile from her friend Zipp. In 2013 Jump moved to Austin from Springfield, Mo., where she received a bachelor's degree in professional and technical writing at Missouri State University.
"I already went over the precautions they're taking" at The Catherine, she said. All common areas have been closed and only two people are allowed in an elevator at any one time. Jump adds, "but overall the vibe has been pretty tense and eerie. No regrets about living downtown! I'm obsessed with it and don't see myself making a change for a long time."
"I do not love working from home," says Jump. "It makes me feel very lethargic and sluggish." She's getting in walks with her dog on the hike-and-bike trail. "I would kill to be enjoying a beer on a restaurant patio with my friends. I'm single, so that's been pretty lonely."
Among the part-time dwellers of downtown Austin are David Powell and Vicki Weber, whose main home is in Tallahassee, Fla. David is a 1973 graduate of the University of Texas-Austin and a former editor of the Daily Texan. He now sits on the dean's advisory board of the Moody College of Communication.
David and Vicki moved into their condo on the 20th floor of 360 in 2008. Vicki, 67, is a retired lawyer. David, 69, is of counsel to the law firm where they both worked, and says he is mostly retired. These days, they come to Austin less frequently than they once did, but stay longer—usually for a week.
When the coronavirus struck, they put off a scheduled March visit and carefully watch developments from afar.
"It will be very interesting to see what happens post-pandemic," says David. "Given the economics, and possibly some potential social changes, I will be interested to see whether Austin continues to boom. Maybe it will; maybe it won't. It's becoming harder and harder to see it going back to where it was."
A few blocks away at Northshore Apartments, Judy and Doug Moss, who both are 72 years old, are moving out to spend more time at their home on Lake LBJ in Granite Shoals, 55 miles to the northwest. Moving in from Barton Creek two and one-half years ago, the Northshore rental was an experiment in downtown living—and it worked well.
"We were on the 21st floor overlooking Auditorium Shores. It was fun to be out on the balcony with a glass of wine and enjoying Austin," says Doug, a land developer. "We have had all the fun we can stand. We're glad we did it."
However the couple found themselves spending more and more time at the lake. They are considering buying an Austin condo to keep a foothold in town. "We might buy a condo," says Judy, a retired real estate broker. "We're kind of thinking we might. We are not going to react at this time with the COVID-19."
The residents' confident views were validated by Steven Pedigo, a professor of practice and director of the Urban Lab at UT's LBJ School.
"Yes, density can play a role," he said in an interview. "But as you can see in New York the reality is the type of density. There is a more affluent density vs. poor density. Hit the hardest have been the areas of less-affluent density, where you have large families in one space, and frontline workers who may not have had protection from COVID-19."
Reports from New York, which accounts for a third of coronavirus deaths, confirms that the most severely impacted neighborhoods were in the Bronx and poor sections of Brooklyn and Queens.
Pedigo, who advises cities on growth strategies, says Austin shouldn't "pivot" in its longstanding policies of encouraging density. People are attracted to Austin by its amenities, and those things should be enhanced with investments in transportation, parks, sidewalks, public infrastructure and active mobility. Those outlays will improve life for all, he says, including those in less-affluent, high-density areas.
"At some point we'll get over the pandemic," says Pedigo. "When we get to 3 million people in 10 years, if you haven't invested in transportation, you'll have a stuck economy."
How does he see Austin's future post-pandemic? "I'm pretty optimistic."
The people we interviewed agreed. They uniformly were optimistic, with most believing that Austin's reputation and appeal is so strong that the pandemic will only cause temporary economic dislocation.
Editor's note: Vicki Weber's last name was changed from the original to reflect her maiden name.
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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the United States, many esteemed local businesses have been forced to shut their doors permanently. Austin is no exception, and over the last six months, some of the city's most beloved local establishments have had to say goodbye. This non-comprehensive list includes some of Austin's most iconic businesses that have closed for good due to COVID-19. May they live in the hearts and minds of Austinites forever.
Iconic Austin businesses that have closed due to COVID-19:
Austin Java (three out of four locations)<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ0MzQ0MS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NjA4ODg0M30.ODINaGiHnfT_NH5FeQg_1gC9aPyk6R2VzsNtygZ1qkk/img.png?width=980" id="715fe" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="26efbbc274d52d5fe0f057c02f259d18" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p>Popular local coffee chain Austin Java announced in August that it was permanently closing three of its flour locations: in Austin City Hall, Dripping Springs and the Met Center. The cafe opened its inaugural location in 1995 on Parkway Street off North Lamar, which closed in 2017 to make way for the four new spots. Austin Java devotees can still get their caffeine fix at the chain's last remaining location on Menchaca Road in the Westgate neighborhood.<br></p>
Buffalo Billiards<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ0MzQ0OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0Mjc1MzI1MX0.uTdNTAratMKRmWbpaq-DYy38CJPx9KyZVtMd6ehdbJk/img.jpg?width=980" id="421b3" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ab19939bb57990f5a5049884f4a1fda0" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p>The Wild West-themed watering hole and pool hall <a href="https://www.facebook.com/buffalobilliardsaustin/posts/4568248103215552" target="_blank">announced</a> <a href="https://austonia.com/buffalo-billiards-closes?share_id=5804221" target="_blank">last week</a> that it was permanently closing its doors after 21 years on 6th Street. Long before it became Buffalo Billiards, the historic space was known as the Missouri House, built by the Ziller Family in 1861 and reputed to be Austin's first boarding house (and rumored brothel). Home to many a drunken cowboy brawl in its past life, Buffalo Billiards served as the perfect destination for a revelrous night on the town.<br></p>
Capitol City Comedy Club<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzgzNjY2OC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MzA0MzM4M30.OLvTSydqLncPOm2svJsft755prbXG05o4i0PYmTqBdU/img.png?width=980" id="a888a" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="243c9fecf407df4c6d237c4f84828852" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Austin's Cap City Comedy closes its doors for good in the wake of the pandemic earlier this month.<p>The longstanding laugh factory situated on Research Boulevard took its final bow <a href="https://austonia.com/cap-city-comedy-closes" target="_blank">earlier this month</a> after nearly 35 years in business. Houstonians Howard and Sandy Marcus opened the venue, originally called the Laff Stop, in March of 1986; it was rebranded to Capitol City Comedy Club in 1996. "Laughing will always be the key to moving forward," co-owner Margie Coyle said in a <a href="https://www.kxan.com/news/local/austin/cap-city-comedy-club-shutting-down/#:~:text=AUSTIN%20(KXAN)%20%E2%80%94%20The%20COVID,month%20with%20plans%20to%20reopen." target="_blank">statement to KXAN</a>. "I love Cap City, but if you see the light, get off the stage!"<br></p>
Dart Bowl<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ1ODUxNS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNzUyNDgzNX0.TFT_Wa9goeNLZnLtx9wDnOLkjHwdOcmwgV3wzz93Bps/img.jpg?width=980" id="76486" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1ce4eaf0f07ea7305291f897dcc16f33" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />Austin's iconic Dart Bowl to close Friday after COVID slowdown hurts business<p>In July, Dart Bowl co-owner John Donovan <a href="https://austonia.com/business/dart-bowl" target="_blank">announced</a> that the adored bowling alley was permanently closing after 62 years of family-friendly fun. Donovan's grandfather, Harry Peterson, and local businessman Justin Dart co-opened the original Burnet Road location—then outside city limits—in 1958 and operated there for nearly four decades before relocating to Brentwood in 1997. Peterson also partnered with Jerry and Betty Ray to open Highland Lanes and Westgate Lanes, which thankfully remain open.<br></p>
Easy Tiger<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ0MzQ1MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MTYwODk1MX0.ti6Ybb6b2uJhL6CvbgMDhzLBDUTU6Vn2bWYPXFnPN5k/img.jpg?width=980" id="5d2fa" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="33b40031a6eb06966c6b582d6fd268e5" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p>If you haven't washed Easy Tiger's fresh-baked bread or pastries down with a cappuccino or craft beer, you haven't really lived. Unfortunately, Austinites can no longer indulge in that pleasure at the bakery's downtown location, which boasted a gorgeous beer garden overlooking Waller Creek and offered a reprieve from heavy 6th Street foot traffic. The flagship Easy Tiger announced its permanent closure last week, ending an eight-year run downtown. Thankfully, its North Austin location at the Linc is still open for drive-thru, delivery, curbside and patio dining, and its <a href="https://www.easytigerusa.com/pages/pop-up" target="_blank">pop-up truck</a> could be bringing delectable fresh bread to your neighborhood soon.<br></p>
Fricano's Deli<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ0MzQ1Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwOTY4NjU1MX0.6FzmirUmaf4nBiM9U0r4HFjT9gex5tzXMI5AZTqgxNo/img.jpg?width=980" id="ae482" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7ae4898dbeca1e41b7067c60459b81ec" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
(Facebook)<p>The beloved West Campus deli closed its doors for good in April after serving mile-high sandwiches to hungry college students for 14 years. Fricano's first opened in 2006 on East 31st Street, later expanding to Nueces Street in 2011 and closing its original location a year later. Perhaps no testament to Fricano's quality speaks louder than its famous Ainsworth, a constantly-changing variety sandwich that employees assembled from the best ingredients of the day. No matter what each day's Ainsworth yielded, you'd be hard-pressed to find an unhappy customer.<br><strong></strong></p>
I Luv Video<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ0MzQ1My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1OTYzODYzMn0.zjfeJruG8T8FLQY5n-uU9tlhbx5cX2N6QpMDnkMuXcA/img.jpg?width=980" id="7387b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="0a3e84eb7d3aec7472df26daa58c00e1" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
(Facebook)<p>I Luv Video, located on Airport Boulevard, serviced film enthusiasts in Austin for 35 years before owner Conrad Bejarano announced that the self-proclaimed "oldest and largest video store in the world" was closing for good on Sept. 1. But rather than sell his inventory and cut his losses, Bejarano is looking for a potential new owner to faithfully steward his collection of roughly 120,000 films. "It would bring me the utmost joy to pass the torch to a group or individual that has the financial capacity to preserve our immense catalog of films," Bejarano <a href="https://iluvvideos.com/" target="_blank">wrote</a> in his closure announcement. "My only stipulation is that whomever does so gives the community access to our vast film library."<br></p>
Magnolia Cafe West (Lake Austin)<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzEzNTM5Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMjE3NDY3NX0.kjDOXfw0Yfm3vqlgrdpZPpOwvQuXvypJFOy3DbgKBhI/img.jpg?width=980" id="4fa96" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="0830bc5399b15974fee5a7e5d4068018" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
(Austonia)<p>For more than 40 years, Magnolia Cafe welcomed weary students and wired festival-goers, serving up dinner plate-sized pancakes and bottomless coffee 24 hours a day. The omelettry owner Kenny Carpenter originally opened the Lake Austin space in 1979 as an auxiliary location called Omelettry West; he later sold it to partner Kent Cole, who rechristened it to Magnolia Cafe in 1986. The restaurant announced in April that it was closing for good, but mourners can still get their fix at the South Congress location, which opened in 1988.<br><strong></strong></p>
Mugshots<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDIzMDM0NC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNjIxMTE2N30.IFcnMI6dRYF0K49fkxBfLSJro7Uk_iDMoqHPzy9gg3g/img.png?width=980" id="f986d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="79aec2741acc688b9010d141ff8ba52d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />Iconic MugShots Bar closes after 18 years
(Facebook)<p>Since 2002, 7th Street dive bar Mugshots offered a respite from the Dirty Sixth mayhem while still giving patrons plenty of opportunities for debauchery. True to its name, the downtown haunt plastered its walls with photos of customers that were taken in the property's photo booth. In a Sept. 13 <a href="https://www.facebook.com/111679072204301/photos/a.340023902703149/3427236430648532/?type=3&theater" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Facebook post</a>, owners Marcos Canchola Brian Hyde announced that Mugshots permanently closed its doors on Aug. 31. The watering hole is survived by a handful of other Canchola-and Hyde-owned properties around Austin, including Barfly's, the Hideout Pub, Bender Bar & Grill, Violet Crown Social Club, the Pour House Pub, and Pourhouse Pints & Pies.</p>
Shady Grove<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ0NTk3MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNjU5Njg4NX0.YXxIAuUraCzt594BBSImzAHH7oTKC7asCO8RAYfSBeE/img.jpg?width=980" id="09659" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9fb3ba0a1b37623aa3af09ee10398c08" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
(Facebook)<p>After fielding Zilker Park foot traffic for 28 years, Shady Grove slung its last green chili cheeseburger in May. Opened in 1992 by Chuy's co-owners Mike Young and John Zapp, the Barton Springs Road eatery became an Austin staple with its iconic lasso signage, Southwestern cuisine and live music Thursdays during the summer. The one-two punch of skyrocketing rent and COVID-19 closures likely forced Shady Grove to shutter, but patrons can still get their Tex-Mex fill at the walking-distance Barton Springs Chuy's.</p>
Threadgill's<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ0MzQ3Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNTg0ODc4MH0.bJmfhFf8XJsQUSVgx-13noyB9R0I4mD_O1v1a4Tw-5k/img.jpg?width=980" id="2b710" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9f2e605e8c7f46762c002fc9086da803" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
(Facebook)<p>Threadgill's owner Eddie Wilson announced in April that he was selling the restaurant, beer joint and music venue, closing the curtain on one of Austin's most iconic businesses. Bootlegger and country music enthusiast Kenneth Threadgill secured the first beer license in Travis County and opened the converted Gulf filling station on North Lamar—then outside Austin city limits—in 1933, as soon as Prohibition was repealed. Wednesday night singing sessions attracted droves of hippies, beatniks and folkies in the '60s, including burgeoning blues-rock howler and University of Texas undergrad Janis Joplin. Wilson—who also co-founded the hallowed Armadillo World Headquarters music venue in 1973—bought and renovated the property in 1981. For nearly four more decades, it drew locals and tourists alike with its electrifying performers and mouth-watering chicken-fried steak. (A second location, Threadgill's World Headquarters, operated on Riverside from 1996 to 2018.)<br><strong></strong></p>
Vulcan Video<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ0MzQ3NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNjYxMTY1MX0.3aC_cNahKEJXeMWMHk38jc6K6t1180tGCebJ3iUwjGM/img.jpg?width=980" id="92c41" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d6cd64cc10aba9dbde75bc3b1c98d423" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
(Facebook)<p>After servicing movie buffs for 35 years, Vulcan Video announced in April that it was cutting to black and permanently shutting its doors on Russell Drive. The beloved independent movie shop opened in 1985 amid the VHS rental boom and weathered several seismic industry shifts over the decades, including the rise (and fall) of mega-chains like Blockbuster and the dominance of streaming services. Vulcan Video's inventory comprised renowned classics, underground gems and rare imports, weaving a rich tapestry of movie history and giving fellow cinephiles a place to hang out and talk shop.<br><strong></strong></p>
Iconic Austin businesses that are still open<p>Thankfully, some iconic Austin businesses have weathered the pandemic by experimenting with new business models, implementing new safety regulations or receiving much-needed relief funds. Here are a few of them:</p>
El Patio<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ0MzUyNi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwMjU1Njc1OH0.5Bd6uhY0ZInTihHnkci0RX-QFH7cw2GtTXOOwUx8tlQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="477db" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e4869b1530681c080529146e5ded6348" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
(Facebook)<p>Tex-Mex trailblazer Paul Joseph began working at the Schoonerville restaurant in the early 1950s, and in 1954, he bought the building and transformed it into El Patio. The Guadalupe Street mainstay was one of the first Tex-Mex restaurants to grace Austin, and customers can still enjoy savory enchiladas, crispy tortilla chips and frosty margaritas there today. The dining room is currently open for business, and patrons must wear a mask upon entering and being seated.<br><strong></strong></p>
Fonda San Miguel<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ0MzUyOC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMDM5MjkwNH0.UjPQa00jlRd13W3RMp60m0Eho7NBsRet8eHr89OdQVs/img.jpg?width=980" id="3c19f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6677c474b6a78d22d5229dcd2b2f78c9" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
(Facebook)<p>Modeled after a colonial-era hacienda, Fonda San Miguel has remained one of Austin's most venerated and visibly striking Mexican restaurants since opening in 1975. Customers can marvel at the exotic plants and breathtaking artwork as they enjoy interior Mexican cuisine from Oaxaca, Puebla, Veracruz and Yucatan. Fonda San Miguel reopened in June, encouraging reservations and requiring customers and servers to wear masks.<br><strong></strong></p>
Sam's Bar-B-Que<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ0MzUzMC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNzAyNDMwN30.aexJZIwfbDR56cJDquwxX8OujXIwU7NcETVYx_0khx0/img.jpg?width=980" id="b218d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8c51812084bc4a81d7f4751c6bd6d093" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Top Notch Hamburgers<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ0MzUzMS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMjExNDc4MH0._r4mIH4A8P0T2sZrutGceC0G2PyHib3LlrKpEqomcUk/img.jpg?width=980" id="4e001" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d382eaa6ff7f6562081cc299422861c0" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
(Facebook)<p>This Burnet Road institution has been serving charcoal-grilled burgers and fried chicken via carhop since 1971, and it was immortalized in Richard Linklater's 1993 coming-of-age stoner comedy <em>Dazed and Confused. </em>Top Notch and Galaxy Cafe co-owner Kelly Chappell received a PPP loan in April, and Top Notch is currently open for pickup orders placed in-person, over the phone or online.<br></p>
Quality Seafood Market<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ0MzUzNC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MzY3NzM4OH0.B3E8ObbhQbadee91vvmUwsUZjR-yqxc_cTpDI9xFemc/img.jpg?width=980" id="335c5" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="bca67dc7ad396658b127955bc57847dd" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
(Facebook)<p>Quality Seafood Market opened in 1938 as a humble stall in Starr's Fruit and Vegetable Market on Congress Avenue and has since evolved into one of the city's best-known seafood markets and restaurants. Now situated on Burnet Road, the market is open Monday through Saturday, and its food truck is open Thursday through Saturday afternoons. Curbside dinners for two are also available with a 24 hour notice.<br></p>
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This story has been updated to include information from two press conferences on Monday afternoon.
Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody has been indicted and arrested on a felony charge for destroying video evidence related to the death of Javier Ambler, a Black man who died in custody last year, according to local reports.
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Editor's Note 1:45 p.m.: This story has been updated from the previously published preview to the rally to tell what happened at the rally.
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