Threadgill’s World Headquarters, a landmark Austin restaurant, will close its location just south of downtown after Thanksgiving, owner Eddie Wilson said Wednesday.
“Flummoxed and bludgeoned by property tax increases, the grim truth is that we can’t afford it on the slim margins you make on meatloaf and chicken-fried steak,” Wilson said of his restaurant at 301 W. Riverside Drive, known for its Southern homestyle cooking.
Wilson said the original Threadgill’s location on North Lamar Boulevard will remain open.
Like Threadgill’s, Wilson is an Austin institution, having owned the famed Armadillo World Headquarters music venue in the 1970s.
The Austin Chronicle was first to report Threadgill’s imminent closing on Wednesday. Wilson told the Chronicle that paying more than $40,000 in monthly rent has become “untenable.”
In October 2017, when Wilson’s restaurant previously was on the brink of closing, he told the Statesman that his property taxes, rent and insurance had soared more than 500 percent in the past five years, totaling $38,000 a month at the time. The closing was averted, however, after Wilson signed a lease with his landlord, members of the Moton Crockett Jr. family, that was to keep the restaurant and its live music venue at that location for another three years.
“We value Threadgill’s as a longtime tenant and wish them continued success at our property,” Jack Burton, executive vice president of Crockett Properties Inc., said in November 2017 after the lease was signed.
Now, Threadgill’s final days appear to be at hand.
In a Wednesday email to the American-Statesman, Burton said Wilson “is winding down the Riverside location for good and will focus his energies on keeping Threadgill’s a potent part of the Austin music scene at his Threadgill’s Old No. 1 location at 6416 N Lamar.”
“The Crockett family wishes Eddie and his family all the best and we thank them for giving us the privilege of having Threadgill’s as a tenant for over 22 years,” Burton’s statement said. “We will be actively looking for a replacement tenant for our property and will solicit offers for a continued food establishment for our property.”
Wilson said his main concern is for his employees, including a couple of longtime cooks who he hopes to employ at his North Lamar location. Last fall, he told the Statesman that he employed about 100 people between the two locations, with most of them at the Riverside restaurant.
Amid Austin’s hot real estate market, the Riverside property sits on prime land that is valued at $7.6 million by the Travis Central Appraisal District. The appraisal district website lists the estimated annual taxes at $168,623, or $14,000 a month.
“I haven’t made any money in quite some time down there,” Wilson told the Statesman in October 2017, noting that the restaurant had revenue of about $4 million a year, and that sales had been flat in recent years.