One of the things I love most about Austin is the widespread passion for local. We don’t need Barnes & Noble, we have Book People. We don’t need Subway, we have Thundercloud. We don’t need McDonald’s or Wendy’s, we have P. Terry’s. We don’t need some Megaplex theater, we have Alamo Drafthouse. I absolutely love the passion for local here. It’s a big reason why there’s no better city in the world for us to build Localeur.
People live to try new restaurants, hang out with friends over drinks at new bars, and blog and Instagram photos of what they ate. I am a big fan of it all. I personally try not to write about brand new restaurants because I feel like it takes a few weeks and maybe even months for all the kinks to be worked out at a place, but I can completely understand the value of something like Eater.
However, what I don’t get is people lamenting all the restaurants that close due to a lack of revenue…put another way, businesses that close due to a lack of customer interest. I sometimes feel people are more likely to care about a restaurant closing than they are about affordable housing or City Council elections or public transit. I feel like that because, in Austin, it’s kinda true. Did you see the last election?
Anyway, I’m on a soap box here and I should get off in a minute, but first I want to ask a question: Is Austin’s food scene better or worse now than it was a year or 5 years or 10 years ago? I truly want someone to give me a logical justification for the mentality that Austin is changing for the worse and you can just look at the food and restaurant scene as an example.
I mean I never ever had a great meal at Paggi House, but I saw someone say it was some of the best food south of the river, which I couldn’t disagree more with. Your Mom’s Burgers had some nice options, but are we short on great burgers in Austin? Really? Umami Mia had some of the worst branding I’ve ever seen for a restaurant in Austin that wants to brand itself as “local”. And A-OK Chinese was B-OK at best.
Part of the goal with Localeur is to support local businesses by raising awareness for the great things they’re serving up, but sometimes it’s hard because Austinites occasionally have this mentality that they don’t want other people to know about the places they like at least not until Eater or the Statesman writes an article about the place closing for business then those same people act all disappointed like the city they love is changing for the worse. No, the city isn’t changing for the worse…it’s just there are too many options for places to eat and only the best places are going to be able to make it because those places are so good that people get over themselves and tell others how much they love the places while they’re open instead of afterwards on a Facebook thread.