The most depressing Austin restaurant closings of 2023

The Labay family announced it was closing Nau's in late 2022.

The Labay family announced it was closing Nau’s in late 2022.

Chris O’Connell/MySA

Everything good must come to and end. It just seems like that end is happening more often for smaller Austin businesses, particularly restaurants. Many shuttered in 2023, including a few Old Austin classics and some newer favorites.

Here are the eight saddest closings to hit Austin so far in 2023.

Nau’s Enfield Drug


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News of the demise of this classic soda fountain/pharmacy hybrid came in 2022, but it was still painful for Austin natives when the Clarksville family business closed this year. Opened in 1951 by the Nau family, it was continued by pharmacist Lambert Labay beginning in 1971. Up until 2020, diners enjoyed cheeseburgers and malts at the old timey counter, served with a side of chips. Starting last year, the Labay family began selling off items and signage from the business, a sad day in Austin.

Daily Juice

This one stung because all locations of Daily Juice closed at relatively the same time. All four spots — Westlake, Northwest Hills, North Shoal Creek, and Bee Cave — shut down in January, with the owners saying that rising rents had forced them to close up shop on the stores, which served juices, smoothies, bowls, avocado toast, and other health-forward foods. The company’s leases were all set to end in 2023.

Rosewood Gulf Coast Chop House


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While this East Side restaurant-on-a-hill had only been in operation since 2018, it was a reliably tasty place to enjoy a quiet ribeye and a cocktail indoors at the Haynes-DeLashwah House, on the National Register of Historic Places, or spread out in the sprawling front yard. The restaurant has since shifted to an events space.

Mr. Natural (South Lamar location)

Yes, there is still the original location of vegetarian favorite Mr. Natural on Cesar Chavez Street, but for South Austinites, the shuttering of the South Lamar location cut deeply. Opened in 2001, the location closed at the end of June, saddening longtime Austin residents who relied on the south location and worried that the closing portended the conclusion of Mr. Natural in Austin. The owners’ daughter, Isabel Mendoza, reassured customers that the East Austin location, opened in 1988, would remain.


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Plow Burger

At the beginning of 2023, the closing of both locations of this plant-based burger joint had vegans weeping citywide. The Buzz Mill shuttered both the East Seventh spot and its Riverside food truck in quick succession during the second week of January, replacing the truck with a Buzz Burgers, which served both meat- and plant-based options before eliminating its vegan menu entirely (it still has vegetarian options). That choice further alienated Plow Burger fans, who commented in droves when Buzz Burgers unveiled its new menu in March.

Counter Culture

Another vegan favorite, Counter Culture, closed its doors as 2022 became 2023. Started as a food truck in 2009, Counter Culture transformed into a brick-and-mortar vegan joint on the East Side in 2012, which is now a bar called Lovebirds. But plant-based foodies were delighted when Counter Culture shifted back into a food truck model, now parked in the back patio of new-ish bar Tweedy’s, located at the former Spider House address on Fruth Street.


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Cain & Abel’s

This one stung for UT students and alumni, who fondly remembered watching — as of the last decade or so, mostly covering their eyes at — Texas football at the West Campus bar. Known for their chicken fried steak and other bar bites, plus giant Texas teas and tons of beers on tap, the patio at Cain and Abel’s had been packed since 1991 until April 30, when the owners had to leave after a demolition permit was filed.

Though the 24th and Guadalupe location will soon be an enormous student housing tower, the owners have indicated that they would like to move to a new location, though solid plans have not yet been announced.


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Yes, it’s a chain, and yes you can still enjoy Z’Tejas in Avery Ranch or Kyle, or at two locations in Arizona, but the West Sixth and Lamar closing of Z’Tejas in April was a sad day for some. After 33 years it was time to say goodbye to the classic location, which said goodbye at the end of March with a goodbye party featuring $5 margaritas.

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