Drought forces popular Lake Travis restaurant to close


by JESSICA HOLLOWAY / KVUE News and photojournalist SCOTT MCKENNEY


Posted on August 20, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 21 at 11:11 AM

TRAVIS COUNTY -- Low lake levels are hurting commerce and forcing businesses to close. Now a popular party spot is saying goodbye.

On Tuesday, a group of co-workers arrived at the front entrance of Carlos'n Charlie's. They were disappointed; after nearly 20 years, the restaurant will be shutting its doors.

The owner of Carlos'n Charlie's says he's been losing profits for the third summer in a row and can't justify keeping the restaurant going.

"We forgot they're closed today. It's really sad they will be closing indefinitely. We love coming here," said Debbie Wigington.

Dry dirt and rocks have replaced the once water-filled boat docks. KVUE photographers shot video in 2007 of a large flood that sent water rushing into the Carlos'n Charlie's parking lot. The restaurant was modified to sustain high water as a result of flooding.

Realtor Priscilla Hanson says it was a lot easier selling homes back then.

"Without being too political, I wish LCRA would put as much of an emphasis on Lake Travis as it does on Lake Austin. For buyers it's a great time to buy. However, homeowners are suffering. We're all praying for rain," said Hanson.

A couple of lakeside businesses still get summer time customers, but nothing like before.

There's a chance Carlos'n Charlie's could make a comeback, but it depends on Mother Nature.

If you'd like to visit the restaurant one last time, Carlos'n Charlie's is inviting the public down for Labor Day weekend to enjoy live music, food, and drinks to enjoy the restaurant before it closes its doors for good.