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Iconic Austin restaurant on Congress Avenue closing – at least for now

An iconic Austin restaurant is closing is saying goodbye.

Another iconic Austin restaurant is saying goodbye – at least for now.

Hill’s Café on South Congress, which has been in operation since 1947, will close Wednesday night as officials prepare to develop the land near Ben White Boulevard, operators confirmed Thursday, as they shared the news with employees.

Bob Cole, part-owner, said he thinks the restaurant will return as part of a mixed-use development on the 14-acre property. However, he said that process could take several years.

Dean Goodnight, whose family jointly started the restaurant and who still owns the property, said in a statement:

“As the owners of the location, but more importantly as the owners of the name/brand Hill’s Café and most of its history; we are committed to its legacy as a part of Austin’s future. We are excited about this opportunity, for Hill’s to be an integral part of our plans, as we look to develop the entirety of our surrounding property.”

Operators say part of the issue is that landowners need more income to sustain rising property taxes as mixed use developments have swallowed surrounding properties and driven appraisals up.

Hill’s is widely regarded as part of the South Austin fabric.

“A visit to Hill’s Cafe has always been an investment in the true and cultured heritage of Austin,” its web site says. “Until you have been to Hill’s Cafe, you can neither legitimately consider yourself a true Austinite nor a true Texan.”

It’s not the only Congress Avenue business that has closed, either. Uncommon Objects announced they were moving in October 2017 and Doc’s Motorworks closed their doors sometime earlier.

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