Breaking News
More () »

Longtime Conans Pizza near UT campus closing after 42 years

Conans Pizza will be closing its downtown location on July 22.

Austin — AUSTIN -- The 2,200-square-foot restaurant that sits near the corner of 29th Street and Guadalupe was once visited by the likes of one of the city's most famous Austinites.

"They might knock off early and walk down to Conans Pizza, where they knew free pizza would always be waiting for him," read Scott Leist, the co-owner of Conans Pizza.

Leist read from one of the many clips saved underneath the hard plastic of the pizza counter. He was reading about Stevie Ray Vaughn, one of, if not his most famous customer.

"This is Stevie Ray with Triple Threat," Leist said while showing us show billings that were part of the pizza counter.

He said Stevie Ray Vaughn never paid for pizza in his restaurant and he had watched hundreds of live shows of the internationally renowned musician. Triple Threat is the band Stevie Ray Vaughn was in before Double Trouble.

Other musicians also ate at Conans.

"There's a lot of pictures with Jimmie, Lu Ann, Muddy Waters," said Leist.

That's Jimmie Vaughn, an American blues rock guitarist and Stevie Ray's brother. And Lu Ann Barton, an American blues singer.

Pictures of them and other artists have been a part of this place since 1976. But times have changed.

"The property taxes going up, the rent's going up, the parking problem," Leist explained.

And he couldn't afford to stay open anymore.

"I'm brokenhearted," he told us.

The 67-year-old isn't the only one.

"I'll miss Conans," said longtime customer, Prentiss Riddle.

Riddle has been coming here since 1978, when he attended the University of Texas, two years after it opened.

"It's a shame to see old iconic Austin businesses leave," said Prentiss.

Richie Jackson is the CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association.

"It's a loss of some of our culture and some of our history," Jackson said.

He said rising property taxes is happening all across the state, not just Austin.

"When property taxes are ever moving forward and they're relentless in terms of their growth, it just makes it almost impossible to have an inventory of a readily available commercial property that's reasonably priced," said Jackson.


Austin unaffordability: How to fight your rising property values

Austin unaffordability: The good and bad for local businesses

In the meantime, some customers made sure to buy memorabilia, like bumper stickers and T-shirts. Others made sure to have as many slices before July 22, the last day.

"I'm totally sad we're having to close, it's all a sign of the times," said Leist.

Leist said there will be a public auction on July 23.

The other two locations on Stassney Lane and Anderson Lane will remain open.

Before You Leave, Check This Out