Skip navigation.


Spaghetti Warehouse


Spaghetti Warehouse - that place (for me anyway) that I never went to in over 30 years of living and dining in Austin. It was, after all, a holdover from the 70's: a funky San Francisco manufactured experience with 2nd rate food and even worse decor. All of that being said, SW was a cornerstone of downtown Austin restaurants. It saw the rise and fall of Mezzaluna, oversaw the flourish of Sullivan's and Cedar Street (and the entire 4th Street weird mix of Hip/Gay: Oilcan Harry's? across from Fado?), and survived being the next door neighbor to the Boathouse (and better? Worse?) the Bitter End.

The current vitality of downtown Austin has an immeasurable debt to pay to those that hung in there and tried, tried, tried to make downtown a destination years ago. That's much easier now and I hope that the current venues pay homage to the now defunct Spaghetti Warehouse after all these years.

BTW: who will bet against me that Lance ultimately owns that entire property?

Forgotten Barbecue Joints of Austin Area


I'm interested in barbecue restaurants of days gone by in Austin and the surrounding area

Ben's Longbranch on E. 11th

Willy Green's Barbecue on E. 11th

Rosewood Barbecue on E. 11th

Captain Tom's Barbecue on N. Lamar

Dale Baker's Barbecue on Lake Austin Boulevard

Charlie's Barbecue in Oak Hill

Jerry Jacob's Barbecue on Barton Springs

Shady Grove Barbecue on Barton Springs

Any information y'all can provide about the above restaurants would be greatly appreciated


Some Freda and the Firedogs songs are up on Grooveshark right now.

Shakey's Pizza


Does anyone remember Shakey's Pizza on the drag? Dad would take us there when we were young kids (early 70's). There was a player piano and we would always play "Yellow Rose of Texas." If you stood on a bench you could look through a window into the kitchen and watch them make the pizzas. Every now and then one of the cooks would grab a handful of flour and throw it at the window. Very cool!!

Ski Shores... another one bites the dust

Bars | Outdoors | Restaurants

Well, I really received a shock the other day. We had some guests from out of town who had spent enough time in Austin to know the cool spots. It was decided that we would all trek to Ski Shores for an afternoon of burgers, beer, and old-time Austin vibe. I suppose two out of three ain't bad but that vibe is long gone. Ski Shores has turned into little Disneyland with a bar... kids everywhere.

I don't fault the management for making a decision that will probably keep the business afloat and with us for many more years to come. It is just another notch on the list of "long gone" Austin places that personified the culture of our town. What passes for Austin culture these days seems to come out of a mayonnaise jar. Whether it's the artificial Bohemia of South Congress, the hipster popularity contest of East-side cocktail bars, or plastic playscape-themed conversions of previous dives, it all seems a little desperate.

Back in the 80's, Dallas seemed to "wake up" to what was happening in Austin and tried to manufacture hip culture: South Greenville, Deep Ellum, etc., were 100% contrived attempts at cool. I would look upon these with the smug satisfaction that here in Austin, we had the real thing. I look around now and and it seems that the pre-fab forces are gaining on us.

Dodge City Steak House


Anyone remember Dodge City Steakhouse out Lamar I beleive? They had sign saying if you have long hair you dont eat here. It was a riot. We would always mess with em' and try to get in. Then there was the Stallion, and the great 2 chicken fried steaks for like a buck and a half

Music second to none!


The Black Cat Lounge, i believe they sold $2.00 Lonestar beer. and The Armadillo, saw patti smythe, Frank Zappa, Cars. greatest place nothing like that in NJ.

The Treehouse Restaurant

Bars | Restaurants

The Treehouse restaurant was a fairly highbrow eatery, its name came from the fact that the main dining room was built on stilts, in the treetops. You parked below.

You can still see the remains across from the Doughetry Arts Center on Barton Springs near South Lamar. It was open in the 70s, closed, then reopened briefly some years later. Its been shuttered for a very long time now.

The Jasmine Isle in Buda


Jasmine Isle in Buda - Wahoo! Long before Buda was the center of the universe and popularized on the "You Won't Believe This Sh*t!" TV crime show, with wives killin' husbands and stuff, Buda was a tiny near-ghost town relic of old time Texas.

In '72 or there abouts, a bunch of hippies who had enough money to travel to Java or some such far off hippie place (maybe India), came back to Travis County and decided (probably in the throes of some un-Christian drugs or Eastern philosophy), to start a hippie restaurant in bootiful downtown Buda, in the top floor of an old hardware store.

Whoa! Shades of Alice's 'you know what', and doggone it, the food was great, and the ambiance was straight out of Pier One (maybe The Cadeau), with tied dyed bedspreads for drapes, and giant wire spools for tables, etc.

Me and Charles John Quarto went there several times and had good food and good vibes, you know?

Just another Bozo on this bus...

the Magic Time Machine and others


I moved here at the age of 5 and grew up in the suburbs off Northwest 183, but going downtown was such a treat. This is the 80s, so I'm a little behind... but I bet at least some of you worked at The Magic Time Machine. I know it's a chain and that there's one in San Antonio, but I have a feeling the Austin version was, of course, the best.

That place made me want to grow up to be a waitress. It looked incredibly fun-- you got to dress up in costumes and entertain your tables-- to a kid it was extremely magical. We went only a few times, when people came to visit or for a friend's birthday party... but what a great place.

I remember one time coming out of the bathroom stall and finding Wonder Woman and Tinkerbell standing there bitching about someone while primping. I think it was the first time I'd ever heard the f word.

Mad Dog and Beans - a bus trip to the drag with my friends at thirteen and a quest for this place in a summer downpour, then freezing while finally downing our millkshakes while soaking wet...

Steve's Ice Cream - I still have a sweatshirt, stained with chocolate ice cream which I had won by playing Madonna's "Cherish" on the piano.

Showplace Pizza Parlor? (Not Showbiz) I need help with this one-- don't remember where it was or even what it was called but man that place was incredible-- 1920's era silent movie theater with an actual organ player, nickelodeons and a creepy mummy behind yellowed glass-- and I remember the taxidermy cappuchin monkey with the little cymbals... it was so great and I barely remember it now...

And that big boat my bus always went by on the way to school- right at 183 and Mopac now I think-- the Showboat for a little while? Hazy memories... I always wanted to go there and then it shut down. Maybe that pizza place was near there.

I don't suppose anyone else ever lived North enough to frequent the Mr. Gatti's on 183 near Anderson Mill Road? This was our post swim meet party room and those old wooden booths were so caked with graffiti and carvings I can still see them. How many little swim team kids can you cram into a booth at Gatti's? Something like 60 I think. I might be exaggerating...

Austin's Famous Mexican Restaurant


Can anyone enlighten me about the name of the Mexican restaurant where it was all you can eat - and when you wanted more - you just raised the flag on your table - and here came the seconds, and thirds, and on and on! Of course, being on a student's budget, the "all you can eat" feature was great - and boy, could we put it away back then! I just remember Ron Franklin's creative advice that if you start with the sopapillas, you'd have no problem -- (like a plug for the drain!) Classy...