I suppose that it is the power of Austin that certain names are considered to be such institutions that they have not only survived for many years, they even close, change owners and even business models, and then reopen but having the same name. Here are a few:
Poodle Dog Lounge
Deep Eddy Cabaret
I hear that Paggi House closed this month. That is sad given such a long run but Paggi House had lost its place in Austin Elegance some time ago. I remember when there were only three really elegant restaurants in or near town: Green Pastures, The Inn at Brushy Creek, and Paggi House. All were so expensive that my visits there were for very infrequent special occasions. Austin was certainly not the food destination that it is today.
You can barely see the Paggi House "preserved" in the new condopolis:
There will be some moaning about how the closing of Paggi House is yet another indication that old Austin is slipping away. In reality, that slip occurred the day that the Taco Cabana opened basically on the Paggi House property. That was the true beginning of the end.
Someone needs to step up and fill in the blanks for me. I recently learned about the '60s era crew that had inherited the Texas Ranger magazine. Some names are familiar: Gilbert Shelton, George and Carlyne Majewski but most are not. It does sound like these folks laid the very solid foundation that the 70's Austin stood upon.
I had never heard of The Ghetto where most of them lived and partied but even when I arrived in the mid-70's, Tortilla Flats was still around. I heard at that time, that the Flats was the current home of Willie Nelson and his growing posse of outlaws.
Here is a great narrative from Gerry Storm... read it.
Also, if you recall ANYTHING about the Ghetto, Tortilla Flats, or the Ranger, please submit an entry on this site.
And another thing... these folks clearly invented the Austin Armadillo persona. Here is a Ranger cover from 1967 spoofing Playboy but more importantly showing the Armadillo in a "bunny" persona.
Well... they are gone now. The MoPac oaks that stood serenely for so many years, adding a softness to the ever increasing traffic nightmare that is MoPac. How did this slip past so quietly? Austin is the the city that outlaws the destruction of trees yet a whole stand of ancient Live Oaks was dozed and reduced to mulch before our eyes.
For a toll-road to nowhere.
I had the opportunity to head down West Fifth the other day and turned on West Lynn passing right by "The Depot". I can't say that I have ever been a regular at the Depot but back in the old days, we would pick a west-side beer joint for after work gatherings... might be Jake's, might be Hut's, might be Donn's. I always liked the crowd at the Depot. It was always a very friendly mix of all kinds of Austinites.
I'm happy to see that the Depot is still there although it really does look like a throwback to the 70's. I'm even happier that Donn and the Station Masters are still holding court every Friday and some days in between.
Of all the places that stand out in Austin, it was the AWHQ I was 17 years old when I came to Austin the first time. I ended up at the Armadillo, I'll never forget that night, Shiva's Head Band was playing and there were stoned people everywhere. All night long there was a young woman dancing with no top on in front of the band. It was quite a scene for a young Freak Musician from Houston to end up in. Later that night I had no where to go so I just wandered around the building exploring, I was so jacked up I was not about to go to sleep. At one point I ended up in a huge room and there was this guy building a massive pyramid from scrap lumber right there in the building. not too far from him was this freak with long red hair drawing, when I walked up to see what he was drawing it was armadillos and strange eyes on the paper with a headline, at the time I didn't know who Jim Franklin was. Over the years the Dillo was a haunt for me and I opened for a few bands there. As the placed changed I sort of drifted off form the scene but it always held a sweet spot for me. The one thing about the Dillo was the eclectic string of bands and musicians that came through there. It was a hard day for a lot of people when they tore it down. Please share your memories of this very amazing place. This is the only piece of physical memory I have left of the Armadillo.
I remember a place out in the Lake Travis area. It was near where the highway (I think 2222) dumped into the road that went around a big part of the lake. The best sliced and pulled pork sandwiches in the area. There were so many excellent BBQ places. Anyone else remember any of them!
Does anyone remember Toad Hall, it was one of the earliest 6th St music halls. I had a gig there one night opening for Robert Shaw and another musician was sharing the bill that night, her name was Lucinda Williams. I can't remember just exactly when it was it was early 70's may have even been 1970, but after I played Lucinda got up and when she started to sing my mouth dropped open. The one thing I noticed was she wouldn't look up the whole time. After she was done I talked with her and told here she should look up at the people because she was not only an incredible musician but pretty as well. We became good friends after that, of course that was along time ago and time moves people on. I'm happy success found her! When Robert Shaw got up he was the last of the Barrel House pianists. He was unbelievable, he told stories about the barrel speakeasy's the whole night and he played his heart out and told stories about Nacogdoches and other back country Texas towns. If anyone remembers other shows there please share them. There is absolutely noting on the internet about that place. I've searched and searched and found nothing.
I was browsing the Flickr Austin Gone pages... First of all, you slackers need to get over here and record those memories! However, one memory brought me way back to the 6th Street of the 70's: The Green Spot. It was a Tejano walk-up bar with a big dance floor in the back. It actually took some guts to get through that front door the first time. Dark, dingy, dangerous. Not like the Treble Hook JJJ a few doors down. This was a bar where business was done... not fishing stories told.
Sure remember this place on 2222. Best Pizza I ever had, we used to go there and I remember it was the hottest damn pizza, but the best tastin too. Wonder if it is still there....