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COVID-19 permanently closes two longtime Austin restaurants

Two longtime Austin restaurants won't be reopening their doors after COVID-19. Magnolia Cafe on Lake Austin Boulevard and North By Northwest restaurant and brewery on Capital of Texas highway are closed for good.

"That place was just joy," says Austin native Liz Farmer. For her, Magnolia CafĂ©'s west Austin location brings back memories of growing up, gaining independence and Austin News building lasting friendships.

"I feel like every day with COIVD-19 there's something new that really strikes you," she says. "It's awful and then to also see institutions that helped raise us, essentially, just be gone so quickly that in and of itself is so sad," Farmer adds.

In a Facebook post Magnolia announced their Lake Austin closure after 41 years saying, "In the face of such a huge hit with the reality of COVID-19 and the incredible uncertainty of the future, we've had to confront the fact that this location will not survive."

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"I can't believe that that's what's causing Magnolia to close. It's heartbreaking," says Hilary Lowry. In 1999 Lowry started working at Magnolia Cafe. It's where she met her husband and the two fell in love. "That place was my home for so long and my family's home for so long," she recalls. Lowry worked at the cafe for 11 years and her husband worked there for 13 years.

Another establishment not re-opening their doors after COVID-19 is North by Northwest. "From a financial point, it was we either make this call now or we make it later," explains owner and founder Davis Tucker.

NXNW restaurant and brewery served Austinites for 20 years. One of the things Tucker says he'll miss most is seeing joy and friendship grow at his customers' tables.

"The guys at the table right outside the brewery door that were laughing their heads off when I walked by... that's why I'm in this business. To be walking out Press Release Distribution Service In Austin of the door... it's hard," he says.

For people saying goodbye to Magnolia Cafe in West Austin and North by Northwest in North Austin, they're losing more than a place to eat or a place to work-- it's a chapter of their lives coming to a close.

"Some day we'll be back doing something else, but for now it's hard," Tucker says holding back tears.

NXNW plans to have a beer and merchandise sale in the near future. The have memorabilia and already-brewed beer they want your help sending off to a good home.

Magnolia Cafe says they do plan to re-open their South Congress location after restaurant restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic are lifted.

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