Another piece of old Austin's soul is shutting its doors. El Gallo will end its 60 year run on Sunday, January 29.
“We own our property, have no liens or debts on it, we just decided to go ahead and get out while we're on top,” said Abel Gonzalez Kennedy, owner and vice president.
The reason for this is rising expenses and property taxes.
“Taxes have doubled almost every year for the last five years. About five years ago they were in the 20s, and now they're in the 90s,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy's parents opened El Gallo in 1957. It took off. But now, not only are costs rising, but things are different since his mom died a year and half ago.
“She was the heart and soul of this restaurant. Since she's been gone, it's not the same without her here,” said Kennedy.
“I heard on Facebook it's closing. I had to get here as fast as I could,” said Don A. Williamson, customer.
Customers feel the pain too. It's a sign of a bigger issue the city faces: affordability. Rising rents and taxes are forcing old businesses to close.
“It's sad about SoCo because SoCo has actually been a thing where it's eating its own. It's taking away what used to be good,” said Williamson.
“We've seen Fran's Hamburgers go out. Our good friends worked there for four years. Opal Devine's closed,” said Kennedy.
Establishments along South Congress Avenue shutting down is no longer surprising. It seems to have driven many to ask the unfortunate question of "who's next?"
El Gallo only went up on prices on average of 50 cents in the last five years. The owner did not want to compromise price for affordability. Kennedy says they don't plan to open another location at this time.