An iconic Austin restaurant is saying goodbye to customers with one last Thanksgiving meal.
“It's just been gobble, gobble, gobble all day long,” said Eddie Wilson, owner of Threadgill’s.
Though thankful for the holiday experience, it was clear one thing was on everyone's mind. Threadgill’s World Headquarters restaurant and music venue on Riverside Drive is closing its doors for good in just over a week.
“We've been coming here for over 23 years and we love it. It's the history of Austin and the fact that they're closing is just devastating,” said Susan Adams, longtime customer of Threadgill’s.
“It saddens me that so many places that I got to liking a lot have closed,” said Helen Hamlin, also a Threadgill’s customer.
Wilson is the latest victim of Austin’s skyrocketing property values.
“Our property tax went up several hundred percent so, what it feels like is, we're paying the tax like we're a high-rise when we're really a one-floor mom and pop show,” Wilson said.
“So many good things that make Austin weird are closing and the City of Austin has just become very homogenized, very Americanized, and it's losing a lot of its weirdness,” said Miriam Mustelier, who also spent Thanksgiving at the restaurant.
Wilson's love of music is obvious just by looking at all the posters and pictures around the room. He used to own the legendary concert hall Armadillo World Headquarters on a strip of land just next to Threadgill's, though the two establishments never existed at the same time.
“I've been trying to cling to this curb all of my adult life. The Armadillo World Headquarters right next door, it got runoff and now we're getting runoff,” Wilson said.
“This is a historic spot and it should remain a historic spot. The city needs to do something about it, and do something soon, before all of our iconic places are gone,” said Adams.
The original Threadgill's location on North Lamar isn't going anywhere just yet, but property taxes are rising there too. Wilson said, without a 15 percent increase in customers, the future isn't certain there either. “We desperately need these people to come up to North Lamar. The new saying is, ‘it ain't very far, just up North Lamar,’” Wilson said.
“We have to now. It's farther away, but we'll go,” said Adams.
As for the future of the riverside location, Wilson can't be sure, but he has his suspicions. “There'll be a high rise here someday, I suppose, but we're going to have to move on down the road,” Wilson said.
Wilson is very concerned for the 70 employees that will be out of a job come December 2, when the restaurant closes. He’s also planning to auction off all of the posters and pictures covering the walls on December 8.