Austin City Limits 2021: Local businesses recap Weekend One

As an unofficial gateway into Zilker Park, businesses on Barton Springs Road are keeping busy this weekend.

For Ski Shores Cafe, it’s nothing new.

"We’ve been on this street with different concepts for about 10 years, so about 10 to 11 years we’ve been doing this for ACL," said Cory Myers, director of operations at Ski Shores Cafe.

However, Myers has noticed some differences he attributes to the pandemic. He said while sales are around double what they would be on an average weekend, he estimated they’re about 15-20% less than past ACL weekends.

"We’re not seeing as many people out on the streets, but we are seeing a good flow, and the people coming in are just excited to be outside and at a festival again," said Myers. "Definitely a different demographic and a different vibe, but everybody’s having fun."

Next door at Austin Eastciders, staff are working their very first ACL Festival.

"We didn’t really know exactly what to expect," said assistant general manager Emily Murphy. "It’s gone very swimmingly and very smoothly…and it’s really cool to see everybody coming out."

Both Austin Eastciders and Ski Shores Cafe have also been making adjustments to make up for being short-staffed.

"It’s cool to see everybody coming out post-pandemic, having fun again, and with our patio we’re able to socially distance people and still let them have a great time," said Murphy.

Down the road, Patrick Larussa has been trying to steer hungry festival-goers from MacDonald’s to something a bit healthier.

"We’ve been standing at the curb just saying hi and giving out some of our sea moss smoothies," said Larussa.

Larussa manages ATX FOOD CO., a vegan food truck off South Lamar, which comes with its own challenges.

"When we get poppin’ like we did this morning or yesterday during the day, we’ll have five or six or even one at each station," he said. "We’re just sort of vibing out, trying to communicate, because it’s a very tight space in the food truck."

ACL is estimated to bring in more than 70,000 people per day of the festival. Weekend Two begins Friday, Oct. 8.

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