Austin's last remaining Night Hawk restaurant closing doors

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Photo courtesy The Frisco Shop.

The Night Hawk Frisco Shop is closing its doors after 65 years. The restaurant is the last remaining restaurant in the iconic family owned Night Hawk restaurant chain.

Frisco Shop's will be open to public until Sunday, July 29. Co-owners R. Harry and Julia Akin say in a news release that changing demographics, increasing competition and a tight labor market all led to their decision to close.

The Frisco Shop opened in 1953 at the corner of Koenig Lane and Burnet Road in Austin with room for fewer than 30 customers. As it got more popular, the restaurant expanded three more times over the years. It remained at its original location until 2008 when it moved a half mile north to its current location at 6801 Burnet Road.

“The Frisco Shop is part of my DNA,” R. Harry says in the release. “I grew up on a farm on Burnet Road, riding my bicycle by the restaurant on a regular basis. I remember buying an order of french fries for fifteen cents. I want to express appreciation to the people of Austin for their loyal support of the Frisco Shop over the period of its 65-year existence.”

The restaurant's closing also marks the end of the Night Hawk restaurant chain. Night Hawk Restaurants was founded in 1932 in Austin by Harry Akin and at its peak in the 1970's there were seven operating in Texas. Four in Austin, two in San Antonio and one in Houston.

While many will remember the food, Night Hawk Restaurants is also remembered by many as helping spearheading the move to integrate restaurants in Austin in 1960 by becoming one of the first businesses in the city to do so.

“The closing of the Night Hawk Frisco Shop is the end of an era in Austin. Many may remember former Austin Mayor Harry Akin getting invited to the White House by President Kennedy to serve on a business group on civil rights. He was a true trailblazer," Texas Restaurant Association CEO Richie Jackson says. "The Night Hawk was also the first Austin restaurant to offer late-night service. Their vision, generosity and contributions to the Austin community and the Texas Restaurant Association will not be forgotten.” 

You can get more information about the restaurant here.