Austin icon El Azteca closing next week

One of Austin’s oldest Mexican restaurants will serves its final customers next week, as El Azteca (2600 E. Seventh St.) will close after service on September 29. Jorge D. Guerra and Ninfa Guerra founded the restaurant in 1963.

(Eric Webb/American-Statesman)

(Eric Webb/American-Statesman)

The restaurant, known for for its colorful calendars, serves Tex-Mex staples like enchiladas and tacos, and earned a name for itself based on the strength of dishes like juicy cabrito, rich chicken mole and barbacoa de cabeza.

“Barrio restaurants owned by people who had a strong sense of community are (becoming) a thing of the past and that’s a shame. But between the proliferation of chains, the gentrification, increased property values and the aging of long time barrio residents, those kinds of places are difficult to sustain,” former Statesman editorial page editor Arnold Garcia wrote in an email.

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Alejandro Escovedo and Anthony Bourdain eat at El Azteca. (Credit: Screen grab from YouTube clip of the Food Network’s “No Reservations.”)

The restaurant has been a cultural touchstone and meeting place for the East Austin community over the decades, and Austin music great Alejandro Escovedo even told Anthony Bourdain that it was the first place he ever dined in Austin. (See that clip from “No Reservations” at the 27-minute mark here.)

The Guerra family has not made public the name of thebuyer.

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