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Austin will lose a piece of its dining history later this month when the Frisco closes July 29. The shutter, first confirmed by the Austin Business Journal, will be the end of the 65-year run for a restaurant that was originally opened by Harry Akin at Koenig Lane and Burnet Road in 1953.
Known for its comfort food like beef tips, chicken-fried steak, chicken and dumplings and icebox pie, the Frisco Shop was part of the Night Hawk chain that Akin, mayor of Austin from 1967 to 1969, started in 1932 when he opened the first Night Hawk at Riverside Drive and Congress Avenue. The Frisco Shop, which moved into the former Curra’s Grill location at 6801 Burnet Road when the original was demolished to make way for a Walgreen’s, was the last of that storied chain.
In addition to being a staple for decades for families and devoted regulars, the Frisco Shop and Night Hawk also played important roles in the sociopolitical history of Austin, as Akin was one of the first white restaurateurs to serve black customers.
“He was a hero to me,” former Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn told the Statesman in 2008 when the new Frisco Shop location opened. “Harry was open and accessible to all, which is what Austin is all about. He was a visionary and with the times.”