Locally owned East Austin taco shop suddenly closes after 6 years

A local taco shop closes on the east side after six years with immediate effect.

El Chilito, the faster, even more casual offshoot of the quick-casual El Chile, will close its location at E. Seventh St. 1627 E. on Friday, January 15 at 3:00 p.m. The El Chile Group, the owner of the restaurant, has announced its termination just the lock at an hour before the doors were closed.

Orlando Sanchez, COO of the El Chile Group, blamed the effects of the ongoing pandemic as the reason for the shutdown.

“Over the past few months we’ve been working to keep this location alive, but with the ongoing lack of commuting, downtown shopping, and catering for business lunches, it is simply no longer possible to keep the doors open,” Sanchez said in the announcement.

El Chilito’s other locations on Manor Road and Menchacha will remain open for takeaway, delivery and some limited outdoor seating, the company said. A third location in El Chilito on Burnet Road was closed in 2018.

This isn’t the only restaurant the El Chile Group lost to the pandemic. In May 2020, the Peruvian restaurant Yuyo was permanently closed, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a May publication, El Chile founder Carlos Rivera spoke about the restaurant he opened with his sister, chef Maribel Rivero: “Introducing Peruvian food with Texas flair to Austin was a love job for Maribel and me. However, this pandemic environment has proven to be insurmountable for our development concept. ”

Guests can also visit sister restaurants, El Alma on Barton Springs Road and El Chile on Manor Road. Both concepts are open to take-out, delivery and socially distant dine-in service. El Alma also offers a monthly subscription service called El Alma at Home.

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