Quirky Classic Austin Late Night Eatery Undergoes a Makeover
Owners of the Tavern and Esther’s Follies bought Star Seeds Cafe in July
By Emily Beyda and Jessi Cape,
4:05PM, Thu. Sep. 5, 2019
Tucked beside I-35, with its iconic neon sign advertising a 24-hour schedule, Star Seeds Cafe is a familiar sight to any Austinite out and about after the 2am witching hour.
This funky old Austin classic has seen the Eastside shift from family neighborhood to hipster hotspot, weathering demographic shifts that felled many local restaurants, slinging classic diner breakfasts all the while. Now it’s under new management, and has a new sign.
Shannon Sedwick and Michael Shelton, the team behind Esther's Follies, Patsy's Cowgirl, and the Tavern, purchased Star Seeds Cafe in July, shortening the name slightly to Stars Cafe.
Sedwick told the Chronicle, “We have bought the business from Ellis Winstanley, who also sold us the Tavern at 12th and Lamar. He was happy with all our work on revitalizing the Tavern, and when we approached him about Starseeds Cafe [sic], he was interested in divesting that business, as he is concentrating on real estate projects. The diner was originally called Stars Cafe, when it was part of a motel called Stars Inn, which is now a Days Inn. So we thought to bring it back to its former name, from the time when we first used to hang out in the early morning hours drinking coffee while we were in school at UT in the 70's.”
“We are definitely cleaning, painting, and refurbishing the interior, but not changing its classic diner aesthetic. The late night/early morning hours will remain the same,” Sedwick added. Sounds like the diner goth chic combo of dark purple walls and black and white checkered linoleum that faithful patrons have come to love will remain.
The updated menu is slated to stay true to the original Star Seeds Cafe spirit, sticking to a list of diner classics. Hopefully fan favorites like their chicken-fried steak are here to stay, and they’ll surely be hanging on to their commitment to all day/all night breakfast.The restaurant’s website and menu will be updated once renovations are done – bad news for those of us who harbor a certain nostalgia for that single-page early Aughts web design, but a boon, no doubt, to accessibility.
“The new menu will be keeping the favorite items that Starseeds customers have enjoyed, with some new menu ideas from our chef, Johnny Romo, at the Tavern,” said Sedwick. “We are still working on menu ideas/changes, and on interior decoration, while keeping the place open all its scheduled 24 hours a day.”
Whatever happens, loyalists will doubtless be happy to hear the venerable institution has survived yet another shift in the constantly changing tides of Austin’s competitive restaurant industry.
Sedwick added, “With all the great restaurants of Austin's past continuing to close due to high property taxes and spiraling costs, we are glad to keep some special places alive for Austinites to enjoy, and keep the weirdness going for the next generation.”