South Austin Mainstay Patsy's Cowgirl Cafe Has Closed

Original owners say they will reopen after rebranding and renovations

Longtime South Austin restaurant Patsy’s Cowgirl Cafe closed this week after almost 13 years in business, thanks to an increasingly common problem in our rapidly expanding city’s food scene. But that’s not the end of the story.

“It’s really a long story, but basically costs to operate (especially rent) exceed revenue,” said Susie VanSumeren, one of the cafe’s current owners, via email. “The original owners are going to open it back up in a few weeks. … They own multiple properties so it’s a little more cost effective for them to operate.”

Patsy’s opened in 2007 serving a “Texas roadside cafe comfort-food menu” in a space filled with local art and musicians. It was a feat to get off the ground, what with the original owners, Shannon Sedwick and Michael Shelton, also owning successful and definitive local venues Esther’s Follies, the Tavern, and the recently renovated Star Seeds Cafe (now called Stars Cafe). Sedwick confirmed to the Chronicle that she and Shelton have taken back over the business.

“The arts entrepreneurs [Sedwick and Shelton] and their small band of extremely gifted artisan pals have more than enough creative energy to develop multiple interesting venues,” wrote the late great Virginia B. Wood in her August 2017 Patsy’s review. “Shelton in particular has always had the knack for reimagining ordinary spaces into extraordinary places. That's exactly what he's done with the former drab roadside warehouse that is now a very stylish bar/restaurant/music hall done up in the best Texas roadhouse tradition. At both lunch and dinner, the menu features a short list of appetizers and salads, sandwiches, and burgers cleverly named for local celebrities, and blue-plate entrées such as meatloaf and chicken-fried steak.”

Maintaining that vibe and menu has been the work of Susie VanSumeren, and Sedwick and Shelton plan to shake things up once again. Sedwick said, “We have plans to renovate, clean up, rebrand under a new name, and change the menu to be lighter fare, more farm-to-table, but still home-cooked in style. We will still be open for a great lunch and Happy Hour! We will be reopening in 2-4 weeks,” said Sedwick. Stay tuned for information on the upcoming reopening.

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