March 17, 2006
Earl Abel rides again

Best news I've heard this week.

Earl Abel's, the landmark coffee shop that locals have cherished since 1933, will continue operating at its current location under new ownership after today, which was slated to be the restaurant's last day.

Jerry Abel, the namesake's son and current owner, said Tuesday that he has made a deal to sell the diner's concept, including the name, recipes and fixtures.

Though details about the handover are expected at a 10 a.m. news conference today, the San Antonio Express-News has learned the restaurant will belong to Arias Retail, a local company whose partners include Gene Larsen and Roger Arias.

The property where Earl Abel's sits now — a prime piece of real estate at Hildebrand and Broadway — has been sold to local developer Koontz McCombs. It plans to rezone the 2.4 acres and replace the restaurant with a luxury condominium high-rise.

"Now I'll have some place to go eat," Abel said. "I think it'll be all right."

Restaurant staffers said the new owners plan to reopen at the current location next Tuesday with expanded hours and offer three meals a day.

Current hours have been curtailed, due in part to a shrinking staff; breakfast hasn't been offered since March 3.


Restaurant staffers, many who have worked there for decades, say they've been called to a Friday meeting, where they'll be asked if they'd like to continue working.

They reported that once the restaurant reopens, it would remain at the current location for a few months before moving north to a spot on Austin Highway where Hometown Buffet was. Roger Arias declined to confirm those details.

The new location has since been confirmed. I was depressed about this when the news of Earl Abel's pending closure first hit, so I'm quite happy to hear that the place will live on, even if it's not in the original building. Thanks to Matt and The Jeffersonian for the link.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 17, 2006 to The great state of Texas | TrackBack

I have to say I liked the concept of Earl Abel's more than the actual food there. You know, just driving by it, and maybe going there every once in a while.

The wait staff was unreplaceable.

Now, if the original Taco Cabana went away, I might go into a full blown funk.

Posted by: Steph on March 18, 2006 10:17 AM