Thriving in Austin Requires Dogged Endurance

Endurance by Jann Alexander © 2014
Endurance by Jann Alexander © 2014

Endurance. That’s what it takes to evade the Vanishing Austin label in a city where development is on steroids. Local landmarks in Austin, Texas are nothing if not part of an endangered species. After a decade of rapid growth here, that’s meant higher high rises crowding out the rich local fabric of the city’s laidback roots, so the businesses that endure stand proud, if not as tall. Take Hut’s Hamburgers. Still serving Blue Plate Specials since 1969, Monday thru Friday All Day Long, in the shadow of all that’s high and shiny and new. And Hut’s is still thriving.

Hut's Endures by Jann Alexander © 2014
Hut’s Endures by Jann Alexander © 2014

Calling itself “an Austin tradition since 1939,” Hut’s serves its Blue Plate Specials in a humble deco-styled 1939 building on West 6th Street that’s seen many owners (and even a flood)—from Sammie’s Drive-in and Eli’s Lounge to Picante Mexican Restaurant. But since 1969, when Homer “Hut” Hutson moved his 30-year-old burger business in, grease and tradition remain on the menu along with the Specials. Despite high rises on the horizon, Hut’s continues to rise above it all. 

Visit Vanishing Austin. See all 99+ Austin gems I’ve photographed since 2004, and see which ones are thriving, surviving and gone—but not forgotten. Wondering where things stand, or don’t? Take a look at my Endangered Species of Austin poster, below. BUY NOW: $25.

Endangered Species of Austin poster by Jann Alexander © 2013
Endangered Species of Austin Poster, $25

Shop with PayPal: There are nearly 100 photographs in my ongoing Vanishing Austin series; many are lost, but many are survivors still. Admire them all in a slideshow, HERE. Prints start at $35.

You can marvel at what’s lost and what’s survived in my Endangered Species of Austin poster, featuring 16 Austin icons, and sized at a handsomely large 24 x 36,” available for $25, HERE.

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10 thoughts on “Thriving in Austin Requires Dogged Endurance

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  1. I have a vanishing Austin question for you. Years ago I used to buy El Galindo tortilla chips. This is probably 20 years ago now, and I still remember them! Are they still made in Austin ? I haven’t seen them in a long time and nothing else is really as good!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Peter, I wish I could help you out here, but I’ve been here a mere 10 years (though I got here as quick as I could) and I’ve never come across them in that time. Let’s leave it to the readers to answer this burning question! Readers, can you help Peter find his beloved El Galindos?


  3. I haven’t thought of El Galindo chip in many years. They were very good. Lightly fried and the shape of the chips was vastly different than most of today’s chips. Ok, now you’ve got me thinking. Where can I get these chips?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. By a fluke I was on West 6th Street the night this post appeared. Hut’s (and the Hoffbrau, near by) were open for biz with their great neons all lit up. I think you must mean the former Opal Divine’s, formerly in a great old house with a big covered front porch that I fondly recall for the bowls of fresh water the wait staff served up to the pooches tethered to their owners there. It left this world recently, and sadly, and I don’t yet know what will replace it. But if they serve dogs before they serve their people, I’d be surprised. Thanks for commenting, Barbara.


  4. You know, Jann, being an Austin native, I sometimes run across old relics (like Hut’s Hamburgers) that I actually remember being built, or in this case, moving in. (I remember at least one of the building’s previous occupants.) Sometimes the death of a place stabs my heart, but other times I am indifferent, or I think “Good riddance- it was hideous to begin with.”


    1. That’s a native’s perspective, and a good one to keep in mind. Though I’m not sure I’ve yet photographed anything I thought was hideous to begin with (that would automatically rule it out, actually). Thinking of anything in particular you’d like to share? Hoping it’s not Hut’s . . .


      1. Haha! No, not Hut’s. I am thinking of some of those 1960’s buildings whose chief asset was their cost. Beautiful turn-of-the-century old homes were razed for… the Baptist Student Center on San Antonio Street.


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