An old building on Hutchison Street is undergoing renovations to accommodate Shy Inc.’s Louie’s Beer Garden and Seafood Shack, a Cajun restaurant. Black’s Barbecue has also announced plans to open a location in San Marcos and a company called Austin Street Tavern LLC has taken initial steps to build a brewery and upscale restaurant on a blighted stretch of S. LBJ Drive. MERCURY PHOTO by BRAD ROLLINS
by BRAD ROLLINS
Three new restaurants in San Marcos’ Central Business District are either under construction or in the planning stages, including Black’s Barbecue, the decades-old Lockhart favorite with a cultish following among smokepit pilgrims.
On Tuesday, the Planning & Zoning Commission rezoned two tracts of property at 500 and 520 Hull Street from industrial to mixed-use to accommodate Black’s planned new location next door to the former Texas Reds Steakhouse off S. Guadalupe Street. After renovations to an existing building are completed, the restaurant will total 4,300 square feet indoor and 2,800 square feet outdoors with 150 seats, according to site plans on file with City Hall.
Also on Tuesday, planning commissioners approved a six-month conditional use permit that presumably will allow Austin Street Tavern LLC to move forward with plans to build what it describes as an upscale restaurant, brewery and gelato shop on the site of the former Costumed Occasions at 150 S. LBJ Drive. The establishment is being called Aquabrew.
The building will total 12,000 to 14,000 square feet with a total of 300 seats, half of which are planned for an outdoor courtyard.
In recommending that planning commissioners approve the permit, city planning staff said the multi-million dollar investment could spur redevelopment on the deteriorating stretch of buildings that welcome visitors to downtown.
But two owners of a nearby office building at 110 E. San Antonio Street — who said they were speaking for other like-minded property owners on the south side of the square — said allowing Aquabrew to host outdoor music would set the scene for another nasty fight between longtime downtown property owners and new establishments with inherently noisy business models.
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