We lost some great Texas restaurants in the past year, whether to the pandemic or other causes. Here, as part of our Where to Eat Now package for 2021, we remember a few of the places we’ll dearly miss.


Big, slick Américas celebrated pan-Latin cuisine long before it became fashionable.

Pioneering Benjy’s brought hip dining to quiet Rice Village.

Bernie’s Burger Bus had towering, decadent burgers down pat.

Helen in the Heights sizzled with Greek Cypriot meatballs.

Finally, we bid a fond ciao to two pizza specialists: Dolce Vita, with its Neapolitan pies, and Barry’s Pizza, a fixture for 37 years.

San Antonio

Chef-owner Lisa Astorga-Watel’s brunch and Bloody Marys put Bite on the map.

Southern waffles and blue-plate specials had a steadfast following at Eastside Kitchenette.

Fontaine’s Southern Diner & Bar made the most of liver and onions.

Mexican Manhattan served home-style meals for more than six decades on the River Walk.

Rio Grande Valley

Lone Star BBQ, in Mission, has gone to that great smoker in the sky.

Ted’s Restaurant, on South Padre Island, survived spring breaks and hurricanes, but not the loss of its lease.


Downtown and below ground, Dakota’s Steakhouse drew the power-lunch and dinner-date crowd for almost four decades. 

Flora Street Cafe’s stunning tasting menu was chef Stephan Pyles’s coda as a restaurateur.

Hattie’s charmed diners with Low Country cuisine.

Quirky, well-loved Highland Park Cafeteria closed after 95 years, auctioning its memorabilia.

Newcomer Salaryman’s handmade ramen and sublime yakitori were overnight sensations.


Cafe Josie’s romantic brick courtyard was a shady retreat in old West Austin. 

Mother’s Cafe defined “hippie” and “vegetarian” for forty years. 

A fixture of Weird Austin since 1992, Shady Grove made its Airstream Chili a must-order.

Threadgill’s was the roadhouse where young Janis Joplin got her start; later the kitchen put its spin on Texas comfort food.

Fort Worth

Bird Café’s spicy shrimp and dreamy grits took that classic to new heights.

No visit to El Rancho Grande was complete without indulging in its signature thin chips. 

La Piazza’s quiet elegance delighted its uptown clientele for more than 25 years before it closed at the end of 2019.

El Paso 

Famed for baked spaghetti and Chianti bottles hanging everywhere, Sorrento Italian Restaurant was an El Paso treasure for sixty years.

This article originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of Texas Monthly with the headline “Where to Eat Now.” Subscribe today