“Looks like the Austin Grill in Penn Quarter is closed.”

by Prince Of Petworth April 27, 2016 at 8:00 am 19 Comments

austin grill
750 E Street, NW

A reader reports:

“Looks like the Austin Grill in Penn Quarter is closed. Can’t say that it will be missed. I hadn’t been in several years but the food and service were consistently poor. Hopefully something great takes its place.”

Ed. Note: Austin Grill’s website still lists a Penn Quarter location though their phone just rings without going to voicemail. Anyone know what day they closed? I feel like they’ve been there forever, anyone remember what year they opened? Years ago before options were a plenty in PQ this was a pretty great happy hour spot. Updates when more is learned.

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 7.35.28 AM
E Street looking east toward 7th via google maps

  • Low Headways

    What was also weird yesterday was that they had that sign up, but I’m pretty sure the lights were on inside, and they’d also set up the tables and chairs on the sidewalk as usual.

  • Philippe Lecheval

    I haven’t been there in maybe ten years, but the food was bad even then. Was it ever any good?

    • Food was bad. I’m from Austin, and nothing about this place was Austin-like. The nachos in particular were abysmal.

  • 7thStTechGuy

    I know it stinks for the folks that worked there, but that was one of the worst restaurants I have ever been to. Saving grace was the pound of wings when the Caps either won or scored 6 goals, cant remember which…it was a long time ago.

    • A. Nony Mouse

      Agreed…which is why it always amazed me that they continued to expand. I guess they thought their bland style of Tex Mex was perfect for a chain restaurant?

  • ah

    They’ve been in that location at least since 1997, perhaps earlier. I think basically when the Lansburgh apartment building above it was finished.

  • F St NE

    The Austin Grill in downtown Silver Spring closed as well about a month ago. The website still has it open.

  • anon

    fingers crossed for an applebees!! jk

  • CapitalDame

    Can’t wait to see what goes in there!

  • Duponter

    Weirdly, it did seem to stay fairly stead in terms of business. Mostly tourists, obviously. But still. I do not recall ever eating there, but whenever I walked by, there seemed to be a stead crowd.

  • John

    Austin Grill started in Glover Park as a single restaurant. It had edible food back in the 90s, and was packed on weekends. I was a regular. At some point a “restaurant group” bought them out and started expanding. They quickly closed the Glover Park location soon after. I believe ownership transferred between “groups” at least twice, perhaps even three times over the years. Everything kept getting worse after each ownership transfer. Somewhere along the line they changed the recipe for their grilled chicken wings, which were unique and excellent IMHO. I never went back after they did that. Their shutdown was long overdue. Now if I can only get a hold of their original wing recipe…

  • tigershark

    Wow I walked by just 5 nights ago (last Friday) and they were open and ~75% full. It was odd because in the off-season, and weeknights, it as a ghost town and I wondered how they survived when it was that forlorn and all the new/better options opened all around it. I remember as a kid down in Alexandria and the Austin Grill South as a great oasis in an area of the country that did not have many good Mexican food options, and that it was quite good. It has slipped over the years, but still sad to see – end of an era.

  • Rich

    It’s good to see crappy Mexican go out of business rather than open-up. Perhaps there is hope for DC’s Mecican and Tex-Mex restaurant scene.

    • CHGal

      It’s only good for the scene if it’s replaced by a better Mex/TexMex place.

    • “Perhaps there is hope for DC’s Mecican and Tex-Mex restaurant scene…”

      Only if the Alero chain of restaurants is the next to go!

  • Back in the day, the executive chef was Anne Cashion and then they hired this chef named Jose Andres. The food was pretty great and the restaurant group, pleased with their success between ’88 and ’93 decided to open a tapas joint named Jaleo…

    The last time I ate at the Penn Quarter Austin Grill, many years ago, it was pretty miserable. But 25+ years ago, it made a huge splash in the DC food scene!

  • Derek

    I’ve worked around the corner from this place for four years and I’ve never even thought about going in. Heard it was terrible, and there are much better options in Penn Quarter/Chinatown.


Subscribe to our mailing list