JAN 3 2012.UPDATE: EL GRECO HAS SHUTTERED. THE EPISODE OF KITCHEN NIGHTMARES THAT GORDON RAMSAY TAPED LAST FALL HAS YET TO AIR
Austin lost a margin of its soul when the city caved into developers who wanted to bulldoze the old stagecoach stop on Guadalupe that had hosted two legendary steakhouses for decades.
The ancient building was where Ruth’s Chris opened its first Austin location before moving down to 6th street in the 90’s.
After Ruth’s Chris vacated Ray’s Steakhouse followed and became a legendary joint where the swells relaxed over 32 ounce T-bones and big glasses of high dollar whisky. The history of this building was well documented stretching all the way back to the 1800s when it had provided a resting point for folks following the trail that Thornton Chisholm had made famous.
Of course none of this mattered as Will Wynn [anybody remember him?] always had a propensity to drop to his knees when a developer came along with a few greenbacks to wave around.
So the historic building was demolished and in its place a big, modern structure was thrown up with a variety of for rent signs adorning the stone facade.
Along came El Greco, a Greek restaurant run by the Konstantinidis family.
We ate there once, years back when the little restaurant first opened. That meal is lost to the sands of time but as ardent lovers of Greek food it must have been negligible or else we would’ve made it a weekly affair like we did when Ted’s Greek Diner [also subsequently bulldozed ] was open on Congress.
Apparently the business is in heavy crisis mode as one Gordon Ramsay is bringing his traveling act, Kitchen Nightmares, to town to attempt a rescue.
Kitchen Nightmares is entertaining. We love watching Gordon, neck bulging with arteries about to burst, hair waving this way and that, vocal cords banded like high tension wires-all in an effort to get wayward restaurateurs to label date their refrigerated goods and perhaps use a little windex on the front door ever so often.
It’s a bit of circus to go with your bread and that’s about it.
We wish El Greco well. The folks running the joint are an amiable lot. We don’t remember the food but we do recall visiting with the owner who sat with us for a bit after the business had closed for the evening.
We enjoyed glasses of Ouzo which is a great pleasure after any meal but particularly after a Mediterranean one.
El Greco would not have been our first choice for Gordon’s rescue act hereabouts but we will keep our eyes peeled for Ramsay sightings as he’s a notorious chowhound.
3016 Guadalupe St