Anyone whose patronized the popular Austin restaurant Alice’s Soul Food in recent months may have encountered a sign advertising not a lunch special, but that the longtime West Side staple, located at 5638 W. Chicago Ave., is moving.
“To Our Customers,” the sign reads, before notifying patrons that the restaurant will relocate to 5658 W. Madison St., at the intersection of Madison and Parkside. The new location will open on October 1.
The move is bound to present many West Side diners with something of a quandary. You see, come October, Alice’s will be just a few blocks down from that other popular Austin soul food restaurant — MacArthur’s, 5412 W. Madison St.
Madison’s current soul food juggernaut was recently featured in a Chicago Ethnic Dining Guide, produced by Kendall College, as the West Side soul food restaurant with the highest Yelp rating (it obtained a 3.5 out of 5).
But if any establishment can compete virtually shoulder-to-shoulder with MacArthur’s it’s Alice’s. The restaurant was founded in the 1970s by Mississippi-native Alice Carter, who died in 2012. Since its creation, Alice’s has long been a favorite go-to spot for many West Side diners.
This won’t be Alice’s first relocation. It has moved multiple times over its more than 30-year existence, but has spent the majority of that time on Chicago Avenue. So far, how the move to Madison will affect Alice’s future viability is anyone’s guess.
When asked what he thought of Alice’s move, MacArthur’s Restaurant owner MacArthur Alexander didn’t hesitate.
“I welcome the competition,” he said. “The competition is good. There’s enough money for all of us.”
In the meantime, West Side diners can only imagine what Madison St. will be like in a few months with this coming surfeit of soul; although, things won’t change too much.
The street already boasts several popular soul food spots, albeit further east. For instance, Ruby’s Restaurant is at 3175 W Madison St. and Wallace’s Catfish Corner is at 2800 W Madison St.
Despite repeated attempts to make contact with them, Alice’s owners were unavailable for comment. More as this story develops.