Alice’s Restaurant, the popular Austin soul food restaurant, has moved from the West Side after 34 years. According to Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th), whose ward includes the restaurant, the business relocated to an unidentified western suburb. The restaurant’s owners couldn’t be reached for comment by deadline. The restaurant’s phone line is currently disconnected.
A note that was left on the door of the restaurant, located at 5658 W. Madison Ave., thanked customers and informed readers that the business would continue catering on a “part-time basis.” The note indicates that the business closed in July.
Alice’s was founded 34 years ago by Alice Carter, a plastics factory worker born in Pearl, Mississippi in 1935. According to Donna Carter, Alice’s daughter, her mother would often bring leftovers from Sunday dinner to her job, and her co-workers enjoyed it so much that they urged her to open her own restaurant. Alice Carter began working at a local restaurant in 1961 before opening her own near Madison and Kildare in 1972.
When that first business closed, Carter opened Alice’s Soul Food in 1983 at 5658 W. Madison Ave. Five years later, she opened a second restaurant further north at 5638 W. Chicago Ave. Carter eventually closed the original Alice’s to focus on her second location.
In 2004, Carter relocated the restaurant to Division and Pine before returning to the Chicago Ave. location in 2010. When Carter passed away in 2012, her two children, Jackie and Glenn Carter, took over the business. And in 2015, they relocated the restaurant to its original Madison Ave. location.
Over its three decades on the West Side, Alice’s became a community institution. U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (7th) often dined there, along with a slate of other local dignitaries. The restaurant was also a meeting ground for a range of local interests. West Side Women, a networking group organized by this newspaper’s associate publisher, Dawn Ferencak, often met at Alice’s.
The note that was left on the restaurant’s door, signed by “Alice’s Restaurant and staff,” gave a July 16 closing date.
“To our loyal and dedicated customers: it is with sadness [sic] to say that we are closing our doors after thirty four years,” it stated. “We are very blessed to have such wonderful and loyal customers for so many years … We all know without you for so many years there would be no Alice’s. Once again, thank you for your dedication and loyalty for so many years.”
Earlier this month, some workers were seen loading up some of the restaurant’s inventory onto a truck. They declined to provide any details about the move, only adding that the restaurant is closing.
Candace Lucas, CEO of Rid Alert, a pest control business located next door to Alice’s, said she had no idea what happened with the restaurant outside of the fact that it was closed.
Taliaferro said that the building in which Alice’s was located was sold. The alderman said that he didn’t know which suburb Alice’s may have moved to or what form the business would take after leaving its longtime West Side location.