The convoluted history of The El Cantina Superior has come to an end.
On Monday, Delicious Concepts, the restaurant group that owns The El as well as the rapidly expanding Pink's Pizza chain and three other concepts, announced that the restaurant has closed. In its place, a new, yet-to-be named "Brewpub and American Kitchen" led by brewmaster Erik Ogershok, a "longtime friend" of Delicious Concepts owner Ken Bridge who will leave his role as brewmaster for Real Ale Brewing Co. from Blanco, according to a release.
The new restaurant will feature an in-house butcher shop and pizzeria as part of its total overhaul. Beers from other breweries will be available, but the concept will focus on Ogershok's work. Delicious has not issued a timeline for the transformation, but it does promise to provide both a name and more information about pop-ups featuring new beer soon.
Shuttering The El ends the saga that began shortly after the restaurant opened. When initial reviews were decidedly negative, Delicious Concepts brought in F.E.E.D. TX (Liberty Kitchen, BRC) to rework the menu and train the staff. Under F.E.E.D.'s guidance, The El's reputation improved and crowds followed. However, after F.E.E.D. ended its management agreement in May, the restaurant stumbled. Mixed beverage tax records show that sales plummeted from approximately $100,000 in March, April and May to less than $65,000 in June.
Replacing The El with a brewpub pairs well with Delicious Concept's other recent decision to transform Witchcraft Tavern from a burger and craft beer joint into a restaurant oriented around cocktails and innovative small plates from former Dosi chef Jordan Asher. It also gives the Heights another local brewery option to pair with recently-opened Town in City Brewing.
The merging of Delicious Concepts' expertise with pizza and Ogershok's highly-regarded brewing skills gives the new restaurant some serious credibility that should make it a draw. Hopefully, this will be the last time Delicious Concepts has to rework the space.