ACL brings thousands to Austin, but one downtown business loses most of its customers

Casa de Luz, a restaurant in downtown Austin, lost 90 percent of its customers due to road closures.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin City Limits Music Festival generated $369 million in economic activity in 2021. Hotels, restaurants and local businesses are all feeling the impact of the ACL. But while it was a lucrative time for some, it was a huge loss for one Austin restaurant.

Casa de Luz is located on Toomey Road. This is one of the roads closed because of the ACL. The road closure is also the reason why Casa de Luz has lost about 90 percent of its customers.

“I think yesterday we had about 100 [customers] All day,” says Stephanie Martinez, Casa de Luz manager. “So, that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. “

Usually, they have more than 500 customers just for lunch and dinner.

Martinez said they’ve been trying to get the word out over the years.

“We do post on our social media that we are open,” Martinez said. “We have a newsletter that we love to put out, trying to make sure community members know we’re open. It’s still not as effective.”

What many people don’t know is that the sign that says “ROAD CLOSED” also says “RESIDENT AND BUSINESS ACCESS ONLY”, which means that those who participate in the ACL cannot use Toomey Road, but those who eat at Casa de Luz can pass in.

Chandan Lakhotia is a loyal customer of Casa de Luz. When he visited on Sunday, he was stunned by what it looked like.

“I was here yesterday and it was empty,” he said. “It was eerily empty compared to the usual weekend.”

He was able to get to the restaurant because he was riding his bike there. Casa de Luz also recommends using scooters and public transport. On weekends like this, Casa de Luz relies on people like Lakhotia.

“Anyone who comes here … we are very grateful,” Martinez added.

In the meantime, they’ll do their best to get through this.

“We also had to cut some staff because we didn’t need them at all,” Martinez said. “So, it’s very sad to have to do all this.”

They can only hope ACL gets out of town soon.

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