CLOSING UP AN ICON
In Austin, much-loved Jaime's Spanish Village saying adios to its customers
his is a story about another loss of an Austin institution, with a good-will-toward-men twist.
Jaime’s Spanish Village, the old-timey Tex-Mex restaurant at 802 Red River St. known for its lowslung ceilings and margaritas, is closing after losing its lease.
The restaurant, which opened 79 years ago when Herbert Hoover was president, shut down temporarily on June 30 at the landlord’s order, said Charlie Tames, the current owner.
But Tames has reopened the place for most of the rest of this month so he can give the proceeds made at the restaurant during those weeks to his employees. The place was back open Thursday, but the last chips and salsa will be served on July 30. Tames has to be out by the next day.
“I have a day job,” said Tames, who runs the international department for Merrill Lynch here in Austin. “The easiest thing for me would be to turn off the lights and go back to my day job. But that’s just not right.” They’ll also take donations for the workers.
“If somebody donates, say, $15, to the employee fund, we’ll give ’em a free jar of hot sauce,” Tames said. Jaime’s is known for its hot sauce and queso and, for decades, was a hangout for University of Texas students and politicians who wandered over from the Capitol.
Tames says the restaurant is closing because his landlord, Tom Bullard, who owns the Woodstock Inn on the Millstream in Wood-