Houston Businesses Try to Copy Austin Formula
One sign of success in any endeavor is imitation, and now Austin is getting its share of imitators. I’m not sure if Austin was the first city to use the “Keep XXXX Weird” slogan, but when we see cities like Louisville, and yes, even my hometown of Erie, Pa. (Update: According to Dennis in the comments below, Erie preceded “Keep Austin Weird” by at least 10 years), coopting the slogan for city promotional campaigns, things are truly getting weird.
It seems like the next thing other cities might be attempting to steal from Austin are its quirky businesses and its laidback vibe. And where better to start than our sister city to the Southeast? Apparently, some Houston business owners have grown so tired of their own strip mall culture that they’ve opened new Austin-like restaurant amalgamations. Barton Springs Grill even takes its design from the Barton Springs pool house:
Barton Springs Grill in northwest Houston, too, is packed with Austin cultural references, in its name, decor, menu and slogan: “We grill, you chill.”
It is named after Austin’s idyllic Barton Springs pool.
The interior resembles a quirky Hill Country lodge and features limestone and cedar, a big beer bottle chandelier and framed albums of Willie Nelson, the Doors and other artists.
The menu is inspired by several Austin eateries. The Austin Queso borrows from Guero’s, the Marga-tini resembles a drink at Trudy’s, and “TV dinners” and veggie dishes pay homage to Threadgill’s.
The patio, with bright metal chairs and pink flamingos, aspires for a Shady Grove feel. Owner Bill Osterhout eventually plans to install a man-made creek outside.