Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

So Long, Saradora’s

I learned today that the cool little coffee shop on Round Rock’s main drag is no more. Saradora’s has closed up shop. Based on the article in the paper, it sounds as if there weren’t enough people in Round Rock who were interested in drinking coffee in an eclectic local hangout. That isn’t surprising. The many chains on I-35 leave very little in Round Rock that’s independent. Except BBQ, of course.

Admittedly, I was not a regular at Saradora’s since there are cool little coffee joints much closer to home, but I liked knowing it was there, and when I lived closer I sometimes went. It always seemed like a mark of progress for Round Rock to have an indy coffee shop considering that there was really nothing but fast food there in 1988 when my New England eyes first beheld Austin’s northern neighbor.

Location might have been a factor. It’s a few miles from the interstate in Round Rock’s historic downtown near where Sam Bass was gunned down in 1878. The downtown area is a scant few blocks long and while charming and well-maintained, there isn’t much there. I guess people mainly went to Saradora’s if they were going to Saradora’s as opposed to stopping off on the way to or from somewhere else.

I realize that I hadn’t been there for quite some time, but the last time I was there, I did memorialize the event. A few years ago, when I discovered BookCrossing, I left a copy of my book with a bookcrossing ID number inside at Saradora’s to see where it would go. It’s in Houston now, in the possession of attackedbynones who seemed to enjoy it.

6 Comments

  1. This is happening all over the nation, where Mom/Dads little stores have been uprooted by gaint witless chains………At my freshman in high school few years back, there was this CD store which almost everyone at my school use to spend few mins each week, it was place to be for some of us, but it just closed few months ago, after 45years of being city of Edina’s music store, they said they can’t run with the big chains anymore………how sad!!!

  2. I live in Pflugerville, so Saradora’s was close, but not that close. And I’m not a big coffee drinker. I did go to Saradora’s a few times, especially on First Thursday, but to be honest, I think I liked the idea of Saradora’s better than I liked the actual place. One Sunday in November I was working on a graduate school paper and wanted to find a little place to work, so I went there. I ordered lunch. First thing I noticed, there were no outlets (anywhere) for my laptop. Secondly, their Wi-Fi wouldn’t keep a connection. Third, the greek omlette I ordered was bland and unimpressive (and given what it was, over-priced). I ate my omlette and left, opting to try one of the two small coffee shops on Gattis School Rd. instead (one was closed on Sunday, the other was more of a crowded restaurant, so I ended up coming back home to work).

    I like some of the things Saradora’s did throughout the years, but I have to say if my last visit was any example, I’m not surprised they closed.

  3. Dem Soldier, it seems to be happening more and more. I hate to see the cool stuff go, but then I admit I go to the chains sometimes too. There are so many great places in and around Austin that it’s sad when they go.

    Dara, I agree with you about the idea of Saradora’s. That’s the biggest thing I’ll miss. I liked my experiences there, but then coffee and cake is as far as I went. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  4. I think the closing had to do w/ several factors. Saradora’s operated for roughly 10 years. At the beginning of this time, Downtown Round Rock had many more shops and much more traffic. Also, from having worked at Saradora’s for a while in high school I can say firsthand that the place was not run well or efficietly (Dara, imagine if you had worked there). I believe originally there was such potential, but having seen it’s inner workings i’m surprised they didn’t close sooner. Just a little FYI.

    • Im glad to know years later that Saradora’s Coffe House is shut down.. I was one of the first people to work there many years ago in High School and Sara Roberts and her family ran that place into the ground from Day one !!
      I still to this day was never given my last pay check..
      Horrbible errors is they way they cooked their food..
      Sara Roberts had no Idea of what proper service was or how to treat the people who worked for her.. She chewed people up and spit them out..
      Fuck Saradora’s !!

      • Wow! I just looked up Saradora’s because I was suddenly feeling nostalgic. I loved that place, but then I got a job there. Yes, I would agree it was run poorly.

        No one was trusted with the key, so the person who closed would leave it either under the owner’s doormat or in her mailbox at her home several blocks down the road. One morning, it wasn’t there. This was before cell phones, so I went to a gas station, looked up the number in a phone book and used the payphone to call her. (You weren’t aloud to knock on her door). She said I should check again and call her back. I had to drive to her house (where she was at the time!), look again, then drive back to the gas station and call her. In retrospect, I should have just sat there for a few minutes and called her, telling her I had checked, but I actually drove and looked. She called the manager to drive from Austin and unlock it because the owner herself did not have a copy of the key.

        She went on vacations to foreign countries frequently while some employees’ paychecks bounced. I wasn’t privy to the goings on of the bookkeeping, but I would guess that it would have folded regardless of how many customers they got.

        The worst part was the bento, marinated chicken and veggie kabobs that were grilled when ordered. In the three months I worked there, the marinade for the raw chicken was thrown out and made fresh twice. I would just tell customers that we were out of bento and not serve it.

        It was a beautiful place and it makes me sad that it was managed the way it was.

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