H-E-B opens Nutty Brown store, paying homage to iconic music venue
H-E-B has opened a new store on the former site of Nutty Brown Café and Amphitheater in Southwest Austin, featuring design elements that highlight the location’s past as a country store and later a beloved Hill Country concert venue.
The property sits near the Travis-Hays County line, off of U.S. 290 and Nutty Brown Road, in a once-rural area that has seen rapid growth in recent years. Construction of the 103,000-square-foot H-E-B broke ground in 2022.
The bricks on a mural at the store's entrance came from the original pizza oven at the historic Nutty Brown store, built in the 1950s. The mural chronicles the location’s history using vintage photos and objects inspired by the neon cowboy sign and blue "welcome" awning that stood at the Nutty Brown Café.
Around 75 customers lined up outside the store before its 6 a.m. grand opening on Wednesday. H-E-B representatives then held a ribbon-cutting later that morning and announced donations to the Central Texas Food Bank, two Dripping Springs elementary schools, the TreeFolks nonprofit and the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians.
Tom Mijares, a retired police officer and professor, said he saw a dozen shows at the Nutty Brown Café and remembers the venue for its dusty parking lot, interesting sounds and “good chow."
Mijares, who lives in nearby Driftwood, said he welcomes the change. “It’s very convenient and it’s created so many jobs and opportunities … that’s American entrepreneurship at its best,” he said.
Mike Farr, the former owner of the Nutty Brown Café, donated 15 guitars to the new H-E-B to be displayed in the store’s foyer. The instruments are signed by Texas musicians like Clint Black and Pat Green, who played at the café.
H-E-B bought the land in 2015 and became Farr’s landlord. He closed the venue in November 2021, after 20 years of hosting live music. Farr said he gave the guitars to H-E-B to thank them for letting him extend his lease, which gave him time to open a new venue in Round Rock.
Cathy Harm, H-E-B's director of operations, said the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability is reflected in the new store’s design. “We have incorporated several energy efficient inclusions such as CO2 refrigeration units and LED lighting and have also included substantial native landscaping throughout the entire property,” Harm said.
The store includes a bakery and tortillería, deli, meat market, sushi restaurant, florist, fuel station, car wash and more.
Tamra Jones, an H-E-B spokesperson, said the new store employs more than 400 people and highlights H-E-B’s philosophy to buy local. She said the new store carries many locally produced products like wine and cheese.
The new supermarket is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day of the week.