First Look: H-E-B opens store on iconic Austin site

Marianne Wilson
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H-E-B has opened a store on a site with a rich local history.

The Texas grocery giant’s newest store is located on the former site of the Nutty Brown Café & Amphitheatre, a famed music venue in southwest Austin. Originally, the site was home Nutty Brown Mills, which served as a flour mill and candy shop.

The design elements throughout the 107,000-sq.-ft. store highlight the heritage of the iconic location, including the use of materials such as red brick from the original brick oven used at Nutty Brown Café.

The H-E-B design team also designed a mural near the store’s entrance that celebrate the site’s history. It includes vintage photography and colorful iconography inspired by original signage such as the blue “Welcome” awning and the Cowboy neon sign.

Mike Farr owned the Nutty Brown Café & Amphitheatre, which operated as a live music venue for more than two decades. (It closed in November 2021.). He gifted H-E-B with more than 15 signed guitars from legendary Texas musicians who once graced the stage. The historic memorabilia is displayed at both entrances.

“This is a special store at an iconic site, and we are excited to preserve and showcase the history of such an important landmark as well as provide a unique shopping experience our loyal customers will be proud of for decades to come,” said Sarah Longoria, top store leader, Nutty Brown H-E-B.

The exterior design embraces the Hill Country aesthetic of the locale. Two entry towers and a large section of windows above the checkout area allow for an abundance of natural light, and several native trees were added to the landscape.

In addition to a wide range of grocery essentials, the Nutty Brown H-E-B features a full-service bakery and tortilleria, expansive produce section with many Texas-grown selections, deli with an array of cheeses and charcuterie, full-service meat and seafood counters, prepared meal area and wine and beer department with sampling locations.

Similar to other new H-E-B stores, the new location also features a Texas Backyard section with items for outdoor entertaining and hobbies, a Home by H-E-B department with home décor items and an H-E-B brand shop with store-themed merchandise. It also has a drive-through pharmacy.

To mark the grand opening, H-E-B donated $20,000 to local nonprofit groups and organizations including the Central Texas Food Bank, Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, Treefolks and local school foundations.

Based in San Antonio, H-E-B has more than 420 stores and 145,000 employees in Texas and Mexico.