Qdoba Mexican Grill Opens in Old Varsity Theater Space

Qdoba Mexican Grill, one of four new restaurants setting up shop on the Drag this fall, opened its doors to hungry UT students yesterday.

The restaurant is the second to open at the intersection of Guadalupe and 24th Street in the historic Varsity Theater space. The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf next door has been serving up drinks to Longhorns since early August.

Noodles & Company, the third restaurant in the building, is set to open this November.

The launch of the three chains comes after a $2.5 million renovation of the former home of the Varsity Theater, Tower Records, and Follett’s Intellectual Property.

While the tenants may be different, the outward appearance of the building has been preserved, thanks to the cooperation of the new restaurants. Federico Archuleta’s 2003 murals of iconic musicians such as Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan have been repositioned and retouched by the original artist himself.

The project’s architect, Michael Antenora, is also hoping to obtain permission from the City of Austin to install a reconstructed version of the neon Varsity Theater sign, hoping to restore a little piece of Austin history to the popular corner.

This is Qdoba’s second Central Texas location, the first of which is located in the Great Hills-Arboretum area in North Austin.

The Drag location faces stiff competition from Chipotle, another popular fast-food Mexican eatery, but does have one unique touch: it will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. to accommodate the late-night hunger of UT students.

Rendering courtesy Wes Colwell


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