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Austin's most read entertainment stories of 2020

Eric Webb
Austin 360
Shady Grove, a dining and music fixture on Barton Springs Road seen here in 2010, closed for good amid the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

The entertainment scene is Austin was quieter this year — and when it stirred, it often brought tears instead of joy. The coronavirus pandemic changed the way Austin ate, drank, listened and watched; Austin360 was there to cover the artists, restaurants and local businesses that make this city sing.

Here are the 10 stories people read most on this year.

1. Shady Grove on Barton Springs Road closes permanently after 28 years in Austin

Restaurants writer Matthew Odam reported on May 11: "The plug has been pulled on an Austin institution after almost 30 years. Shady Grove, the pastoral comfort food restaurant that was home to one of the longest-running free live music series in Austin, has closed for good, restaurant co-owner Rusty Zagst told the American-Statesman on Monday."

2. Anthony Michael Hall apologizes for Austin pool 'incident' seen in viral video

Austin360 editor Eric Webb wrote in August: "Actor Anthony Michael Hall has apologized for his actions at an Austin swimming pool that were seen this week in a viral video, according to a report from People magazine. In the video, first posted by TMZ, Hall can be seen directing an expletive-laden rant toward someone else at the South Congress Hotel pool. It is not clear from the video what caused the conflict. He calls other parties at the pool 'disrespectful' and 'Rosie O’Donnell' and repeatedly says, 'Kiss my (expletive).' Another man shows up at the pool toward the end of the video and says, 'Let’s go, Mike.'"

A plexiglass divider is set up on Nov. 17 on a table outside Stubb's Bar-B-Q, where comedian Dave Chappelle performed a three-night run. Attendees had to take a rapid COVID-19 test before being able to enter.

3. Surprise: Dave Chappelle doing 3 shows in Austin next week

Webb reported on Nov. 13: "Straight from hosting 'Saturday Night Live' last weekend, comedian Dave Chappelle is coming to Austin for a three-night stand next week, marking perhaps the highest-profile live entertainment to hit town since the coronavirus pandemic began in March. According to an announcement Friday afternoon from event promoter C3 Presents, Chappelle will perform Nov. 16-18 at Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater. All shows start at 8 p.m., and guests must be 18 or older.

"The announcement touts the shows as 'socially distanced' with reserved tables at the outdoor venue. Table seating ranges from four to eight people, and only one party will be seated per table. Also part of the event safety plan: all ticket holders will get a rapid COVID-19 test upon arrival, and masks will be required in the venue."

4. Austin restaurant named the country’s Pizzeria of the Year

Odam reported in August: “'Few outsiders in the hospitality world have entered Austin from out of state and left an imprint on the city’s dining scene quite the way brothers Brandon and Zane Hunt have.' That’s what I wrote in the Austin360 Dining Guide last year about the brothers who brought attitude and pizza from Detroit to Austin.

"The operation that started as a humble trailer in front of a dive bar now includes three restaurants and two trailers. Via 313 has been one of the great local success stories of the past 10 years, and the Hunt brothers’ operation has not gone unnoticed nationally. Pizza Today, the influential industry publication that covers all things pizza, has named the Austin business Pizzeria of the Year."

5. Original Magnolia Cafe on Lake Austin Boulevard closes permanently

Odam reported in April: "It has sobered up late-night revelers and fueled early-morning joggers, played host to Little League teams and at least one president of the United States, and its friendly and funky spirit helped defined an era of Old Austin. After 41 years of serving guests and playing the role of de facto community center on Lake Austin Boulevard, Magnolia Cafe West has closed its doors for good."

6. Texas Roadhouse CEO gives up salary to pay employees during coronavirus pandemic

The Statesman's Rebecca Macias wrote in March: "Texas Roadhouse CEO Kent Taylor is giving up his salary and bonus for the year in order to pay the steakhouse chain’s front-line employees during the coronavirus pandemic. Taylor elected to forgo his base salary and incentive bonus from the pay period starting March 18 through Jan. 7, 2021, according to a MarketWatch report."

7. How to support Black-owned food businesses in Austin

Food writer Addie Broyles wrote in June: "You might be looking for ways you can contribute to anti-racism efforts. One way is to support Black-owned businesses in your community; here, we've rounded up a list of Black-owned food businesses, including food products and catering companies, from the Austin area.

"Several, including Hoover’s Cooking, Roland’s Soul Food and Aster’s Ethiopian, have been around for more than two decades and are continuing a legacy started many generations ago — Sam’s Bar-B-Que opened in 1957 — but many Black-owned food businesses have been pushed out over the decades by gentrification, rising rent and food costs."

8. Dart Bowl closing permanently after 62 years

Odam wrote in a July exclusive: "Austin institution Dart Bowl will reset the pins for the final time Friday night and close its doors forever, ending a 62-year run for the business and a 24-year roll at its current Grover Lane address.

"High fives, shared pitchers of beer, family gatherings, and communal shoes and balls represent the hallmarks of bowling, a social sport that thrives on camaraderie and closeness."

Popular bakery Round Rock Donuts announced a second location this year, in Cedar Park.

9. Round Rock Donuts opening Cedar Park location

Odam wrote in October: "It’s about to get just a little bit easier to get the sweet, sticky, orange-tinted confections from Round Rock Donuts that are loved throughout Central Texas (and probably one of the things displaced office workers miss most about leaving their house each day). The bakery is planning to open its second location at 1614 E. Whitestone Blvd. in Cedar Park, according to public records reported by and confirmed by Round Rock Donuts manager Jaime Sandoval."

10. Trudy’s restaurant chain files for bankruptcy

Statesman business writers Lori Hawkins and Shonda Novak wrote in January: "Trudy’s, a staple in Austin’s Tex-Mex restaurant scene since 1977, has filed for bankruptcy protection. The Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition was filed Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Texas on behalf of Trudy’s Texas Star Inc., the corporation that operates three Trudy’s restaurants in Austin, along with the South Congress Cafe."