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McClatchy-Tribune  08/12/2014 9:26 PM ET
Is Austin Mexican food company out of business? [Austin American-Statesman :: ]

Aug. 12--

Tortillas, chips and tostadas from Austin-based El Lago Mexican Foods are off the menu at many Central Texas restaurants and off the shelves at grocery stores across the region -- and it appears they might not be returning any time soon.

The 60-year-old company, which in May said it planned to relocate from its longtime home in East Austin to a site in Pflugerville, posted on its Facebook page that it is "out of market right now."

The move, which would have made Pflugerville home to the largest distributor of tortillas and chips in Texas, was set to be complete by August, city leaders said at the time.

An email sent Monday to the El Lago Mexican Foods' customer service department yielded a response that said: "Thank you for all your emails, but we are sorry to say that since we had to move from our old time location in central Austin, we are having big issues to go back in business, we are still trying to get the company up and running again soon.

"Thank you again and keep your fingers cross."

The 70,000-square-foot building at 1700 E. Fourth St. that El Lago had occupied is being demolished. City of Austin records indicate demolition permits were issued in late July.

Two mixed-use buildings are slated for the site, city documents show.

Meanwhile, El Lago hasn't relocated as planned to a 24,000-square-foot space at the 130 Commerce Center, at Texas 130 and Pecan Street in Pflugerville, according to Amy Madison, assistant executive director of the Pflugerville Economic Development Corp.

The city hasn't received any sort of update from the company on whether it still plans to move, Madison said.

The Pflugerville City Council had approved a $60,000 economic development agreement to help lure El Lago, provided the company brought a minimum of 40 full-time jobs to the city. The jobs had to include medical benefits and pay an average annual salary of at least $30,000.

None of that incentives money has been paid out, Madison said.

When the planned move was announced, city leaders and executives with El Lago said the company was drawn to the area because of its proximity to several major highways.

In addition to the new building, El Lago planned to invest in new equipment to build a "high-performance tortilla chip manufacturing plant," according to a news release the city issued in May.

El Lago's website,, includes a long list of retailers that carry the company's products, including H-E-B, Randall's, Wal-Mart, Central Market, Fiesta and Whole Foods Market.

Many well-known restaurants are on the list, as well, including 290 Café, Texadelphia, Austin Java, Bill Miller BBQ, Chango's, Manuel's, Kerbey Lane Cafe, Salt Lick, Stubb's and Tres Amigos.


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