The Henry Austin Closes: ‘The money just isn’t there’

In an announcement on Facebook, The Henry Austin proprietor Maxwell Mason said that the restaurant will close as of August 1.

“Today after just a year of a Renew Adelaide tenancy, I regret that I am announcing the closure of The Henry Austin,” said a visibly emotional Max Mason in a short live video on Facebook this afternoon.

The closure comes nearly 13 months after The Henry Austin opened in 2016, promising a unique offering of “Australian yum cha” in a premises that had hitherto been vacant after the vaunted Chesser Cellar closed in 2012.

In the video, Mason says that the restaurant was “a reasonably brave attempt to offer a restaurant with no menu in such a huge premises in a time when more and more people are taking Deliveroo, Uber Eats … and watching Netflix at home.” He also explains that The Henry Austin had shifted to a tenancy with a landlord “who expected something well over $100,000 per annum in rent” and that “the money just isn’t there.”

Mason goes on to thank Adelaide for “being such a brilliant place” and “welcoming an often larger than life character who just enjoys serving great food to great people” and the South Australian community for being “bloody amazing”.

“I don’t intend to go anywhere, so if there are people out there with jobs for any of my staff, or any wacky ideas of how I might be entertained over these coming years, I’d be delighted to hear of it,” said Mason.

UPDATE

Renew Adelaide CEO, Tim Boundy has issued a statement praising The Henry Austin for experimenting with “a brave new hospitality concept to an iconic heritage building” and the “enthusiasm and attitude to trying new things that this venture represented”.

“The Henry Austin has spent a year bringing life to Adelaide and to Max’s credit, has made excellent use of the property through a wide-range of activities and hospitality offers.

“Together with the funding of the Government of South Australia and Adelaide City Council and the partnership of Knight Frank and the property owner, this iconic heritage property is now in working condition and we hope that someone else sees the potential in this grand abode.

“The Renew Adelaide program focusses on activating vacant property and helping establish new businesses through a rent-free model, with lower risk and barriers to entry.”

Header image: The Henry Austin chef Shane Wilson and proprietor Maxwell Mason  (photo: Andy Nowell)