I'm sure to ruffle a few feathers with this post, but I'm going to say it anyway.
Las Manitas is not that good.
There. I said it. In the 14 years I have been in Austin I have eaten at Las Manitas a dozen times. It was always a good spot for Saturday or Sunday breakfast grease to soak up the beer from the night before. The food was okay but I don't think it's worth a $750,000 mostly forgivable loan. Every "Keep Austin Weird"-O with a business is going to want a piece of that action now. Who wouldn't? Tacos and enchiladas are worth a $750,000 payoff from the city because big bad Marriot wants to build a hotel on private property not owned by the sisters of Las Manitas?
Give me a break. What happens when The Soup Peddler gets booted from Mary St. because a condo developer wants to build on that site? Do you give The Soup Peddler $750,000 to move and remodel his soup kitchen? Hey, that guy has a good story and he is quickly becoming a South Austin icon.
What really burns my beans about the article in today's Statesman is the quote at the end from Dina Flores, the owner of the child care facility Escuelita del Alma, which is next door to Las Manitas and is also being forced to shut down. She says it does not seem right that a restaurant gets that much assistance and a child care facility does not.
I'm with you, Ms. Flores. There is not a bowl of salsa in this town worth $750,000. Kids are more important than queso. It's too bad our City Council doesn't see it that way.