Starting Place by Paul Johnston
Nanci Griffith is one of my favorite folk singers.
I thought it might be interesting for those that follow her career
to see where her singing career began in the early '70s, The
Hole in the Wall ( Officially, The Hole in the Wall Arcade
and Restaurant). This establishment still exists and is located
at 2538 Guadalupe in Austin, Texas, just off campus at the north-west
side of University of Texas in Austin. Nanci would play here on
to becoming the Hole in the Wall, this location was the home
to Hank's Grill. In the mid sixties while I was attending the University
of Texas, I would walk down to Hank's on a Sunday evening and order
up Hank's well-known chicken fried steak which came with lots of
gravy and fried potatoes and a small salad. A popular song that
many of Hank's patrons would select from the jukebox was "A Taste
of Honey" played by the Tijuana Brass. At some point in the late
sixties, Hank's Grill was closed down.
The location laid dormant for a period of time,
then became The Hole in the Wall. The yellow sign above the
door is still the same. At first the lettering for Hank's Grill
was removed from the store front, but you could see its outline
for a number of years. Eventually, the store front was changed by
adding a new door and windows to each side of the doorway. As you
walk in, the bar is to your right, the table area directly ahead
and the small performing stage area is to your left in front of
the left window. From the menu on the blackboard, chicken fried
steak is still a main item there.
Across the street at the corner of Dean Keeton
Street and Guadalupe is the Communications Building at the University
of Texas where Nanci recorded her sessions for "Austin City Limits".
From one report she intended someday to go across the street to
the "rusty bucket" and be recorded. The Communications Building's
upper exterior is made of weathering steel. It is a special steel
that is designed to rust superficially and then stop rusting. The
resulting color is one of a dark brown. The top exterior appears
now to be painted with a dark paint. With Nanci's great talent,
she did indeed walk across the street from The Hole in the Wall
to the "rusty bucket" and record for "Austin City Limits".
[ more at http://members.aol.com/kfyi/nanci.htm