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Daniel Johnston’s famous mural in Austin now attached to a restaurant called Thai How Are You?

(via @killquilty [Sadie of Speedy Ortiz])
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One of Austin, TX’s most iconic outsider landmarks — Daniel Johnston‘s “Hi How Are You?” mural on Guadalupe & W. 21st — is now on the side of an asian restaurant called… Thai How Are You? (?!?!?!). This happened last year when David Roberts and his wife Noi Sukkij bought the space which used to be a restaurant called Thai Spice. There are other branches of that restaurant still in Austin and they wanted to change the name:

He and his wife wanted to initially open a “quiet little Thai café,” but soon realized that high rent at the restaurant that suffers a dip in business during summer called for a new strategy.

After researching the history of Johnston, whose mural is constantly being photographed by passersby, Roberts decided to capitalize on the musician’s fame in an attempt to drive traffic to the restaurant. Roberts reached a financial agreement with the Johnston family to appropriate the famous slogan as part of the restaurant’s new name. – [Austin 360]

While the name is of questionable taste, and probably makes anyone familiar with Johnston a little sad, on the plus side, Roberts has also vowed to keep the mural as-is and looking good:

“It will be the same mural, no changes to the form or any of that,” assures Roberts. “I didn’t know the history, and my wife certainly didn’t know the history. I had seen the mural and thought it was just one of those interesting quirks about Austin. Only while we were there and saw the attention that it gets every day did it start to pique my interest.”

Roberts looked into the mural’s history and eventually came upon Johnston’s website, hihowareyou.com, which helped put him in touch with two people: Dick Johnston, Daniel’s brother, and Heather Olson, an Austinite who’s worked with the Johnston family “for nearly a decade” on various marketing items like T-shirt sales. Together, the three decided to embark on the restoration. – [Austin Chronicle]

Did anyone eat at Thai How Are You? while at SXSW?

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