Happenings: Austin Restaurant Openings Report

Clark’s Oyster Bar

With dozens of new restaurants, bars, and trailers opening right and left these days, one begins to feel like Jesse Spano in Saved By the Belltrying to keep up (there’s never any time!). Before you reach for the caffeine pills, take a deep breath and read this list of newly opened spots, places opening any minute now, and a preview of places we’re hotly anticipating in early 2013. Ladies and gentleman, throw on the comfy pants, we’ve got a lot of eating to do.


Open now:

    1. Clark’s Oyster Bar – Clarksville seafood spot Clark’s Oyster Bar is now open in the former Portabla spot on West 6th Street. Clark’s, mentioned here, is ‘the little brother’ restaurant to the South Congress seafood eatery Perla’s. Though Clark’s entrée offerings and interior design reflect a smaller scale version of big brother, Clark’s impressive selection of caviar and oysters coupled with a serious cocktail program make it shine all on its own. Clark’s is located at 1200 West 6th Street  Austin, Texas 78703. Restaurant Notes: Upscale, but casual atmosphere; small space; Entrées are $10-$26; Clarksville/Central
    2. Restaurant Jezebel – Parind Vora reopened his flagship Restaurant Jezebel this week, two years after extensive fire damage forced its closure. Restaurant Jezebel returns with a revamped ‘Couture Dining’ concept to match its newly rebuilt space. The 32-seat restaurant will offer two nightly prix-fixed menu options priced at $85 for four courses and $125 for seven courses. Rejecting Austin’s keep it causal style, Restaurant Jezebel has instilled a jackets-required dress code. No sandals or flip-flops are permitted, though jeans and boots are fine (this is Texas, after all). More details can be found on its Facebook page. Restaurant Jezebel is located at 800 West 6th Austin, TX 78701. Restaurant Notes: Upscale/Reservations Required; small space; Prix-fixed; Downtown/Central 
    3. Bar Mirbeau – Restaurant Jezebel isn’t the only trick Parind Vora has up his Chef’s jacket this fall. He also recently opened Bar Mirbeau. In a contrast to small, exclusive Restaurant Jezebel, Bar Mirbeau offers options galore in the way of breakfast, lunch, dinner, weekend brunch, late night dining, and take-out options. Chef Bill McGrory IV’s extensive menu offers an almost overwhelming number of selections no matter the time of day.  Bar Mirbeau is located at 800 West 6th Austin, TX 78701. Restaurant Notes: Downtown Casual; good for groups; Prices $8-13 Lunch, $10-20 Dinner; Downtown/Central 
    4. The GoodnightThe Goodnight opened late October in North Austin’s The Village. The bar/bowling alley/restaurant offers gourmet bar eats, music, and good ole fashion revelry seven days a week. The Goodnight comes at a perfect time, too; the similar in format (though not in ownership) Highball on South Lamar is temporarily closed while its shopping center location gets a complete overhaul. The Goodnight is located at 2700 West Anderson Lane, Austin, TX 78757. http://thegoodnightaustin.comRestaurant Notes: Casual; good for groups; Upscale Bar Food Prices $12-20 Dinner; North Central
    5. Pinthouse Pizza After giving folks a taste during Austin Beer Week last month, Burnet Road’s Pinthouse Pizza is now officially serving pints and pies seven days a week. Along with a casual menu of wood fire grilled pizzas, salads, and specials, the brewpub offers a list of 40 plus craft beers, including their own brewed in-house selection. Pinthouse Pizza is located at 4729 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78756. http://pinthousepizza.comRestaurant Notes: Casual; good for groups; Prices are $16.50 for a large Pizza; North Central
    6. LA BBQ – After Mueller family drama left John Mueller and sister LeeAnn at odds and John out of the business, JMueller’s BBQ temporarily shuttered. LeeAnn reopened under the name LA BBQ with former Franklin’s pitmaster John Lewis. No word if Lewis is still planning to decamp to California to open his own business or if this is all the LA he needs. Check out RL Reeves, Jr. take for more info. LA BBQ is located at 1502 South First Street, Austin TX 78704.  Restaurant Notes: Trailer; Casual; good for groups; Meat prices are on average $2 more than JMueller’s; South
    7. Jack Allen’s Kitchen Jack Allen’s Kitchen added a second location of its popular Southern comfort inspired eatery. The newest outpost opened in early fall in Round Rock (2500 Hoppe Trail).  Restaurant Notes: Casual; good for groups; Prices are $15 for entrées; North/Round Rock
    8. Russian House of Austin – Russian House is now open on 5th Street offering traditional Russian fare, including plenty of vodka and traditional delicacies such as Beef Stroganoff, Zakuski, and more.  Russian House is open Monday through Sunday from 11-2am for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Russian House of Austin is located at 307 East 5th Street, Austin TX 78701. http://www.russianhouseofaustin.com  Restaurant Notes: Downtown causal; Prices are under $10 at lunch, $15-20 dinner; Central/Downtown 

Softly open/opening any minute now:

    1. Lucky Robot- Adam Weisberg, the man behind the healthy, budget-friendly Japanese chain Zen, is back with an innovative new concept Lucky Robot. Following a complete overhaul of Zen’s flagship South Congress location, the bright Harajuku-inspired Lucky Robot is now is soft open mode with plans to officially open later this month. The new concept will feature an elevated menu of Japanese street eats and sake punches, all which are ordered through Lucky Robot’s unique iPad ordering system. Lucky Robot is located at South Congress, Austin, TX 78701. luckyrobotresaurant.com Restaurant Notes: Casual/quick; good for groups; Prices are mostly under $10 for entrées; South
    2. SwayNo longer just trailers and Tex-Mex, South First has quickly become a foodie haven. This trend will continue with the soon to open Thai restaurant Sway. Mentioned here, the long awaited restaurant from La Condesa’s team plans to open its Michael Hsu-designed doors in late November. Sway is located at South 1st Street, Austin, TX 78704 in the coming weeks. http://swayaustin.com Restaurant Notes: Upscale, but Austin casual; Thai; Prices are TBD but expect around $15-25 for entrées; South
    3. Gourdough’s Public House – And they (I) said it wouldn’t last! Though yours truly thought it a passing novelty, Gourdough’s, the trailer eatery representing gluttony personified thanks to its ‘big fat donuts’, proved me wrong. The trailer is going brick and mortar by moving into Kerbey Lane’s former South Lamar location. Known for its sweet and savory stuffed donuts, Gourdough’s new location will offer an expanded menu with unglazed entrée donuts and a full bar. Visit Gourdough’s Public House at 2700 S. Lamar, Austin TX 78748. http://gourdoughspub.com Restaurant Notes: Casual; good for groups; Prices are mostly under $10 for entrées; South
    4. Freedmen’s Bar – After months of painstaking renovations, Freedmen’s Bar will finally open this month. Final touches are being put on yet another hotly anticipated new bar/restaurant with plans to open in November.  After being announced at the end of last year by the owners of neighboring Cuatro’s, we’ve been closely following the careful rehaul of Freedman’s Bar’s historic Civil War-era location via the bar’s Facebook page. Once open, Freedman’s will offer craft cocktails, a BBQ smokehouse, and beer garden. The new spot is located at 2402 San Gabriel, giving non-coeds a very good reason to venture to West Campus. Restaurant Notes: Austin Casual; good for groups; West Campus
    5. Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza – Artisan pizza purveyors Bola Pizza will softly open Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza from 1-4pm this Saturday. Stanley’s will offer those amazing artisan wood fire grilled pizzas dolled up with creative combinations of local toppings. As if you needed another reason to trek out to the new spot, Stanley’s is conveniently located next to Jester King Brewery in Ceres Park Ranch (13187 Fitzhugh Road, Austin, TX 78736). http://www.stanleysfarmhousepizza.com Restaurant Notes: Hill Country Casual; good for groups; Far Southwest

It appears this upswing in new restaurants will continue well into 2013. Here are a few spots opening in the early part of next year we’re already salivating for:

    1. Paul Qui – If 2012 was year of the MoormanMaguire group, then 2013 is shaping up to be the year of Paul Qui. Qui & Co. recently added a new East Side Kings location and revamped the menu at another as well as announced plans to open a brick and mortar version of the famed trailer eateries. As if that isn’t enough, Qui is currently working to open his flagship restaurant and tasting room on East 6th Street in early 2012.
    2. Odd Duck Farm to Table – Folks who cried a small foodie tear when fan favorite Odd Duck Farm to Trailer closed will be delighted to know Bryce Gilmore is bringing back his popular restaurant. Gilmore will relaunch Odd Duck as a brick and mortar location on South Lamar sometime in 2013. Though no longer a meal on wheels, expect the menu to reflect the former Odd Duck’s style of approachable farm to table eats.
    3. Jeffery’s – MoormanMcGuire Management Group, the unstoppable team behind popular local favorites Lambert’s, Elizabeth Street Café, and aforementioned Clark’s Oyster Bar, will reopen Jeffery’s in the very near future. Larry Maguire began revamping both the space and concept after taking over the famed establishment earlier this year.
    4. Mettle – Bridget Dunlap, the reigning queen of Rainey Street, is moving east with the launch of her latest venture Mettle. We got a little preview of what to expect from the new restaurant during the Wine & Food Foundation of Texas’ Big Reds & Bubbles event. After devouring Mettle’s tender beef tongue taco wrapped in a fresh corn tortilla topped with picked veggies, the countdown to Mettle’s January 2013 opening is officially on.
    5. La V – Thanks once again to the Wine & Food Foundation of Texas, we got a taste of upcoming French restaurant La V during this summer’s Tour de Vin event. If Chef lovely play on niciose salad is any indication of what’s to come, expect La V to more than fill the French void left by Auqarelle’s shutter not so long ago.




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