Austin's Best New Restaurants for Spring 2018
South by Southwest is wrapping up, but that doesn't mean the season's excitement in dying down. From Aaron Franklin's next move to the reincarnation of Hank's, here are five Austin restaurants worth getting excited about for spring 2018.
Two powerhouse restaurateurs—Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue and Tyson Cole of Uchi and Uchiko—are joining forces to open this highly anticipated Asian smokehouse and bar focused on grilled and smoked meats, plus draft cocktails. Those who were lucky enough to get an invite to an event during SXSW got a sneak peek of the Michael Hsu-designed space, which features an airy, sunlit design and a spacious deck shaded by 100-year-old oak trees. Everyone else will just need to wait a few more weeks for the official opening to see what this culinary duo has in store for South Austin.
Cocktails and wine are typically the beverages featured at paired dinners; The Brewer's Table will create an innovative space for beer and food to coexist and mutually benefit one another. Owner Jake Maddux, who brings extensive experience from working at breweries like Anchor Brewing, Thirsty Planet and New Belgium, has teamed up with head brewer Drew Durish (formerly of Live Oak Brewing Company), executive chef Zach Hunter (formerly of Qui, Uchi and Fixe), Certified Cicerone and sommelier Brandy Compton (formerly of Perla's, Sway and Barley Swine), and head baker Sandeep Gyawali (founder of Miche Bread) to create a concept that intertwines the ingredients, flavors and processes found in both brewing and cooking. The East Austin restaurant is set to open this spring in a 5,000-square-foot Quonset hut with an open kitchen, custom wood-fired grill, visible oak foeders and extensive outdoor seating with boccie ball courts.
Photo: Brewer's Table
The team behind farm-to-trailer-turned-restaurant Odd Duck and its more upscale tasting menu-focused restaurant, Barley Swine, are on the verge of making their third move, a more casual all-day café, on Austin's flourishing east side. Chefs Bryce Gilmore and Mark Buley have been testing recipes and previewing them in a series of bake sales at Odd Duck (think lamb sloppy joe kolaches, chicken-skin maple cookies and bread made from local breweries' spent grains). Sour Duck's goal is to open an inclusive community restaurant serving the same high-quality food made with ingredients from local farmers and ranchers but at an even more accessible price point. Expect burgers, sandwiches, salads and tacos served on paper ware, plus an extensive bakery program, retail marketplace, full bar and ample outdoor seating.
This spring, the space formerly home to East 6th Street Tex-Mex restaurant Dario's will come to life again as Suerte, helmed by Sam Hellman-Mass (formerly of Odd Duck) and executive chef Fermín Núñez (formerly of Launderette, La Condesa and Uchiko). The duo have created a menu inspired by their travels and experiences throughout Mexico. They will combine cooking techniques and traditions from across the country with ingredients from local farmers and a refined house-made masa program for a truly unique culinary experience.
When beloved South Austin café and cheese shop Henri's closed two years ago after a fire, husband-and-wife team Andy Means and Jessie Katz set their sights on a bigger space to start from scratch. Next month, their new all-day neighborhood café concept will open inside an 8,500-square-foot former grocery store in Windsor Heights, complemented by another 4,000 square feet of dog-friendly patio space. In addition to the well-crafted sandwiches and salads for which the French-inspired Henri's was known, Hank's will expand to include house-made bread and pasta, plus desserts, a kids' menu and a full bar with signature cocktails.
Veronica Meewes is an Austin-based food and travel writer. Follow her adventures on Instagram @wellfedlife.
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