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East Side King @ Hole In The Wall Is So Open Right Now, Everybody Panic!

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Photo: Andrea Grimes/EATX

East Side King @ Hole In The Wall is certified open, and Eater Austin is on site all day long liveblogging the insanity. Let's go over the basics one more time: this is the first brick-and-mortar from Top Chef winner Paul Qui and former Uchi chef Moto Utsonomiya, serving a greatest hits menu of Brussels sprouts, fried beets and much, much more. And by "much, much more" we mean: ramen y'all. Three kinds, so far: a bacon ramen, a tortilla soup-style tom yum ramen and a squid ink curry ramen.

11:00 a.m.: An initial line of about 15 folks saw the first service, and more are pouring in. Looks like mostly college students. The rain doesn't seem to be a deterrent to folks sitting outside.

11:21 a.m.: Be advised: they're sold out of Sapporo, but Kirin's available. Cheers to drinking at 11:21 a.m., everyone.

11:31 a.m.: No surprise: ramen bowls on just about every table. Lots of slurping.

eskpicturepicture.jpg11:36 a.m.: Getting meta, taking a picture of Eater Austin's new friend Patrick, a computer science major at U.T. and photographer, taking a picture of some bacon ramen with beer foam.

11:42 a.m.: Hole in the Wall's general manager, Alex, is on the phone to the beer folks trying to get more Sapporo in, everyone's asking for it. Rumor is that the media folks drank all the stuff at last night's press dinner. Blame us.

11:50 a.m.: Between the construction and the rock and roll, this place is loud and jamming. They're closing up some of the side doors to make it less likely for under-21's to sneak into the main bar. Here's the scene:


sakepitchers.jpg12:00 p.m.: Turns out, sake freezes. Here are two pitchers that got left in the freezer overnight.

12:01 p.m.: Overheard: "I'm so full."

12:06 p.m.: The sun is out! Line is getting real serious. Awesome to see Hole In The Wall's back room this busy at noon on a Tuesday. The bar's had trouble with food service for nearly ten years, but ESK is busting it out today.


eskloopline.jpg12:13 p.m.: Line's now looping around the back bar. Folks have been using the front entrance of HITW for years—37 to be exact—and they're gonna have to get used to that back door entrance. Enter through San Antonio, y'all!

12:30 p.m.: Just talked to June Rodil, who's been running all over the place serving. She says so far folks are ordering a "good mix" of the menu.

12:36 p.m.: First person to bring some #4 coffee filters to the back bar gets a free beer, we're hurting without coffee!

12:43 p.m.: Line's at its shortest point since opening rush. Kitchen still cray.

1:00 p.m.: Ordered some tori meshi, spotted Paul Qui working the line.


1:04 p.m.: Thinking about take-out? Think again: "During service? No!" says June, they're just too slammed. In the future, they may do 24-hour order-ahead take-out to be picked up at 11 a.m.


eskfoods.jpg1:17 p.m.: And no tori meshi yet! We're looking at about a half hour wait for food right now.

1:25 p.m.: Tori meshi arrives! And a Kirin, because hey, liveblogging.

1:47 p.m.: Things have calmed down significantly. Saw Moto even make it out of the kitchen briefly.

1:54 p.m.: HITW staff is working construction as the ESK folks churn food out: they're installing drywall in the back bar's side doors.

2:00 p.m.: "How do we get out of here?" asks a couple trying to exit through the back patio. The answer is: you can leave the East Side King, but the East Side King will never leave you. (Oh and you can also get out through the interior of the back bar—yes, through that alarmed back door that's been off limits for years.)

2:21 p.m.: Get sad everyone: they're out of eggs.

2:28 p.m.: A commenter asks what will be different about the South Lamar brick-and-mortar compared to the HITW outfit, and Qui tells us: "There will be a different surprise." No, we can't tell you more than that. Yes, we're sorry.

eskbathroom1.jpg2:50 p.m.: Things have settled down, and while there's still a line, plenty of tables open inside and on the patio. Also consistent Beatles on the jukebox, if you needed yet another selling point.

3:30 p.m.: Paul Qui (who is dying to know the identity of Larry McGuire Fantasy Commenter, BTW) says they've got some kinks to work out, but he's pleased so far. The biggest misstep of the day: opening two registers early, which meant lots of people sitting and waiting for food after they'd ordered. But folks "don't mind waiting in line," says Qui.

3:41 p.m.: If you visit the ESK@HITW bathrooms, chances are you'll spot a notice from @QuiPuns, rumored to be the meme-inducing brainchild of the Ramen Tatsu-ya guys. (Photo at right.)

3:44 p.m.: Overheard: "Damn, I'm so fucking hungry!"

eskhitwsign.jpg4:39 p.m.: It's beer o'clock at Eater liveblog headquarters. Expect things to get either a lot more or a lot less interesting. Still quiet, no dinner rush yet.

4:48 p.m.: Fully taken out of context: "Rick's dicks!" - @DeanaSaukam

5:05 p.m.: Six or so folks in line right now, but the back bar's busy with drinkers. Happy hour special: $3 Maker's Mark.

5:21 p.m.: June Rodil has allowed herself a sip of Deana's greyhound. Says things are running much more smoothly now, but the lunch rush was insane. But you already know that. Because you've been with us all day long.

5:25 p.m.: Eater readers, don't all pile on at once: the line is back!


5:46 p.m.: Since it's eating and drinking time now, to be clear: get your adult beverages at the back bar, but order your food at the kitchen counter. Overheard: "I'm just going to take all my money."

5:56 p.m.: Eater National editor Raphael Brion brings us an important pinball update: he says the games inside at ESK have been recently reset, so it's very easy to score free games with a low score.

6:07 p.m.: The sweet smells of curry ramen are wafting over the Eater table.

6:25 p.m.: The line is officially out the door.


6:30 p.m.: And Paul Qui hisownself is working the kitchen. With that, we're signing off for the night. Come say hi to the table if you stop by and tell us how your meal was—we're out on the patio, look for the lady with the short hair and the Miller High Life t-shirt.


· ESK @HITW [Official]
· All East Side King Coverage on Eater Austin [-EATX-]

East Side King at Hole In The Wall

2538 Guadalupe Street Austin, TX 78705