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ELM Group to Open 'Unpretentious' New American Spot Irene's

The new restaurant from the Easy Tiger/Arro group will open in the former Joe’s Bar and Grill on West Avenue.

The future location of Irene's
The future location of Irene's

ELM Restaurant Group is keeping themselves busy by announcing a new restaurant concept today, Irene's, while still working on Italic, an Italian restaurant set to open next spring. The newest addition to the ELM family, along with 24 Diner, Easy Tiger, and Arro, the restaurant is named after partner Chad Gluckson’s grandmother, whom he described as a "drinking, smoking, gambling woman with an immense heart and a keen understanding of true hospitality," according to a press release.

On the locally-sourced New American menu will be Executive Chef Andrew Curren’s breakfast served from the counter window, lunch with soups and sandwiches, and dinners with daily blue plate specials. The drink program includes boozy punches, local beers, and cocktails. The Central Austin restaurant, located in the former Joe’s Bar and Grill, will boast an outdoor patio complete with pecan trees on Shoal Creek, custom-built metal bike stand, atrium, and even an upright piano.

Irene’s is expected to open in next April. The full press release is below.

AUSTIN – December 10, 2014 – On the heels of the announcement of forthcoming Italian concept ITALIC (Spring 2015), the team behind ELM Restaurant Group (24 Diner, Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden, Arro) revealed today that they have another project in the works: Irene’s. The muse for this classic American bar and restaurant is the grandmother of partner Chad Gluckson, who describes the real-life Southern charmer as a "drinking, smoking, gambling woman with an immense heart and a keen understanding of true hospitality."

Located in central Austin at 506 West Avenue (the former home of Joe’s Bar & Grill), Irene’s has the soul of an unpretentious dive bar but manages to keep a firm hand on service and a keen eye to hospitality. The workday begins with breakfast served at the counter window. Grab a thick slice of warm, buttered toast or a housemade cinnamon roll along with a cup of coffee (or even a pack of smokes, if you are so inclined), and meander back to the spacious patio nestled beneath massive pecan trees on the banks of Shoal Creek. The folks from Eden Garden Design are the masterminds behind this fantastic retreat from the bustle of downtown.

When midday hits, park your bike in front of the shop at the custom metal bike stand created by local artist & Windmill Bicycles owner Aaron Goeth. Lunch features belly-warming soups, seasonal salads and classic sandwiches such as Philly cheesesteaks, meatball subs and tuna melts. As with all ELM concepts, Chef Andrew Curren always takes great care in sourcing quality local produce and preparing even simple dishes with the utmost care. For heartier fare at night, consider daily Blue Plate specials such as BBQ chicken, red beans & rice and chicken pot pie – or go for a massive steak served in a cast-iron skillet with a whiskey on the side.

ELM’s Beverage Director Craig Collins will oversee the bar offerings, which includes house-mixed boozy punches with fresh fruit, a variety of local taps and a curated selection of strong, well-conceived cocktails. The Keith Richards contains house-squeezed orange juice and Stoli vodka garnished with a black licorice straw; the Goodnight Irene has, in the words of our namesake, "double vodka, a splash of lemon and cranberry for color"; and a Jack Daniels poured over Mexican Coke always hits the spot.

The interior, which was originally constructed to house a Jaguar repair shop, is simple and spare. Designer Veronica Koltuniak of VeroKolt was tasked with stripping the sparse metal and steel structure back to the basics while still creating a warm, authentic-feeling space. Equally lovely by day or night, the back of the shop features an atrium and skylights with hanging ferns on a tackle & rope pulley system. Belly up to the wire-brushed red pinewood bar adorned with vintage work lamps, or head over to the back of the bar for an impromptu round of poker or a song on the upright piano. Irene would heartily approve.

Anticipated opening date: April 2015.

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