Austinites' cries for more Italian have been heard loud and clear by restauranteurs, it seems. Another new Italian restaurant is slated to open in 2015, this time on Barton Springs. Juliet will waltz into the former Umami Mia space, which was also previously home to long-lived Italian restaurant Romeo's. According to a rep for the restaurant, the name wasn't chosen to reflect the former tenant, but "the association" is a nice bonus.
Chef Jacob Weaver, who was previously at Asti, heads up the project. According to a press release, the restaurant will focus on "simple, approachable Italian flavors presented in a modern format." Clayton Little Architects and Joel Mozersky Design will revamp the building, and Mark Word will create "Italy-meets-Texas" gardens. The restaurant is expected to open in mid-spring. Other 2015 Italian projects include the long-awaited Al Fico, Italic from the ELM Group and Juniper on Cesar Chavez from an Uchi alum.
The full press release is below.
Juliet Set to Open on Barton Springs Mid-Spring, Announces Jacob Weaver as Executive Chef
Juliet brings dream culinary and design team together for well-crafted Italian culinary experience
January 27, 2015 (Austin, TX) - It was announced today that a new Italian eatery, Juliet, will open later this spring at 1500 Barton Springs Road. Austin chef Jacob Weaver, most recently of Asti, will be at the helm, offering the freshest ingredients inspired by the bounty and creativity of Italy. Weaver's menu will combine variations on traditional favorites like wood fired pizza, pasta, seafood and steak with a rotating selection of daily specials and an authentic selection of pastries, desserts and breads.
"I am most excited about the opportunity to start from scratch with a menu and kitchen driven by my own thoughts, philosophies and style. The menu at Juliet will be a study of simple, approachable Italian flavors presented in a modern format," says Weaver. He adds, "I am grateful for the valuable time I have spent at Asti, and I look forward to bringing my take on Italian to Austin through Juliet."
A native Texan from Corpus Christi, Weaver has been in Austin for ten years with experience working at Mulberry and Haddington's before his most recent time with Asti. In addition to Asti's Emmett and Lisa Fox, he counts chefs Sam Dickey, Will Packwood, Zack Northcutt, Andy Sasser among his influences and mentors.
"I believe the essence of Italian cuisine is derived from what is grown or harvested nearby, and I think the terroir and environs of Texas present so many similarities to that of Italy, " says Weaver. "I look forward to having the Texas surroundings inspire the soul of my Italian cooking."
Juliet partners Neeca Leitao and Dan Wilkins are relative newcomers to the restaurant industry who have deep entrepreneurial, financial, retail and operations experience, each with their own profound appreciation for travel, food and wine. "I love Italian wine, food and the abundant ‘feeling' of Italy", says Leitao. "It seemed to be the perfect time to launch this concept, in this ideal location and setting, and I knew we needed dream team to realize the vision. I feel very fortunate to have the culinary and design talent we have on board," Leitao adds.
The designers are well-known to Austinites: Paul Clayton of Clayton Little Architects is reimagining the building while Joel Mozersky of Joel Mozersky Design leads the interior design team and Mark Word conceives the lush "Italy-meets-Texas" gardens. When asked about the design inspiration for Juliet, Mozersky often refers to iconic Italian architect Gio Ponti as well as Fellini's film "La Dolce Vita", describing the project as a "marriage of romanticism and classic Italian design."
Juliet is slated for- mid spring opening at 1500 Barton Springs Road.