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The Early Word on Chi’Lantro’s South Austin Brick and Mortar

Read on for the good and bad news on the small space, quick table turnaround, and new menu additions.

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Chilantro BBQ/Facebook
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

Korean-Mexican fusion Chi’Lantro took over the former A-OK Chinese space on South Lamar for its first brick and mortar earlier in January. Along with its famous kimchi fries, the trailer expanded its menu to include breakfast tacos and rice bowls. Read on for the early word.

The food — Overall, the reactions to the expanded menu were positive. The standby kimchi fries delivered For Yelper Joshua O., who commented, "When you put those things in your mouth and taste all the different flavors all together that just pop, you realize after a few seconds this meal was worth every penny." Others weren’t impressed with the new additions, like the breakfast options. Yelper Errol M. said, "Yeah, it's good & filling & all that, but there was nothing that made me think, ‘Whoa, I'm eating at Chi'Lantro!’" Yelper Jenny S. didn’t like the fried rice balls: "It's literally what the name says with a slight kimchi flavor, not impressed at all and felt like this was a waste of money."

The space — The former A-OK Chinese spot was small, which makes it harder to get tables during popular times. Yelper Brandon K. said, "It’s all about the battle for a table, so when one opens up, you better be willing to fight for it."  Yelper Alex L. recommends Chi’Lantro as "definitely a great place to get take out from if you live in the area." For others, it didn’t bother them much. Yelper Allyson K. described it as "feel[ing] very open and is well laid out." For Yelper Tiffany C., the static brick and mortar is better because "it’s easier than finding trucks and following them, haha."

The service — Despite the tight quarters and long lines, the staff makes the space work. "I was afraid I wouldn’t get a table," said Yelper Mai H., "but the turnaround is fast on both the making of the food and the eating of the food." Yelper Neftalí J. echoed that sentiment: "YASS to the efficiency they've built into their service. I mean, seriously, people hadn't even walked out the door before the table they were sitting at was cleared and cleaned."

The atmosphere — Despite the small space, many enjoyed the ambiance of Chi’Lantro. Yelper Mai H. appreciated how it was, "Super bright even on a rainy, dreary day like it was today." For Yelper Cynthia C., the restaurant "reminds me of Peached Tortilla’s brick & mortar vibe," going on to describe it as "casual, trendy, simple colors." However, for Yelper Jonathan Z., there was something still lacking: "These are very creative concepts, and I think everyone should still try it, but for some reason, it didn't hit the spot like I thought it would. It's missing something that I can't put my finger on just yet…"


1324 North Shepherd Drive, , TX 77008 (281) 975-0129 Visit Website

Chi'lantro BBQ

5222 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78756 (512) 852-9970 Visit Website