James Beard Award-winning chef and Top Chef winner Paul Qui is closing his Austin restaurant, Kuneho. In March 2016, Qui was arrested on assault charges against his girlfriend. A call to the reservations desk confirmed the last day of service will be this Saturday, November 11.
Update, November 8: Paul Qui confirmed the shutter as well. "Yes, we're closing, but not sure what the future holds," he told Eater. "Still figuring that part out."
The Japanese and sushi restaurant used to be Qui, which the chef opened with his Top Chef winnings in June 2013. Qui the restaurant underwent many different iterations, from various tasting menu configurations until it closed last September. It was his way of refocusing his efforts after the well-publicized arrest.
That East 6th space was renovated and reopened as Kuneho with a sushi counter and bar counterpart The Borough in January 2017. The restaurant recently launched an izakaya program at its bar on Friday and Saturday from midnight to 2 a.m.
After his arrest in 2016, Qui entered rehab for a month, and then he came back to his restaurants: then-Qui, Asian food truck East Side King, Thai food truck and brick and mortar East Side King Thai Kun, kaiseki Otoko.
In the meantime, Qui expanded into Houston with a new restaurant, Aqui (get it?), which focuses on the chef’s tried and true approach of Japanese-Filipino techniques and fare. East Side King Thai Kun also opened a dedicated chicken trailer on South Lamar.
Qui’s pre-trial hearing for his domestic violence arrest charge has been pushed back to Friday, November 17.
With reporting by Erin Russell.