South Austin Indian restaurant, bar, connivence market, and beer shop Whip In switched hands from longtime owners and founders the Topiwala family to Quickie Pickie’s Zahir Prasla. With the new ownership come major changes for the restaurant in the near future, including renovations and a new menu.
Whip In’s new menu will remain Indian at its core, but will steer away from the fusion dishes it was known for. Snacks and appetizers like pakoras and samosas will be available, along with curries; English-style dishes like Ploughman’s lunch, chips, and Scotch eggs; and Indian street food. The restaurant will also offer nightly specials, like lamb korma.
Brunch is in the works as well, with dishes like coconut flour pancakes, a Punjabi take on pozole, and Indian version of chicken and waffles. Martine Pèlegrin, who is serving as the general manager and temporary executive chef, will bring back some classic Whip In dishes based on recipes from previous chef and owner Chandan Topiwala, like her spicy lamb meatballs. Whip In’s current kitchen manager Andrea Juarez is training to take over as executive chef in about a year.
Pèlegrin was Whip In’s executive chef from 2011 to 2013, when she learned from Topiwala. She left to revamp Quickie Pickie’s menu in 2013.
The grocery aspect of Whip In will morph as well, as the team finds out what the South Austin neighborhood needs and wants. Pèlegrin said it would most likely focus on staples and sundries, along with ice cream, frozen foods, candy, and beer and wine.
Physical changes to Whip In include adding more restrooms, combining the beer and wine bars, and increasing seating throughout the space. Those renovations should be completed by the end of September. During that time in the fall, the retail and bar area will stay open while the kitchen will close for five to seven days.
Prasla bought Whip In earlier this year in February, but waited to announce changes until recently. “It was an emotional time for many of the longtime employees,” Pèlegrin said, “so he elected to put off making changes until the emotional dust settled.”
The Topiwala family opened Whip In in 1986, when the building was just a gas station. Dipak Topiwala took over the restaurant/market from his parents in 2004, when he added in-house brewing to the mix. He left in 2016 to branch out that brewery aspect with Kamala Gardens Brewery with Jim Sampson, who co-founded Twisted X Brewing. He opened chutney taco food truck Lotus Joint in the meantime. It had been roaming around Austin, but it will make South Congress its permanent home when coffee shop Cosmic Coffee and Beer opens on Pickle Road.
- All Coverage of Whip In [EATX]