Fareground, Austin’s first proper food hall in downtown on 111 Congress Avenue, opened two years ago. And there have been a bunch of changes since then. The current lineup of the food hall included some of the city’s best chefs and restaurants: Dai Due’s Jesse Griffiths; Emmer & Rye’s Kevin Fink and Tavel Bristol-Joseph (with Henbit); Contigo’s Andrew Wiseheart; Kome’s Kayo and Take Asazu; TLV’s Berty Richter, and Italic’s Andrew Curren.
Behind the food hall is ELM Restaurant Group, which curated the stellar group (and of which Curren is a partner). The hall said farewell to two of its original tenants: cheese shop and restaurant Antonelli’s (which still operates in Hyde Park) and bakery and sandwich spot Easy Tiger. (Originally under the ELM umbrella, Easy Tiger broke off from the company last year after Fareground debuted.)
Here is Eater’s updated guide to Fareground, including what to expect from each vendor, how everything works, and what’s coming up for the food hall in the near future.
- The food hall, designed by Michael Hsu, is found on the subterranean level of the Congress Avenue address. Take the stairs down to access the food vendors.
- There is a parking garage found on Brazos Street between Cesar Chavez and 2nd streets. It isn’t on the same block as Fareground, rather, it is found on the next block east of the food hall. Enter under the sign that reads “One Eleven.” Parking will be discounted for those who purchase food and drinks at the food hall (validation will be printed on the receipt). With the discount, parking will cost $3 for every half-hour, with a maximum charge of $21. (The typical rate is $7 for every 30 minutes with a maximum of $45.) There is a pathway into the lobby of the building and the food hall from the garage.
- Seating is spread throughout the food hall and the building’s lobby. It extends outside to the outdoor patio and lawn area as well. Customers can bring drinks outside. There are communal tables with butcher block tops, high tops, and more.
- Fareground’s hours are from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the weekdays, and then 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the weekends. Vendor hours vary within that.
Chef Berty Richter opened up this stall based on his popular (but now closed) food truck Hummus Among Us, He’s helped out by fellow Fareground tenants chef Kevin Fink and pastry chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph from Henbit (see below). TLV took over the former Easy Tiger spot.
The menu features breakfast, brunch, and lunch/dinner options. Of the first, there are bagels and labneh and savory pastries called bourekas. For the weekend mornings, expect classic shakshuka and a Turkish spread with fried eggs, beef sausage, kashkaval cheese, and pita. The last section contains hummus, plates, various takes on vegetables, pita sandwiches, and sweets like custard with rose water and pomegranate syrup, and sufganiyot.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
Downtown sensation Emmer & Rye debuted its second-ever restaurant within Fareground with Henbit from chefs Kevin Fink and Tavel Bristol-Joseph. The restaurant applies its local and seasonal approach to the fast-casual restaurant for breakfast and lunch, or what it calls, “farm-focused fast food.”
Henbit serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The morning menu includes dishes like breakfast bowls and egg-filled breakfast burritos. Lunch and dinner features plates, bowls, and salads with meats and vegetables. Then there’s the famous massive monster cookie available for dessert.
For beverages, there are plentiful matcha options, shrub sodas, coffee, tea, and juices.
Much like Henbit, Contigo’s downtown location is the fast-casual version of the classic Austin restaurant. Some favorite dishes are available, from the essential burger to the crispy green beans. Here, chef Andrew Wiseheart also ventures into newer territories with a rotisserie chicken, chicken wings (dry kimchi rub or lemon pepper), veggie burgers, and grab-and-go salads.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Other Locations: Contigo, 2027 Anchor Lane, MLK
Kayo and Take Asazu combined their two key restaurants, sushi spot Kome and downtown chicken broth ramen savior Daruma Ramen, into one mash-up menu. As such, Ni-Kome serves sushi and ramen. The menu will feature combination sushi lunches, choose-your-own-roll combinations, and nigiri, as well as chicken broth-based ramen and vegan ramen, alongside Japanese snacks like shumai and takoyaki. It’s the only vendor that features its own seating (here, at its sushi bar), but also encourages patrons to bring over food and drinks from its neighbors in the food hall.
Dai Due Taqueria
It’s all about tacos for Dai Due’s food hall stand with chef Jesse Griffiths. He wanted to focus on Mexican street food for the downtown location, but with the same Dai Due ethos: hyper-seasonality and the utmost sustainability for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Yes, there’s a charcoal trompo.
This means tacos made with wild game. Meat from feral hogs shows up in wild boar chorizo. Hill Country venison spins into barbacoa. The meat selection will venture elsewhere with ducks, turkeys, quail, and seafood sourced from the Gulf and Central Texas rivers. Vegetables are also important, like in the grilled mushrooms taco.
The tacos make use of either flour tortillas made with Barton Springs Mill Sonoran flour, or different Mexican heirloom corn varieties, which will be nixtamalized, cooked, and ground in-house. Weekend brunches include tortas, chilaquiles, and posole made with wild boar.
For desserts, there are tallow-fried churros. Dai Due will also serve up its cafe de la olla alongside aguas frescas and brown rice and pecan horchata. Tortillas are available for retail purchase as well.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Other Locations: Dai Due, 2406 Manor Road, Cherrywood
It was a former ELM to current ELM switcheroo for this last proper Fareground stall. After the restaurant group’s old bakery Easy Tiger closed up its food hall location, ELM decided to place a second location of its Italian restaurant Italic as of early 2019. Under chef Andrew Curren, the menu features selected items from the West 6th Street restaurant, such as sandwiches (meatball sub, roast beef), lasagna and other such pastas, and salads.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
Other Locations: Italic, 123 West Sixth Street, Downtown
The bar menu was created to pair well with food from the Fareground vendors. The counter-service bar serves up 12 beers, six draft cocktails (pineapple mezcal punches with Dai Due tacos), plus wines, Bloody Marys, mimosas, sake, and Micheladas. Half bottles of wine will be available too.
The street-level bar features selected dishes from each of hall’s various vendors, as well as cocktails.
- All Coverage of Fareground [EATX]