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11 Austin Restaurants to Get Excited About in 2018

Lots of barbecue and biscuits and all-day cafes

Bird Bird Biscuit sandwich
Bird Bird Biscuit’s sandwich
Chelsea Laine Francis

It’s a new year, and that means there’s a whole new slate of restaurants to look forward to in the next 12 months, ready and geared to serve the hungry city. Here are Austin’s most anticipated restaurants for 2018.

It’ll be a big year for barbecue and smoke-inspired restaurants. Get ready for Aaron Franklin’s first non-Franklin Barbecue project with Tyson Cole (that guy behind Uchi and Uchiko) in the form of Asian smokehouse Loro. Then there’s Stiles Switch’s Dripping Springs restaurant dedicated to smoked meats and Cajun fare. And finally, Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ will soon break ground on its brick-and-mortar Manchaca restaurant.

All-day cafes are descending upon Austin too. Bryce Gilmore and company is getting into the fast-casual game with bakery/all-day cafe/bar Sour Duck Market. And Wright Bros. Brew & Brew opening its own cafe near Clarksville, along with a brewery.

While, yes, there are a lot of delayed restaurants from last year, there are still new ones that will shake the scene up, like biscuit sandwiches from Bird Bird Biscuit.

For a more focused look at winter’s highly anticipated winter openings, Eater Austin has that covered elsewhere, and Eater National has the details on the country’s biggest openings.

Everything below is listed in projected chronological order. As always, if there’s a major spot that Eater isn’t aware of, shoot over a tip.

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Sour Duck Market

Location: 1814 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, Central East Austin
Key Players: chef/owner Bryce Gilmore, partner Dylan Gilmore, chef Mark Buley, partner Jason James, pastry chef Ashley Whitmore
Projected Opening: February or March 2018

Bryce Gilmore is venturing into fast-casual territory with his third restaurant. The all-day cafe and bar will focus on baked goods (inventive pastries, breads), quick and easy burgers and sandwiches, smoked meats (of course, it’s Texas after all), and draft cocktails. Everything is meant to showcase the best that Austin and Texas can provide, using locally sourced ingredients and produce.

The Pancho & Left cocktail at Fairmont
The Pancho & Left cocktail at Fairmont
Fairmont Austin/Official

Fairmont Austin

Location: 101 Red River Street
Key Players: David Garcelon, Andre Natera, Atticus Garant, Benjamin Metais, Jason Purcell, Evan Miller, Alex Gonzalez, Andrew Grenz
Projected Opening: February 2018

Might the much-delayed downtown hotel finally open this year? Room reservations are being accepted for Thursday, February 15 and so forth, and the hotel will serve as a major hub for SXSW events and panels. On deck are five restaurants, ranging from food hall-inspired Revue, grill house Garrison to cocktail bar Rules & Regs with 7th-floor views.

A dish from Guild
A dish from Guild
Madeline Burrows

Guild

Location: 3800 North Lamar Boulevard, Rosedale
Key Players: owner Stuart Thomajan, chef Sterling Ridings, Hannah Yerby, pastry chef Monica Glenn Sullivan, Lindsay Drew, Chameleon Group
Projected Opening: February 2018

The seafood restaurant from Wu Chow/Swift’s Attic will showcase the former Uchi executive chef’s fish skills with refreshing dishes. He’ll make use of broths and produce for the restaurant’s plated and shareable dishes, including ceviches and crudo.

Tofu soup from H Mart
Tofu soup from H Mart
H Mart/Facebook

H Mart

Location: 11301 Lakeline Boulevard
Key Players: Il Yeon Kwon, Stacey Kwon, Deuki Hong
Projected Opening: February 2018

The Korean supermarket giant is making its first Austin appearance this year. Along with Asian groceries and the such, it will debut H Mart’s brand new food court Market Eatery. It will feature branches of San Francisco chef Hong’s Korean barbecue restaurant Sunday BBQ and Korean fried chicken spot Sunday Bird. It will also include another location of Snow Monster, plus places for boba tea, sushi, tofu soup, and Korean baked goods.

Loro’s smoked turkey with yellow curry vinaigrette and golden raisins
Loro’s smoked turkey with yellow curry vinaigrette and golden raisins
Loro/Facebook

Loro

Location: 2115 South Lamar Boulevard, South Austin
Key Players: chef/owner Tyson Cole, pitmaster Aaron Franklin, chef James Dumapit, chef Jack Yoss, Hai Hospitality
Projected Opening: Late March 2018

Japanese cuisine and sushi expert Cole joins forces with brisket whisperer Franklin for what could be Austin’s most new exciting restaurant. The Asian smokehouse will be way more casual than Cole’s other restaurants (Uchi, Uchiko), with barbecue joint vibes (think counter-service, giant outdoor patio with lawn games) and excellent service.

A dish from the Brewer’s Table
A dish from the Brewer’s Table
Brewer’s Table/Official

The Brewer’s Table

Location: 4715 East 5th Street, Govalle
Key Players: Jake Maddux, executive chef Zach Hunter, head brewer Drew Durish
Projected Opening: March 2018

It’s about beer and food at the restaurant and brewery with a wood-fermented beer program. Hunter (formerly of Fixe) will cook up seasonal fare that will pair well with Durish’s beers (he used to work at Live Oak Brewing. The indoor/outdoor restaurant will be found in a Quonset hut with a special namesake brewer’s table on the mezzanine level.

The Switch’s logo
The Switch’s logo
The Switch/Facebook

The Switch

Location: West Highway 290 and Nutty Brown Road, Belterra Village, Dripping Springs
Key Players: owner Shane Stiles, pitmaster Lance Kirkpatrick, chef Todd Duplechan, pitmaster Bill Dumas, pitmaster Christopher McGhee, general manager Tony Pollock
Projected Opening: March 2018

The Brentwood barbecue joint’s new restaurant finally has a name. The Switch will serve up smoked meats and Cajun food, making good use of its four custom-built smokers and cold smoke room. On deck is the indoor/outdoor bar focusing on margaritas, cocktails, and Texas beers.

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Better Half & Hold Out Brewing

Location: 406 Walsh Street & 1208 West 4th Street, West Austin
Key Players: co-owners Matthew Bolick, Matt Wright, Grady Wright, general manager Mark Stowe, executive chef Rich Reimbolt, executive pastry chef Jennifer Tucker, bar manager Leenie Boyle, head brewer Brent Sapstead
Projected Opening: Early 2018

The team behind Wright Bros. Brew & Brew is opening an all-day neighborhood cafe with adjacent brewery Better Hold Out. Expect burgers, biscuits, arepas, coffee, and cocktails. The brewery’s Texas-inspired beer program will range from lagers to hoppy pale ales, and its kitchen will dish out sandwiches.

Black Bean Dobladita from last nights masa making class @fifthandwest

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Suerte

Location: 1800 East 6th Street, East Side
Key Players: owner Sam Hellman-Mass, chef Fermín Núñez, general manager John Michael Williams
Projected Opening: Winter 2018

As one of the founding partners of Odd Duck, it makes sense that Hellman-Mass is as obsessive about true sourcing and techniques when it comes to his first solo restaurant. The Mexican-inspired menu will include house-made masa dishes.

Bird Bird Biscuit’s biscuit sandwiches
Bird Bird Biscuit’s biscuit sandwiches
Chelsea Laine Francis

Bird Bird Biscuit

Location: 2701 Manor Road, Central East Austin
Key Players: co-owners Ryan McElroy and chef Brian Batch
Projected Opening: Spring 2018

It’s a simple menu, really, from Thunderbird Coffee. Biscuit sandwiches with fillings from chicken sausages, fried chicken, fried eggs, and all sorts of cheese. It makes sense, too, that good coffee is on deck too.

Valentina’s brisket burger
Valentina’s brisket burger
Valentina’s/Facebook

Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ

Location: 11500 Manchaca Road, Far South Austin
Key Players: Miguel Vidal, Modesty Vidal
Projected Opening: Late 2018

It’s been a long time coming, but the Tex-Mex barbecue trailer’s brick-and-mortar dream will still happen, pending all the zoning and planning approvals. The goal is to start construction by the end of the summer. Look forward to an expanded menu of new dishes, specialty smoked meats, and, even better: indoor seating. Until then, satisfy those cravings with the food trailer that is parked at the address.

Suerte

1800 East 6th Street, , TX 78702 (512) 953-0092 Visit Website

Guild

3800 North Lamar Boulevard, , TX 78756 (512) 975-2626 Visit Website

Hold Out Brewing

1208 West 4th Street, , TX 78703 (512) 305-3540 Visit Website

Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ

11500 Menchaca Road, , TX 78748 (512) 221-4248 Visit Website

The Brewer's Table

4715 East 5th Street, , TX 78702 (512) 520-8199 Visit Website

Bird Bird Biscuit

2701 Manor Road, , TX 78722 (512) 761-4922 Visit Website

Sour Duck Market

1814 East Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard, , TX 78702 (512) 394-5776 Visit Website

Better Half

406 Walsh Street, Austin, Texas 78703 Visit Website

H Mart

11301 Lakeline Boulevard, , TX 78717 (737) 717-6900 Visit Website

Fairmont Austin

101 Red River Street, , TX 78701 (512) 600-2000 Visit Website

The Switch

166 Hargraves Street, , TX 78737 (512) 212-7211 Visit Website

Loro

2115 South Lamar Boulevard, Austin, Texas 78704 Visit Website

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