Suerte, the new Mexican restaurant with Texas ingredients in East Austin, opens tonight on 1800 East 6th Street from owner Sam Hellman-Mass and executive chef Fermín Nuñez. The East Austin restaurant is all about masa, from fresh tortillas to tostadas to tlayudas.
Eater photographer Robert J. Lerma took a sneak peek of the restaurant before it opened. Take a look below at the space designed by architects Matt Garcia, Bart Whatley, and Allison Burke Interior Designs.
“How do we express our connection to Mexico both as the inspiration of the food and space in a way that’s authentic to us?” Hellman-Mass asked, who knows about really caring about food. He is one of the founding partners of Bryce Gilmore’s Austin-forever Odd Duck. The physical space full of millennial pink (though the actual name of the color is “shrimp salad”), creams, and lighter wood colors, is meant to exude that connection between East Austin and Mexico.
The spacious high-ceiling dining room features prominent objects and details from the two regions, a result of Hellman-Mass and Nuñez’s travels to Mexico and their Austin network. The pecan tabletops come from the woodshop at Boggy Creek Farms, the pecan/steel bar stools were built by Austin-based Creature Design Builds, the pale fabrics that line the walls, ceiling, and booths were fashioned by Oaxacan artist Arturo Hernández, and mezcal bottles sourced from Mexico were formed into a giant light fixture.
Suerte’s menu is simple. There are “snackcidents” (read: snacks), Vitamin T (Mexican dishes that begin with the letter “T” like tlacoyo, tamal, tlayuda, and yes, tacos), raw fish, entrees from vegetables to goat barbacoa. Desserts include a duck egg flan paired with orange/apricot sorbet, tapioca with milk, and churros with house-ground chocolate. The restaurant plans on adding brunch at a later date, one of Nuñez’s favorite meals to cook.
“I fell in love with figuring out masa,” Hellman-Mass said, “and wanted to make a restaurant that was focused on masa with local ingredients. It’s just delicious, and I think the things in cooking that are the most challenging are often the most simple,” like, say, masa. The restaurant uses Richardson Farms’ bloody butcher red corn and Barton Spring Mills’ heirloom ones.
The restaurant is open from 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and from 5 to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.