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New York City-Style Tavern Opens in East Austin With Pastrami

The owners of Cafe Malta are opening Gotham in the former Al Fico space

Nadia Chaudhury/EATX
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

A new restaurant is taking over the old Al Fico space on 1700 East 2nd Street. The casual New York-styled tavern Gotham is opening tomorrow, Thursday, July 12, from the co-owners of Cafe Malta. The East Cesar Chavez neighborhood restaurant will open for dinner only at first.

Gotham’s menu is full of classic dishes, from house-made pastrami, oysters on the half shell with a Bloody Mary mix, cold-smoked salmon, and burgers. The restaurant inherited Al Fico’s wood-burning pizza oven, which means the restaurant will Neapolitan pies with toppings like that pastrami, clams, and prosciutto. Desserts will include cheesecake, naturally, and mocha tarts.

Nick Goulding decided on a New York tavern as a callback to his time spent in the East Coast city during his 20s and 30s. “In some ways, East Austin reminds me of that, and it just took me back to that phase of life.” Goulding’s inspirations were his favorite old-school New York taverns like Fanelli’s Cafe, Raoul’s, and Pete’s Tavern, bars and restaurants “that were great places to hang around in,” he said.

For cocktails, there is a drink for every spirit, as well as beer and wine. There are nods to the East Coast and Irish themes with the Brooklyn Lager draft and cans of Boddington’s Pub Ale and Guinness Stout.

The ready-built space made it easier for Nick and his wife Jessica to open the restaurant. They added a bar section where Al Fico’s service area was, with a pressed tin back wall. New to the restaurant are the taller bar tables that run down the center of the space. There are new tables and chairs, but the old booths along the side of the wall remained from its predecessor. The patio will be utilized for outdoor dining too.

The Gouldings opened Cafe Malta, the Mediterranean restaurant in southwest Austin, six and a half years ago. Helming Gotham’s kitchen, along with Nicholas, is kitchen manager Julio Cruz, who also oversees Cafe Malta too.

After much delays, the Italian restaurant Al Fico opened in October 2015 from co-owners Jeff Courington and Kelly Bell, but it quickly closed in May 2016.

Gotham’s dinner service is from 4 to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and then until midnight Friday and Saturday. It will expand into weekend brunch, and then weekday lunch, sometime in the future.


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