That Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden expansion is finally nearing completion on 79 Rainey Street. New to the restaurant will be the whole hog barbecue operation and a three-story, 15,000 square-foot building. It’s slated to open sometime in August.
The bigger space will include a smokehouse with giant fireplaces to support what owner Ben Siegel believes is the first regularly operating whole hog barbecue in Texas (he said this was verified by the state’s barbecue expert Daniel Vaughn). The two pig-dedicated pits, which will be found where Banger’s dog park used to be, will operate for the restaurant for three days, and then independently the rest of the week. Banger’s has been testing their methods with monthly whole-animal smoke-out events.
The new building will feature an alfresco bar with an additional 101 beer taps, which will service the entire restaurant and bring the total number of taps to 207. This allows Banger’s to broaden its beer selections, and go deep into styles that may not appeal to everyone.
The ground floor of the new building will be used as a private event space with a full bar. The 300-capacity room features a fun custom wallpaper print with pigs, beers, and bones on a brick-red background. The basement also contains a pickling room for vegetables (used in dishes from jams to sauerkraut) as well as a beer cellar.
The second floor, with a capacity of 400, will house Banger’s new meat processing and curing facility, producing country-style ham, bacon, and salami.
The third floor will house employee offices, although Siegel also hopes to use the conference room to host classes, and the upstairs deck will be used for events. He’s unsure what will become of the current offices behind the existing stage, though it might be converted into retail space.
Outdoors, the dog park will come back in a new location, and there will be a second larger stage. The new building will be open to the public Thursday through Sunday, and then it will be used to prep food during its off-days.
Siegel noted that it will take a few years to fully realize all that he hopes to do with the space. Siegel’s wife, Lauren, helped design the interior spaces, and the couple scavenged lots of vintage wooden doors and light fixtures to make the space unique, as well as custom tile work in several of the rooms.
Siegel opened Banger’s in July 2012, and quickly realized the restaurant needed additional space. He wanted to optimize the food prep process to capitalize on the restaurant’s proximity to the Austin Convention Center, and build infrastructure for its future, so he bought the land for the expansion in 2014. The new space will bring Banger’s capacity up to 1,800 people across the entirety of the restaurant.