The heat of summer has descended on Austin, which means it’s time for Eater’s seasonal preview of the most anticipated restaurant openings of this quarter. Summer has already brought three big openings: Goan-Portuguese restaurant Vixen’s Wedding, casual Cajun spot Lefty’s Brick Bar, and Japanese shabu-shabu destination DipDipDip Tatsu-ya.
The next slate of Austin restaurants this season include East Austin Mexican restaurant Nixta Taqueria from a former chef of several top-notch Los Angeles restaurants, the revamped Clarksville bakery from a prolific local hospitality group, and the first Texas location of fast-casual Mediterranean chain the Kebab Shop, among others.
With that, here are Austin’s most anticipated restaurants this summer, plus a look at what fall will bring.
See an impending restaurant opening missing below? Send it through the tipline. This guide will be updated throughout the season as details change and places open.
Location: 2512 East 12th Street, Chestnut
Key Players: Chef Edgar Rico, Sara Mardanbigi
Projected Opening: Summer
The casual taco spot is being heralded by first-time restaurant owners chef Edgar Rico and Sara Mardanbigi. The focus of the Mexican menu is corn tortillas, used for tacos and tostadas, topped with fresh, fun ingredients like clams, eggplant, Oaxacan cheese, and more. Rounding out the offerings are refreshing paletas like horchata and fruity aguas frescas. Rico knows his food: The chef has spent time in the kitchens of Los Angeles restaurants Son of a Gun, Trois Mec, and Sqirl, as well as Austin’s Peached Social House.
Location: 1120 West 6th Street, Clarksville
Key Players: Page Pressley, Alex Manley, Jennifer Tucker, McGuire Moorman Hospitality Group
Projected Opening: Late summer
Status: Now open
The next McGuire Moorman Hospitality Group trick is the major revamp of the beloved Sweetish Hill Bakery. Renamed (slightly) to Swedish Hill Bakery & Deli, the restaurant will focus on fun baked goods like cakes, pop tarts, bagels, pop tarts, buttercups (filled muffin-shaped croissants) as witnessed by its weekend bake sales, along with sandwiches, smoked fish, etc. Joining the fantastic baking duo Alex Manley and Jennifer Tucker is former Emmer & Rye chef Page Pressley as the executive chef.
Location: 2110 South Congress Avenue, Bouldin
Key Players: Doug Zell, Andrew Werth
Projected Opening: Early September
The ambitious Meteor seeks to combine a cafe, beer and wine bar, pizzeria, and bicycle shop all in one location on South Congress. On the pizza front, there will be pizza al taglio, aka rectangular Roman-style pizza sold by-the-ounce, with traditional and out-of-the-box toppings like an egg-topped breakfast pie. The kitchen is being overseen by Andrew Werth, the former Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon general manager and the manager of Boston bakery Sofra. Beer and wine will be served via giant coolers. Plus there’s coffee and baked goods, since Doug Zell has a thing for coffee. He is the co-founder of Chicago-based third wave coffee roasters Intelligentsia.
Location: 9761 Great Hills Trails, Arboretum
Key Players: Wally Sadat
Thursday, August 15 Late August
The popular California-based Mediterranean chain picked Austin for its first-ever Texas location. On deck are doner kebabs made with spiced meats carved from rotating spits, paired with greens, vegetables, rice, feta cheese, etc. in wraps, boxes, or plates. It’s even set its eyes on its second location already in Plaza Saltillo for next year.
Location: 2200 Aldrich Street, Mueller
Key Players: Kirsten Maitland, Fred Zwar
Projected Opening: Late summer
Co-owners Kirsten Maitland and Fred Zwar see the vegan cafe and wine shop as their way of showcasing their “passion for planetary change.” This means house-made vegan cheeses and takes on meat. The latter will include tofu-based eggs, carrot lox, and fake bacon, pepperoni, and corned beef.
Also tracking (in alphabetical order):
- McGuire Moorman Hospitality Group is keeping busy this summer: it’s also opening two new unnamed restaurants in downtown Austin this summer as part of luxury hotel and residential building Austin Proper. One will focus on Mediterranean food, and the other on Mexican. The building will also feature two cocktail bars and a coffee shop. (600 West 2nd Street, Downtown)
- Mueller-adjacent restaurant Batch Craft Beer and Kolaches is finally opening its brewery, Batch Brewing, in August with a variety of beers from barrel-aged to hoppy IPAs to pale ales. (3220 Manor Road, MLK)
- The East Austin location of all-hours coffee shop and bar Buzz Mill will open by Sunday, September 1. On deck for Buzz Mill Shady is a shared food court patio with neighbor Infinite Monkey, featuring vegan burger truck Plow Burger, Austin Rotisserie, and an unnamed barbecue venture. (1505 Town Creek Drive, Govalle)
- Nashville pizza spot DeSano Pizzeria Napoletana is opening its second Austin location in the former Ginger Man Pub space. The menu focuses on Neapolitan-style pies (including smaller nine-inch pies for lunch and late night hours), salads, and meatballs, along with Italian beers and wines. It’s aiming to open in early September. (301 Lavaca Street, Downtown)
- Popular national chain Insomnia Cookies is opening its first Austin shop near campus this late summer. Like its other locations, it will operate as a bakery and delivery service (with late-night hours) for cookies, ice cream sandwiches, brownies, cakes, and milk. (2323 San Antonio Street, Campus)
- Chicago third wave coffee roaster and shop Intelligentsia is opening its first Texas location in Austin this summer in the lobby of forthcoming Third + Shoal office building, with coffee drinks and speciality coffee, plus food from local vendors. (208 Nueces Street, Downtown)
- Neighborhood bar Night Owl is opening up in Round Rock sometime this summer, bringing along cocktails and beers in an easygoing setting.
- Chef Jack Gilmore’s Round Rock seafood restaurant Salt Traders Coastal Cooking is coming into south Austin with its second location in late summer or early fall. (1101 South Mopac Expressway, Zilker)
- Philadelphia sweets chain Sweet Charlie’s will bring rolled ice cream and Belgian waffles to Round Rock at the end of July. (2800 South Interstate 35, Round Rock) Status: Now open
- Japanese restaurant TenTen and nightclub Mayfair are set to open in downtown Austin this summer. The former will serve modern Japanese fare like sushi and barbecue, plus cocktails and sake. (506 West 6th Street, Downtown)
- Dallas cocktail bar the Tipsy Alchemist is still aiming to open in Austin sometime this summer, bringing along invention cocktails served in light bulb-shaped glasses or via pneumatic tubes. (70 Rainey Street, Downtown)
- Austin pizza restaurant Toss Pizzeria is expanding with a second location in the Westlake area, sometime in July, with speciality pies topped with brisket, plus chicken wings, salads, and brunch. (11905 Bee Cave Road, Westlake) Status: Now open
- Valhalla Esports Lounge will bring electronic games, bar food, and cocktails to the West Sixth area in the former J. Black’s space on Thursday August 15. (710 West 6th Street, Downtown)
Fall 2019: Carve American Grille; Central Machine Works Brewery and Beer Hall; Hestia; Hold Out Brewing; Honest Mary’s [Rosedale]; Hotel Zaza [Perfect Strangers, Group Therapy]; Julie Myrtille Bakery; Paperboy [brick-and-mortar]; Parkside [airport]; Salt & Time [Republic Square Park]; Scissors and Scotch; Spread & Co.; Unnamed Patrizi’s restaurant [Cherrywood]; Ways and Means Oyster House