Casual Hyde Park Italian cafe Uncle Nicky’s is expanding with a second location this week. The new restaurant will be found within Central East Austin’s Hotel Eleven on 1123 East 11th Street. It will start off with limited service on Saturday, December 5, which will expand into full services on Monday, December 7. The new cafe will offer dine-in and takeout services. More importantly, the hotel cat, Louie, is staying on the property.
Uncle Nicky’s Northern Italian menu, from co-partner and chef Nicholas Yanes (also of East Austin Italian restaurant Juniper) will remain the same. There will be sandwiches, pane tostadas (such as the ‘nduja-based one and a sweet fig jam and toasted pine nuts one), pastas, salads, and antipasti (like the sardines with Ritz crackers and chilled poached shrimp). For sweets, there will be pastries, desserts, and gelato. The drinks menu, developed by co-partner Travis Tober of neighborhood bar Nickel City, veer Italian, with cocktails (including the Garibaldi made with frozen Campari and fluffy orange juice), spritzes, and Negronis, alongside beer, wine, and amaro.
This new cafe is taking over what had been Hotel Eleven’s street-level cafe Louie’s Lounge (named after the cat). Co-owners Mark Vornberg and Shelly Leibham, who opened the boutique hotel in 2016, announced that the cafe was closing in early October. During the pandemic, the hotel has and still remains open for guests (the cafe is open to the public).
Rounding out Uncle Nicky’s team are co-partners Brandon and Zane Hunt of Via 313 and Nickel City. The group opened the original restaurant in 2019, in the former Dolce Vita gelato spot.
This location of Uncle Nicky’s expansion makes sense, since the Hunts and Tober’s bar, Nickel City, is found just several doors down from Hotel Eleven. The group had wanted to open a second restaurant near Nickel, and this partnership worked out perfectly.
Uncle Nicky’s East 11th Street’s limited service opening hours aren’t set, but it will be open through the evening. Once it’s fully open on Monday, its hours will be from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Brunch will be added on Sunday, December 13. For opening day, the restaurant will give away a free dessert with drip coffee and cold brew purchases, and a free Montenegro drink with cocktail and beer purchases.