Austin is getting a new restaurant, food truck, and seafood market courtesy of two Austin chefs and a fishmonger, all to be found on the grounds of the former Eastside Cafe at 2113 Manor Road, near the Cherrywood neighborhood, starting this month:
- Chef Grae Nonas, formerly of Carpenters Hall, is opening an Italian restaurant, Le Cowboy on Monday, August 10, within the small building that previously housed Mums Foods’s deli, during the weekdays.
- Chef Max Snyder, formerly of Pitchfork Pretty, is opening a grain bowl food truck, Rogue Radish, parked on the property’s parking lot, sometime in mid-August.
- Heritage Seafood owner Ben McBride will operate a weekend daytime seafood market, sharing the same space as Le Cowboy, opening sometime in mid-August as well.
These three businesses aren’t permanent and will only operate through 2020. This is because the Manor Road property owner, Sam Hellman-Mass (of Mexican restaurant Suerte), is still planning on opening a Mexican seafood restaurant, Este, with chef Fermín Núñez, which will debut sometime in late 2021.
The focus of Le Cowboy is Italian fare and pasta. Potential dishes include bread, arancini, tomatoes and olives, yellowfin tuna, and a variety of pasta, from cavatelli alla norma, orecchiette with sausage ragu, ricotta tortelloni with a walnut pesto, to rigatoni all’amatriciana. There will be a dessert option, such as a chocolate mousse with macerated cherries and toasted hazelnuts.
The name stems from a French 1985 film by director George Lautner, involving an Italian inspector in France. The main character “got his name from his sort of gonzo, round-em-up mentality,” explained Nonas to Eater. “Getting it done, no matter what the cost.” According to an accompanying press release, the name is also meant to be “unapologetic [...] not necessarily fitting in, but flat-out making it happen.”
Nonas likens those sentiments to opening a restaurant during this time: “Creating a restaurant from nothing, in the middle of a pandemic, creating opportunity for ourselves,” he explained, “because no one is going to do it for you.”
Nonas is planning on relocating the restaurant at some point, too. “The idea is to spend our residency here creating something that can scale into something larger,” he said, “and more permanent down the line.”
Before officially announcing Le Cowboy this week, Nonas previewed a potential dish as part of a collaboration with New American restaurant Emmer & Rye as part of its weekly charitable dish specials. He made a spicy vodka rouge de bordeaux strozzapreti with fried mozzarella. Before the city shut down in March, he also held a pop-up dinner at Bufalina, operating under the name of Ed.
Nonas was most recently the founding executive chef of South Austin Carpenter Hotel restaurant Carpenters Hall. It opened in November 2018, and he left earlier this year. Before that, he had opened Minneapolis hotel restaurant Tullibee and had been one of the co-founding executive chefs of Southern restaurant Olamaie.
Le Cowboy’s hours will be from 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, with only to-go service. Diners will, however, be able to dine on the patio on their own (no table service). While Le Cowboy won’t sell alcohol, people can bring their own alcoholic beverages. Soft drinks will be sold, though. Orders can be placed through its website or over the phone. Nonas plans on opening up the dining room and offering table service when “the current climate allows.”
As for the food truck from Snyder, Rogue Radish will focus on healthy fare “without being too ‘crunchy,’” as he explained to Eater. “I’m trying to stay in line with Austin’s long legacy of health food cafes,” he continued.
That means Rogue’s menu will start off with a rotating grain and vegetable bowl, with the option to add proteins. “It sounds kind of mundane,” Snyder said, “but it will be tasty, and it will make you feel good and be pretty cheap.”
The name was inspired by an article about daikon growing through paving stones in Tokyo and “I just liked the imagery it conjured,” Snyder said. “I also love radishes and serving them in unexpected ways, so that is part of it as well.”
Snyder plans on working the truck by himself, without any additional staffers, “so I can get back to doing something without employees taking risks to work with me,” he said.
Snyder found the older food trailer through VRDNT Farms owner Becky Hume, and secured a deal where he just had to pay for the repairs, some equity in the businesses, and didn’t have to pay rent for a year.
Snyder was the founding executive chef of East Austin New American Pitchfork Pretty, which opened in June 2017. He left the restaurant in March at the beginning of the pandemic, but noted that he served as an advisor when the restaurant remained open for to-go orders. (The restaurant is currently temporarily closed.) Before Pitchfork, he had worked at San Francisco brewpub Old Bus Tavern, he was one of the opening chefs of Qui in 2013 in Austin, and spent time at Eleven Madison Park and The NoMad in New York.
Rogue’s hours will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, operating as a to-go business at first. Orders will be placed online. There are plans to move the truck somewhere else after a few months of service.
Heritage Seafood Market
Fishmonger McBride’s new physical market will focus on sustainable and local fish, which means a lot of options from the Gulf of Mexico. Think red snapper, yellowfin tuna, blue crab, and shrimp. The array will also included farmed seafood such as scallops and salmon.
McBride opened the seafood company in February 2017, selling directly to restaurants including Intero. Before that, he had worked in various Austin restaurants, including Uchi, Parkside, and Perla’s. Heritage’s seafood selection is also available through grocery delivery services Farmhouse Delivery.
As noted earlier, Heritage will share the same space as Le Cowboy. Since Le Cowboy is only open on the weekdays, Heritage will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
All three businesses — Le Cowboy, Rogue Radish, and Heritage Seafood —will make use of produce sourced from the property’s garden, formerly known as the Eastside Cafe Garden and now called the Este Garden Project, run by head farmer Anamaria Gutierrez.
History of 2113 Manor Road
2113 Manor Road had originally been the home of longtime Austin restaurant Eastside Cafe, which opened in 1998 by Elaine Martin and Dorsey Barger (Barger left in 2011 to open urban farm Hausbar). Martin sold the property to Hellman-Mass in January 2019 because she wanted to retire.
Hellman-Mass knew he wanted to open a new restaurant in the space. In the meantime, farmers market stand favorite Mum Foods operated a temporary deli within the building that previously housed Eastside’s casual pie shop Pork and Pie, knowing it would close after a year. It opened in April 2019, and closed earlier this February. Its farmers market stands are still operating.
Before buying Eastside Cafe, Hellman-Mass, who had been one of the founding partners of Odd Duck, opened Mexican restaurant Suerte in March 2018, with chef Núñez. Núñez was named Eater Austin’s chef of the year in 2018 and had previously worked at La Condesa, Uchiko, and Launderette. When Este opens, Núñez will oversee the kitchens at both restaurants.
Restaurants and food trucks near the 2113 Manor Road address include Italian truck Patrizi’s, butcher shop restaurant Dai Due, Tex-Mex restaurant Mi Madre’s, and Southern restaurant Hoover’s, among others.