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The Team Behind Wildly Successful Sushi|Bar Is Opening Three New Austin Restaurants

Chefs Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee will open one Italian and two sushi restaurants this year

A person blow-torching a piece of meat-covered sushi on a tray of meat-covered sushi pieces.
Torching dry-aged ribeye pieces at Sushi|Bar ATX.
Liam Brown

The former owners of one of the hottest omakase tickets in town, Sushi|Bar ATX, are opening three new restaurants in the Austin area this year. Chefs Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee are opening an Italian tasting menu restaurant Pasta|Bar in downtown Austin in March, and two new sushi restaurants — Sushi by Scratch Restaurants in March, and Shokunin in the Hill Country in late summer.

Pasta|Bar already has one location in Los Angeles, which opened in June 2020 and earned a Michelin star in 2021. The restaurant serves a $185, 12-course tasting menu that uses local produce with Italian cooking methods. The meal is served at a chef’s counter and is limited to 10 seats.

For the two Japanese restaurants, the first is Sushi by Scratch Restaurants, which is essentially the same concept as Sushi|Bar. It will serve $145 omakase to a small counter of 10 guests.

Shokunin is also an omakase restaurant, but is meant to be a super-luxe, bucket-list experience. It will be found in the Fitzhugh Road area near Dripping Springs.

Lee (a Top Chef contestant) and Kallas-Lee (an Eater Young Gun 2016 semifinalist) opened their first restaurant Scratch Kitchen in Beverly Hills in 2013, though it also popped up in Austin in 2014. They opened Sushi Bar in Los Angeles in 2016, popped up in Austin at Bento Picnic in December 2020, and made the location permanent in August.

However, the couple parted ways with Sushi|Bar last year. That Austin location of Sushi|Bar, which is no longer owned by Lee and Kallas-Lee, is now run by chef Ambrely Ouimette, who had already been on the team. The other two locations of Sushi|Bar, both of which are in California, have been renamed Sushi by Scratch Restaurants, and fall under Lee and Kallas-Lee’s Scratch Restaurant Group.

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