It turns out that a new tavern is taking over the now-closed Gourmands Neighborhood Pub space. Murray’s will open at 2316 Webberville Road in the East Austin neighborhood this summer.
Behind Murray’s are Travis Tober (Austin neighborhood bar Nickel City, Lockhart bar and restaurant Old Pal, Lockhart wine bar and bookstore Best Little Wine & Books), Nicholas Yanes (Italian restaurant Juniper, mini-golf course restaurant the Dirdie Birdie, and hotel restaurant Verbena), and operating partner Brett Esler (bar manager of Hestia/Kalimotxo, bar person at Whisler’s). Via 313/Nickel’s Brandon Hunt bought the property after Gourmands announced it was closing.
Murray’s works as a neighborhood tavern, according to Tober, similar to classic New York City ones such as P.J. Clarke’s. The name stems from Tober’s grandmother’s maiden name; when he got his start as a bartender, his grandmother and grandfather were his first customers. She ordered a Rob Roy, a Scotch whisky-based Manhattan, but he didn’t know how to make it, and she taught him how. The bar is an homage to her.
Murray’s will feature a classics menu that will be shorter than sibling bar Nickel’s, which will include a Rob Roy and a frozen Brandy Alexander. There will be miniature three-ounce cocktails — including Old Fashioneds — available by weight, similar to what Tober offered when he was the beverage director at closed restaurant Vox Table. There will also be draft and canned/bottled beers, as well as wines curated by Best Little Wine’s Kaye Askins.
The group is still working out the food menu, but expect lots of tavern dishes such as oysters Rockefeller, prime ribs, a burger that isn’t made with a smash patty, and fish and chips. Chicken wings won’t be offered.
The Murray’s idea was something Tober had been thinking about for a while, around when he started planning out Nickel City. Hunt tagged Tober to create a plan that would bring something more local to the East Austin address.
Designing the space is McCray & Co. and developing the branding is Helms Workshop.
The Murray’s group is also involved with the Italian cafe Uncle Nicky’s, which recently closed its East Austin location but the original Hyde Park one remains open. Tober shares that they’re going to open another location somewhere in South Austin.
Gourmands co-founders Caitlin Shea and Benjamin Siewert, and Tiffany and Mike Russell started the restaurant/bar in 2011. It closed on Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 23.