The restaurant group behind Austin Italian restaurant Gusto is opening a new French Italian bistro this fall. Gina’s on Congress opening in the long-vacant La Traviata space at 314 Congress Avenue in downtown Austin as of December 9.
Gina’s will serve items like house-made pasta such as mafaldine with mushrooms or conchiglie with pork sausage and broccoli rabe; steak tartare with quail eggs; shrimp with prosciutto; mussels and frites; and meat dishes like a veal chop, braised lamb shank, and cod. Desserts include affogato, gelatos, cannoli, and lemon tarts.
Drinks-wise, there will be cocktails, such as the It’s Raining in My Champagne with gin, limoncino, and sparkling wine; the Kiss Kiss also with sparkling wine, raspberries, and mint; and seven types of Negronis. There’s also wine and espresso options.
The name works two ways: first, it’s the shortened version of the Italian word “regina,” which means “queen.” And then it was the name of popular Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida. The restaurant comes from Flavor Hospitality Group, which also owns Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar, Gràcia Mediterranean (which opened in January), and catering company Flavor Co. Catering + Events.
The executive chef will be Jason Tallent, who opened Gràcia and was previously at Clarksville Italian restaurant Cipollina. Cameron Lockley, the owner of Gina’s, said in a press release he was excited to move into a storied address. The building was built in the 1800s and over the years, has been a jail, brothel, office, saloon, and restaurant.
Italian restaurant La Traviata opened in 2000 and closed in July 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Owner and chef Marion Gillcrist announced her plan to relocate to Lantana Place in South Austin back in March, with the goal of opening sometime later this year. Gillcrist and her sister Joan Gillcrist also operate Italian restaurant Italian restaurant 68 Degrees in West Austin, which they opened in 2016.
Gina’s initial hours are for dinner from 4 to 10 p.m. daily. It’ll expand with lunch and brunch services sometime in January 2024.
Update, December 14: This article, originally published on October 2, has been updated with Gina’s opening date and further details.