As is the tradition as we near the end of 2023, Eater asked a trusted group of friends, industry types, and local bloggers for their takes on the past culinary year in Austin. All answers will be revealed before the year ends — cut, pasted, (mostly) unedited, and in no particular order. Question number five:
What restaurant or restaurant-related debut are you most excited for in 2024?
Eric Webb, freelance writer and Eater contributing writer
I will be at Bambino from the L’oca d’Oro team with bells on.
Pat Sharpe, restaurant critic, Texas Monthly
I’m dying to see what chef Michael Fojtasek (of Olamaie and Mai Day) plans to do with the main restaurant at the Albert Hotel in Fredericksburg, scheduled to open soon. They’re not saying what the menu will be — just gourmet farm-to-table. It will be in a historic structure on Main Street next to the little building with the cute bas-relief stone elephant over the door (if you’ve been to Fredericksburg, you know which one I mean).
Nicolai McCrary, Austin staff writer, the Infatuation
Leroy & Lewis is one of my favorite barbecue spots in the whole city, and it’ll be cool to see what they do with the larger space. I’m very excited and curious to see what Con Todo gets up to next with an expansion. Some of the biggest glow-ups in Austin had food truck origins. It blows my mind that places like Odd Duck once served food in a little dirt lot on South Lamar.
Chris Hughes, features editor, Texas Highways
I already mentioned Bambino, so I’ll say the brick-and-mortar of LeRoy & Lewis Barbecue. Evan LeRoy is so talented and I can’t wait to see what he introduces with more space.
Madeline Hollern, editor-in-chief, Austin Monthly
Excited to try Bambino, the L’Oca d’Oro pizza spinoff.
Lenny Dewi, @eats_n_noods
Jane Ko, blogger, A Taste of Koko
The Kitchen by Kimbal Musk (Elon Musk’s brother) — definitely intrigued.
Darcie Duttweiler, freelance writer and Eater contributing writer
I can’t wait to eat all of the pizza at L’Oca d’Oro’s Bambino. I’m irrationally excited about Donkey Mo’s finally opening a brick-and-mortar. I’m also looking forward to whatever winemaker Rae Wilson does next with a future Austin tasting room.
Erin Russell, associate editor, Eater Austin
I’m excited for Bambino. Pizza from L’Oca d’Oro? I’m in. I also agree with the crowd that, given the wonders they currently churn out of a small trailer, giving LeRoy & Lewis more space is sure to yield great things. I also know a certain award-winning fine dining vet is opening a new restaurant, and I’m excited to try their food!
Nadia Chaudhury, editor, Eater Austin
Seconding, thirding, fourthing, etc. the LeRoy & Lewis physical restaurant. The team has been dreaming of this new space for years so it’ll be exciting and fun and delicious to see the results. It also just makes me happy that it’s also in South Austin.
I’m looking forward to seeing Origin Studio House to unveil its fully realized community space with drinks, coffee, and food.
Plus, I know Nickel City’s Travis Tober’s new bar Half Moon at the already-opened Murray’s Tavern patio will be hella fun when it opens.
But also, if there are chefs/restaurants/food trucks opening something new next year, let me know!!!!!!