The team behind great Austin restaurants Emmer & Rye, Hestia, and Canje is opening a new Texan-Mediterranean spot this week in East Austin. Ezov will open at 2708 East Cesar Chavez Street in the Holly neighborhood on Thursday, April 27.
Ezov’s executive chef is Berty Richter, who is known for the recently shuttered Israeli food hall restaurant TLV and the group’s recent San Antonio Mediterranean restaurant Ladino. For the restaurant, the Tel Aviv-born-and-raised chef is using his experiences in Israel, the Middle East, and Texas to create his menu. Diners can expect smashed cucumber with labneh and nigella seed; crudo with pistachio, orange blossom, and pomegranates; and halloumi with date molasses and dukkah. This is along with standard regional fare like falafels, and frena bread. Desserts will include baklava made with bananas and Texas pecans, and tahini ice cream. The word “ezov” is Hebrew for hyssop, one of the main spices used for za’atar blends.
Similarly, Ezov’s cocktails take its cues from Tel Aviv nightlife, such as the Carmel Market made with olive oil-washed vodka, raki (a Turkish alcoholic spirit), a herbal liqueur, and salted celery; and the Aphrodite’s Crown with reposado tequila, Aperol, strawberry, rose, hibiscus and charred pasilla chiles. The wines will be sourced from Mediterranean countries like Greece, Lebanon, Israel, and Italy. The restaurant group’s beverage director Kate Houser and wine director Alicia Schmidt oversaw the menus.
Emmer partner Rand Egbert redesigned the interior of the restaurant, which is formerly Texas restaurant Pitchfork Pretty. The new look is meant to evoke the vibrancy of Tel Aviv. It’s been updated with graffitied lanterns and surfaces, a red-black-white color scheme (including wallpaper with squiggles), drapey neon tubed light fixtures, and a tiled counter.
Ezov marks the eighth restaurant opened by Emmer & Rye Hospitality Group. One of the company’s other spots, Caribbean restaurant Canje was Eater Austin’s 2022 Best New Restaurant winner, and co-owner and executive chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph was a semifinalist for a James Beard Award in the Best Chef: Texas category this year. Emmer’s other co-owner Kevin Fink was a James Beard semifinalist in 2018, and a finalist in 2019 and 2020 (the year the foundation canceled the awards).
The East Cesar Chavez address’s predecessor, Pitchfork Pretty, opened in 2017 by owner Seth Baas, with a critically-adored Texas cuisine menu under chef Max Snyder. The restaurant closed temporarily during the pandemic, Snyder opened his food truck Rogue Radish, and Baas had claimed the restaurant would reopen in 2021, but that never happened.
Ezov will be open seven days a week Sunday to Thursday 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Update, April 25, 1:48 p.m.: This article has been updated to reflect changes in the menu.