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Boiler Nine Bar + Grill
Boiler Nine Bar + Grill
Robert J. Lerma/EATX

Austin's Biggest Restaurant Openings of 2016

10 of the best

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Boiler Nine Bar + Grill
| Robert J. Lerma/EATX

2016 was another giant year for Austin restaurant openings in Austin 2016, where well over 100 eateries marked spots in the city, from fresh newcomers, out-of-state chains, to established local chefs looking to try something new. Eater sorted through all of the openings from the year, and highlighted the ten biggest restaurant openings of 2016.

The list spans Japanese, Thai, Chinese-American, Mexican, wood-fired fare, and neighborhood-focused cuisine. There were switcheroos (Gardner to Chicon), major relocations and expansions (Barley Swine 2.0), second restaurants for chefs (Grizzelda’s), epic establishments (Boiler Nine Bar + Grill), ambitious omakase (Otoko), and much more.

Along those lines, find out what friends of Eater thought were the biggest and best restaurant openings of the year, as well as their top restaurant standbys, with the return of the annual Year in Eater surveys, as well as the year's saddest restaurant shutters.

Everything below is listed in alphabetical order. Vote for your favorite over on Eater's poll and share your favorite restaurant openings of the year within the comments, through the tipline, or in the forums.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Barley Swine

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More of a reopening than opening, Bryce Gilmore took a leap with the relocation of his first restaurant. Barley Swine moved from South Lamar to Brentwood, and made some changes, which included adding an a la carte menu in addition to its tasting menu and served a lot more customers, all while maintaining and expanding on its already-great dishes with the same powerful team.

Robert J. Lerma/EATX

Boiler Nine Bar + Grill

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Among La Corsha Hospitality Group’s many projects, Boiler Nine Bar + Grill is its most ambitious. Three floors of the former power plant building are dedicated to wood-fired food with a basement cocktail den and breezy rooftop dining. At the helm of the entire ship is chef Jason Stude, with skillfully-prepared cocktails courtesy of Jason Stevens.

Robert J. Lerma/EATX

The year’s first major switcheroo came via of the team behind Contigo. While minimalist Scandinavian-inspired Gardner was critically loved (see Statesman, Chronicle, Bon Appetit), Ben Edgerton and chef Andrew Wiseheart decided to wipe the slate clean and restart with a brand new restaurant. That transformation lead to the restaurant’s warmer makeover with neighborhood-friendly Chicon with heartier entrees and solid happy hour.

Molly Winters

East Side King Thai Kun

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Austin’s favorite Thai food truck grew up with its own brick and mortar this year, perhaps the best offering up on the Domain’s entertainment district Rock Rose. Heat and spice is key to chef Thai Changthong’s fiery menu, with ever-so-hot papaya salad and larb moo, along with family-style dishes and low ABV cocktails. Likewise, East Cesar Chavez got a strong shot of spicy Thai food with meals on wheels Dee Dee from chef Lakana Trubiana (and Eater Austin’s food truck of the year).

Nadia Chaudhury/EATX

Austin’s most stunning restaurant of the year, by far, goes to Eberly. Co-owners John Scott and Eddy Patterson (formerly of Stubb's) transformed a former printing office into a marvelous restaurant and cocktail destination in South Lamar. Explore the many rooms, from the detailed dining room, glass-ceilinged study room, secret private room behind a two-way mirror, and bar and lounge Cedar Tavern (with a piece of New York cocktail history in the form of the bar). Executive chef Jim Tripi and pastry chef Natalie Gazaui cook up contemporary American fare paired with classic, strong cocktails from Kelon Bryant.

Robert J. Lerma/EATX

Grizzelda's

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In a year of second restaurants, Adam Jacoby and the rest of his team decided to open an upscale Mexican eatery just a stone’s throw away from his ranch-inspired restaurant Jacoby’s along East Cesar Chavez. The bright and pretty space serves up interior and coastal Mexican cuisine with a touch of Tex-Mex.

Robert J. Lerma/EATX

Named after master sommelier June Rodil, McGuire Moorman Hospitality’s seventh restaurant focuses on wine, of course, along with neighborhood bistro eats like burgers, bagel boards, and an array of pastries in an as-expected stylish setting with higher price points.

L'Oca d'Oro

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Eater Austin’s chef of the year Fiore Tedesco turned what could have been yet another Italian restaurant into a more-than-exciting regionally-inspired dining establishment with carefully-crafted pasta and meaty dishes. It even ventures into celebrations centered around holidays, like the Feast of the Seven Fishes and Feast of San Gennaro.

Robert J. Lerma/EATX

Old Thousand

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East Austin was hungry for Chinese food, and Old Thousand answered that demand. Co-chefs James Dumapit and David Baek unleashed their brand of Austin-Chinese cuisine, which means a creamy take on dan dan noodles, mapo eggplant and five spice churros, along with much welcomed late night hours and cocktails.

Julia Keim

It’s a treat to watch chef Yoshi Okai work his sushi magic as he deftly breaks down whole fish right before 12 lucky guests within one of the city’s biggest restaurant openings of the year found in its smallest, Otoko, tucked away on South Congress. Duck in next door for to sort-of-secret bar Watertrade for masterful drinks from Robert Bjorn Taylor. Austin also received its second omakase restaurant this year with sushi trailer-turned-brick and mortar Kyoten Sushiko from Otto Phan in Mueller.

Barley Swine

Robert J. Lerma/EATX

More of a reopening than opening, Bryce Gilmore took a leap with the relocation of his first restaurant. Barley Swine moved from South Lamar to Brentwood, and made some changes, which included adding an a la carte menu in addition to its tasting menu and served a lot more customers, all while maintaining and expanding on its already-great dishes with the same powerful team.

Robert J. Lerma/EATX

Boiler Nine Bar + Grill

Robert J. Lerma/EATX

Among La Corsha Hospitality Group’s many projects, Boiler Nine Bar + Grill is its most ambitious. Three floors of the former power plant building are dedicated to wood-fired food with a basement cocktail den and breezy rooftop dining. At the helm of the entire ship is chef Jason Stude, with skillfully-prepared cocktails courtesy of Jason Stevens.

Robert J. Lerma/EATX

Chicon

Molly Winters

The year’s first major switcheroo came via of the team behind Contigo. While minimalist Scandinavian-inspired Gardner was critically loved (see Statesman, Chronicle, Bon Appetit), Ben Edgerton and chef Andrew Wiseheart decided to wipe the slate clean and restart with a brand new restaurant. That transformation lead to the restaurant’s warmer makeover with neighborhood-friendly Chicon with heartier entrees and solid happy hour.

Molly Winters

East Side King Thai Kun

Nadia Chaudhury/EATX

Austin’s favorite Thai food truck grew up with its own brick and mortar this year, perhaps the best offering up on the Domain’s entertainment district Rock Rose. Heat and spice is key to chef Thai Changthong’s fiery menu, with ever-so-hot papaya salad and larb moo, along with family-style dishes and low ABV cocktails. Likewise, East Cesar Chavez got a strong shot of spicy Thai food with meals on wheels Dee Dee from chef Lakana Trubiana (and Eater Austin’s food truck of the year).

Nadia Chaudhury/EATX

Eberly

Robert J. Lerma/EATX

Austin’s most stunning restaurant of the year, by far, goes to Eberly. Co-owners John Scott and Eddy Patterson (formerly of Stubb's) transformed a former printing office into a marvelous restaurant and cocktail destination in South Lamar. Explore the many rooms, from the detailed dining room, glass-ceilinged study room, secret private room behind a two-way mirror, and bar and lounge Cedar Tavern (with a piece of New York cocktail history in the form of the bar). Executive chef Jim Tripi and pastry chef Natalie Gazaui cook up contemporary American fare paired with classic, strong cocktails from Kelon Bryant.

Robert J. Lerma/EATX

Grizzelda's

Robert J. Lerma/EATX

In a year of second restaurants, Adam Jacoby and the rest of his team decided to open an upscale Mexican eatery just a stone’s throw away from his ranch-inspired restaurant Jacoby’s along East Cesar Chavez. The bright and pretty space serves up interior and coastal Mexican cuisine with a touch of Tex-Mex.

Robert J. Lerma/EATX

June's

Named after master sommelier June Rodil, McGuire Moorman Hospitality’s seventh restaurant focuses on wine, of course, along with neighborhood bistro eats like burgers, bagel boards, and an array of pastries in an as-expected stylish setting with higher price points.

L'Oca d'Oro

Robert J. Lerma/EATX

Eater Austin’s chef of the year Fiore Tedesco turned what could have been yet another Italian restaurant into a more-than-exciting regionally-inspired dining establishment with carefully-crafted pasta and meaty dishes. It even ventures into celebrations centered around holidays, like the Feast of the Seven Fishes and Feast of San Gennaro.

Robert J. Lerma/EATX

Old Thousand

Julia Keim

East Austin was hungry for Chinese food, and Old Thousand answered that demand. Co-chefs James Dumapit and David Baek unleashed their brand of Austin-Chinese cuisine, which means a creamy take on dan dan noodles, mapo eggplant and five spice churros, along with much welcomed late night hours and cocktails.

Julia Keim

Otoko

It’s a treat to watch chef Yoshi Okai work his sushi magic as he deftly breaks down whole fish right before 12 lucky guests within one of the city’s biggest restaurant openings of the year found in its smallest, Otoko, tucked away on South Congress. Duck in next door for to sort-of-secret bar Watertrade for masterful drinks from Robert Bjorn Taylor. Austin also received its second omakase restaurant this year with sushi trailer-turned-brick and mortar Kyoten Sushiko from Otto Phan in Mueller.

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