Throughout 2017, pop-ups were one of the biggest trends in the Austin culinary world, allowing established chefs to introduce new concepts and newcomers to test the waters without the financial commitment of a full-service restaurant or food truck. Now a group of Austinites is expanding on that idea with the crowdfunding launch of Sumptuary, a rentable shared restaurant space that can host a new concept every night.
The concept was teased in June 2016, when Dr. Foo Swasdee decided to close her beloved Thai restaurant, Satay, after nearly 30 years. Now that vision is become a reality with founding partners Swasdee, T. Marshall Jones, Michael Shefman, Gary McIntosh, and Harry Pope. (Jones will also serve as the general manager of the space.)
The fully stocked Sumptuary hopes to accommodate a variety of uses, hosting cooking classes and culinary competitions, offering limited-run tasting menus from fine dining chefs, and acting as a low-risk lab for aspiring restaurateurs who want to test a new concept. The space will not only be available to those in the industry, but also to nonprofits and the public at large.
“The best way someone explained our concept to us was to think of your favorite live music venue, but rather than different music acts taking the stage nightly, we have different chefs taking to the kitchens nightly," said Jones in a release. "Patrons go online, look at the upcoming ‘acts,’ and decide which ones they want to check out.”
Austinites can help get the restaurant off the ground by becoming official supporters. The $1,000 membership includes perks like access to exclusive dinners featuring well-known local chefs like Jack Gilmore, Bryce Gilmore, and Harold Marmulstein; members only wine tastings and brunches; a $250 gift card redeemable for cooking classes; early access to events; and more.
The restaurant will be located at 3202 Anderson Ln. Ste. 205 in the former location of Satay. Jones shares that a building permit and contractor have been secured, and once crowdfunding is complete, he says that they will be 120 days from opening. Jones says they would like to host their first service by June 1.