If you thought Austin’s Italian restaurant wave was finished after the multitude of openings in 2015, think again. Intero — a new concept from Crave Artisan Chocolate owner Krystal Craig and her husband, chef Ian Thurwachter (an alumnus of Vespiao and several McGuire Moorman Hospitality projects) — is set to open to the public on January 20 at 2612 E. Cesar Chavez St. in the former home of Bud’s Motorcycle Shop.
Intero, which translates to full or complete in English, is an apt name for a restaurant that will be using locally raised whole animals and root-to-leaf vegetables. The menu features a contemporary take on Italian fare, far from the red sauce American-Italian that dominates most of the category. Think Gulf fish crudo with Texas Valley grapefruit, chili padron, a beet crisp, and Brussels sprouts with a pinch of Maldon salt unexpectedly paired with house pickles, fried seeds, and tuna-flavored tonnato sauce.
Heartier palates will find a variety of proteins in the large plates, ranging from seared flounder and dry aged duck breast to pork costoletta and rabbit loin roulade. Larger family meals made up of pork osso buco or whole grilled Gulf snapper will also be on the menu, along with several housemade pastas like pumpkin tortellini and saffron paccheri.
And, of course, since Craig is involved, the shop's chocolate counter will offer truffles and barks to go along with sipping chocolates and a coffee program showcasing local roasters. A curated wine selection and cocktails will also be available, as well as plated desserts like mascarpone semifreddo.
The Intero team tells CultureMap that they prefer to keep most of the interior details mum for now, but they did reveal that the 84-seat dining room will feature tables built and hand-finished by Thurwachter using reused fencing and palettes. The space will include a private dining room, an outdoor garden waiting area, and — perhaps most importantly — plenty of parking.
McVay Bennett, a hospitality pro whose resume includes stints at Jeffrey’s and Jasper’s, will serve as GM and partner. The restaurant will be open Tuesday through Thursday from 4:30-10 pm, Friday and Saturday from 4:30 to “late,” and Sunday from 4:30-9 pm.
Reservations are being accepted now for opening week.