Lucky Austin

One of Austin's most anticipated 2018 restaurants sets opening date

One of Austin's most anticipated 2018 restaurants sets opening date

Suerte ATX pastor tacos
Pastor tacos use tortillas made from heirloom masa. Photo courtesy of Suerte
Suerte ATX Sam Hellman-Mass and Fermin Nunez
Sam Hellman-Mass and Fermin Nunez. Photo courtesy of Suerte
Suerte ATX pastor tacos
Suerte ATX Sam Hellman-Mass and Fermin Nunez

One of the most highly anticipated restaurants of the year has finally announced its opening date. Suerte, located in the former location of Tex Mex joint Dario’s at 1800 E. Sixth St., will greet its first customers on March 22.

The Mexican-inspired eatery was founded by Barley Swine and Odd Duck founding partner Sam Hellman-Mass. Executive chef Fermin Nunez runs the kitchen, which will focus on heirloom masa used in a variety of dishes including bean taquitos and a goat rib barbacoa made with a mint epazote rub, salsa hidalguense, queso fresco, green salad, and avocado and served with house tortillas.

The menu also features tostadas, tlayudas (a fried or toasted tortilla usually covered with refried beans and other toppings), and tlacoyos (a popular football-shaped street food consisting of a flat masa pocket stuffed with various ingredients). Suerte tweaks the traditional format for each, topping tostadas with beets, smashed avocado, peanut Yum Yum sauce, and pickled onions or snapper in coconut leche de tigre, and dressing a pork belly carnitas tlacoyo in pecan salsa and Meyer lemon salsita.

There are also several lighter options from Fish a la Devil (oak grilled dorade served with bacon Veracruzana and onion escabeche) to vegetable dishes like grilled sweet papas and red lentil and carrot fritters.

The drink program showcases a large catalog of Mexican spirits like sotol, mezcal, and tequila, along with a small wine list and local beers (one selection, a lager, is custom made for the restaurant by Hops & Grain Brewing). The cocktails showcase botanical ingredients. Marfa Lights mixes gin, green Chartreause, thyme syrup, egg white, and lime; Still Life stirs Galliano, vodka, and tangerine-infused Cocchi Americano with caraway.

Matching the cuisine, the space designed by architects Matt Garcia and Bart Whatley and interiors firm Allison Burke Interior Design, also looks to Mexico. A mezcal bottle chandelier dominates the interior, which is decorated with Oaxacan textiles, La Chicharra ceramic plates, and hand-woven tortilla warmers — many made by Mexican artisans in collaboration with Nunez and Hellman-Mass during their travels to the country. Fixtures and furniture, including front door cladding, custom lighting, tabletops, and barstools, were made locally in East Austin.

General manager Aaron Frescas handles the front-of-house operations, which includes the 4,450-square-foot main dining room, and a large patio perfect for watching the hubbub on East Sixth Street.

Starting March 22, Suerte will be open for dinner Sunday-Wednesday, 5-10 pm and Thursday-Saturday, 5-11 pm.