For every Austin restaurant closure, a new concept is waiting in the wings. Here are three concepts coming soon to the local dining scene, two of which are swooping into high-profile spaces.
Citizen Eatery will be replacing the shuttered 416 Bar & Grille on Burnet Road. Opening in October, this brand-new concept will have an all-vegetarian menu with vegan and Paleo-friendly dishes.
"Our basic approach is to view what we're doing as art," owner Michael Moyer tells CultureMap. "It should be mentioned that Citizen Eatery is not really about being vegetarian/vegan. It just so happens that we choose not to cook with a few standard proteins (you can get that anywhere). We're more about good taste and tasting good."
Veggie burgers will be the specialty, but chef Andrew Brooks of Spirited Food has been tapped to create flame-grilled, wood-smoked entrees, as well as shareable sides and all-day breakfast. The restaurant will also feature healthy adult beverages dubbed Citizen Smart Spirits.
"We figure if you don't already imbibe, great! Don't start. But if you do, why not pour some healthy stuff in the glass. Since part of our mission is to source as much local and organic as we can, we're planning on making some infusions with different blends of tasty botanicals that'll take a little load of the liver," says Moyer.
This fall, anticipate the arrival of Old Thousand in the old Mijo's space on East 11th Street. The concept is the first of four new projects from SMGB, a new restaurant group comprising talent from top spots like Hopdoddy Burger Bar and Hai Hospitality.
Uchi alums James Dumapit and David Baek are creating a lineup of "American-Chinese food, all the stuff we grew up eating," says Chris Romero of SMBG. "The term we've been using is 'remixed' — better ingredients and better technique, but still a neighborhood Chinese restaurant."
The restaurant hopes to become the go-to for Chinese food on the east side by serving up a mixture of dine-in and takeout options. Think of it as the kind of hangout spot where "the music is a little louder, the cocktails are a little stronger," says Romero.
Another east side eatery, Pitchfork Pretty, is coming to East Cesar Chavez Street. Owner Seth Baas, who was behind the acclaimed Blanca restaurant in California, returns to his Texas roots with a passion for locally sourced ingredients and making high-end food accessible.
"The name comes from the owner wanting to pay homage to the farmer (pitchfork) and convey the restaurant's role in taking the farm's rustic elements and raw bounty into our hands to respectfully refine it for diners (pretty)," says a spokesperson.
The restaurant team is keeping mum on the chef right now, but diners can expect wood-fired cuisine. Texas is a melting pot of different international influences, from German to Mexican, and Pitchfork Pretty hopes to fuse all of these while incorporating old-world cooking methods.
The restaurant was designed to be an open, contemporary space befitting the growing East Cesar Chavez neighborhood. When Pitchfork Pretty opens — hopefully this winter — the restaurant will join several new dining spots in the area, including Austin Daily Press and Jacoby's new Mexican concept.