Rising from the ashes

Darling downtown Austin cafe finally reopens one year after devastating fire

Darling downtown Austin cafe reopens one year after devastating fire

Forthright cafe austin downtown
Forthright has finally recovered from a 2018 fire. Forthright/Facebook

After a morning blaze forced downtown darling Forthright to close in October 2018, co-owner Elizabeth Swail thought it would take four to six weeks to rebuild. A year later, the popular spot is finally making its return.

Swail tells CultureMap that the restaurant will reopen at 35 Brazos St. the week of October 14. Initially, the cafe will only be open for breakfast and lunch, but brunch will be added in the coming weeks.

The saga began when a fire broke out above the eatery’s stove around 10:45 am on October 25, 2018. Though it did not cause any injuries, it did cause major damage to the mostly white interiors. The team's plan to quickly reopen was soon dashed by a labyrinth of permits, contractors, and insurance claims.

Fans of Forthright can expect the same approachable, garden-fresh fare served before the hiatus. Favorites returning to the menu include avocado toast, chicken and waffles, and Benedicts served on house-made English muffins. Forthright will also continue to pour cocktails and Tweed coffee.

There will be, however, one major change. New executive chef Matthew Davis — a vet of Juliet — will be taking the reins from Ashley Neave, who was running the kitchen at the time of the fire. Swail says Davis has a few menu surprises in store.

“We are also putting the finishing touches on a handful of new items,” she teases. “Think Bananas Foster waffles, vibrant bowls, farm salads, and the like.”

The initial hours upon reopening will be 7 am-2:30 pm on weekdays. Over the next month, Swail says service will extend to 7 am-8 pm Monday through Friday, 8 am-3 pm Saturday, and 9 am-3 pm Sunday.