If you follow Austin restaurant news, but feel overwhelmed as of late, you're not alone. The city's booming economy, entrepreneurial spirit and young culinary talent have combined to throw the upcoming restaurant scene into a fevered frenzy.
With so many new restaurant and bar projects in the works around town, we've culled together the ultimate guide. Read on for our list of hot Austin restaurants and bar openings for fall 2014 — and beyond.
This new cocktail bar from former W Austin beverage director Joyce Garrison is billed as an upscale gay lounge, and aims to correct the dearth of quality cocktail options in Austin's gay nightlife scene. The bar is now open at 404 Colorado St.
This just-opened spot at 1614 E. Seventh St. brings Indian food (and some creative and wacky Indian/Tex-Mex hybrid dishes) to the east side, which isn't exactly full of Indian food options. Prices are moderate and children's options are available.
Sawyer & Co.
East Cesar Chavez
This "South Louisiana" diner in the former Arkie's space comes from veterans at the Swoop House's "Supper Friends," and is now open on East Cesar Chavez. Dishes like gumbo, po'boys, biscuits and mac and cheese abound. The early buzz is positive and prices are reasonable.
Stouthaus Coffee Pub
Now open in Sunset Valley, fans of Radio Coffee and Beer or Wright Bros. Brew and Brew will understand the concept: coffee and beer.
Now open on Burnet Road, this re-imagining (fancier version) of the '70s hangout has homemade tortillas and a bar focused on tequila drinks.
416 Bar & Grille
Currently in build-out phase, 416 hopes to open in December at 5011 Burnet Rd. The project is helmed by father and son team John Jurey (Whole Foods Market) and Colin Jurey (24 Diner). The menu is American and locally sourced where possible.
This modern southern creation from James Robert (Eddie V's) will begin serving "Sunday supper seven days a week" late this year in the new IBC Bank building on West Fifth Street. Early dish previews of the "traditional Southern dishes with modern technique" at La Dolce Vita and Tour De Vin have wowed diners, so this is one to watch.
Fork & Vine
This large restaurant from the former Hickory Street team will open soon on Anderson Lane and will showcase a large-scale wine program. For more details, see CultureMap's piece from earlier this year.
The highly anticipated "seasonal vegetable" restaurant from Contigo's Andrew Wiseheart and Ben Edgerton is very close to fruition. Media hard hat tours are happening this week, so expect a November opening.
The first post-La Condesa/Sway project from Rene Ortiz and Laura Sawicki, Launderette should open this winter on Holly Street. The restaurant is described as understated, fresh and a neighborhood hub. A second Ortiz/Sawicki restaurant called Angry Bear and an ice cream shop are also rumored to be in motion for sometime in 2015.
Wu Chow — Featured pick
The new Chinese restaurant from the Swift's Attic team is on track to open this winter in the IBC Building downtown. Wu Chow recently hired Ji Ping Chen from New York City as executive chef and Ling Qi Wu as dim sum chef. The restaurant intends to host a few preview pop-ups this fall at venues including the Austin Barbecue Society.
Coming in 2015:
Boiler Nine — Featured pick
Perhaps the biggest upcoming project in Austin, Boiler Nine is Chef David Bull's latest project, which will anchor the Seaholm development downtown. Manager Scott Walker describes the restaurant as "a three-space concept." Boiler Nine Bar + Grill, he says, will be the main restaurant. Cuisine will be eclectic but focused on local ingredients and "interesting takes utilizing a large wood-fired grill." Deck Nine, a top-floor cocktail garden, and The Boiler Room, a basement bar, round out the concept. Walker also says Jason Stevens will handle all the drinks and Thomas Ward will round out the beverage program. Jason Stude will be executive chef.
Shawn Cirkiel's fifth project will open in 2015 at 4807 Airport Blvd. The cuisine will be Spanish served tapas-style.
Counter 3 Five VII
Former TRACE chef Larry Kocurek's newest venture will launch in the space on Congress Avenue directly below Swift's Attic in 2015. A 26-seat chef's counter will offer seasonal dishes in — you guessed it — three-, five- and seven-course options.
The long-awaited Italian restaurant from Andrew Curren (24 Diner, Arro) arrives in the Starr Building lobby in early 2015. Expect a simple menu of pizzas, roasted chicken, steaks and a rotating selection of pastas. An all-Italian wine list from Master Sommelier Craig Collins will be featured at the bar, along with cocktails and aperitifs.
JW Marriott Restaurants
Three restaurants are slated for Austin's newest luxury hotel, which is scheduled to open in February. There will be a burger bar, a Texan restaurant and a regional Italian restaurant on the property.
Odelay & Upper East Side
A double bill for Windsor Park? Demolition is just beginning on this Texas brasserie and coffee bar slated for 2015. The Berkman Drive restaurant duo aims to be a hub of Windsor Park and Mueller social life, and intends to offer brunches, barbecues, crawfish boils and, crucially, a kid-friendly play area.
Small Victory — Featured pick
This new venture from noted barman Josh Loving will open sometime in 2015 in the former Mike's Pub space on East Seventh Street. Look for Loving's excellent interpretations of classic cocktails with hand-cut ice from a Clinebell machine. Loving is also a wine pro (he has run programs at FINO and Jeffrey's in the past) so Small Victory will offer a limited but curated selection of wines by the glass, as well as some light snacks he describes as "mostly salty and room temperature, like cheeses, olives, nuts, hams, and salumi" to pair with your beverages.
Unnamed Bryce Gilmore project
Very few details are available, but Gilmore has signed a lease on Burnet Road and will open in 2015.
Former Four Seasons bartender Travis Tober recently signed on to this Lamar Union restaurant from Chef Joe Anguiano (Uchi, Eleven Plates & Wine). A January 2015 opening looks likely.
Expansions now open or coming soon:
Azul Tequila (Northwest): A second location of the under-the-radar South Austin favorite is now open in Northwest Hills.
Black's BBQ (North Campus): The Lockhart legend quietly opened its doors near the University of Texas campus in mid-October for a soft opening phase.
Cooper's BBQ (Downtown): The newest outlet of the Cooper's empire will stay open late, have a top-floor bar and will serve the same fare as other popular locations. The restaurant plans to open in February.
Counter Cafe (East Austin): The second location of the downtown favorite is slated to open at 1914 E. Sixth St. in November.
Cover 3 (Central): The Cover 3 chain is opening a third location in the former Third Base space on West Fifth Street.
El Chilito (East Austin): An East Seventh Street location should open in late November or early December for the mini-chain. We're also told to expect another announcement from the El Chile group soon.
Flores (Southwest): This neighborhood chain is moving west. The Oak Hill location will relocate to Arbor Trails in early 2015.
Jack Allen's Kitchen (Westlake): The new Davenport location of the popular local chain is under construction now; look for an early 2015 opening.
La Barbecue (South Congress): The geniuses at La Barbecue are planning a move back to 78704 in 2015. Expect a brick-and-mortar in the South Congress Avenue area. No timeline or address is yet in place.
Michi Ramen (South Lamar): Construction is underway on a second Michi location on South Lamar in the Corners shopping center at 3005 S. Lamar Blvd.
North By Northwest (Southwest): The popular brewpub opened a new location on Slaughter Lane and MoPac adjacent to the Alamo Drafthouse about a month ago. Initial crowds have been huge.
Papalote Taco House (Northwest): The interior Mexican tacos at Papalote are a hit in South Austin, so construction has commenced on a second branch at 13265 Research Blvd. The new spot is due to open sometime in early 2015.
Patika Coffee (South Lamar): The well-regarded downtown coffee trailer has now opened a brick-and-mortar on South Lamar Boulevard.
The Peached Tortilla (North Central): After much success as a trailer, Peached Tortilla should open a brick-and-mortar on Burnet Road in late November. A full bar will be featured with an emphasis on bourbon.
Pinthouse Pizza (South Austin): A second location for the new-ish brewpub will arrive at the Brodie Oaks shopping center sometime in 2015.
Ramen Tatsu-Ya (South Lamar): Tatsu-Ya's eagerly awaited 1122 S. Lamar Blvd. location is under construction. No opening date has been announced.
Sa-Ten (East Austin): Far East Austin has a new coffee and lunch hangout at The Canopy. Sa-Ten comes from partners at Kome and East Side King, and serves coffee, savory toasts, curries and small vegetable plates.
Salvation Pizza (Rainey Street): The Rainey Street location of this tasty UT-area pizza purveyor should open in early November. A third location in 78758 is also in the works.
Shake Shack (South Lamar): Perhaps the only chain besides In-N-Out coveted by locals, the first Texas Shake Shack should open on South Lamar next to the Alamo Drafthouse in early 2015.
St. Philip (Sunset Valley): The Uchi team's newest project is a Sunset Valley neighborhood spot focused on pizza, meatballs, sandwiches and small plates. The restaurant opened four weeks ago and features an extensive beer list and a take-out pastry shop.
Via 313 (Oak Hill): In December, work will begin on Via 313's Oak Hill brick-and-mortar, which will occupy the former Flores space. No timeline for opening yet.