Pressing matters

New casual corner shop brings authentic Italian fare to bustling East Austin strip

New casual corner shop brings authentic Italian fare to East Austin

La Matta sandwich
La Matta will bring Italian sandwiches, salads, and wine to the east side in early December. Photo courtesy of La Matta

Save for a few SXSW day parties and the occasional boozy brunch, we haven’t spent much time in the daylight near East Sixth Street. But all that may change soon when New Waterloo’s latest concept opens a block from the bustling strip.

The hospitality group behind the South Congress Hotel and Hotel Ella, and restaurants like La Condesa and Sway, announced that their latest venture, La Matta, will be serving panini, salads, wine, and beer at 502 Comal St. starting December 4. The new shop was first announced as Enoteca Gattino in November 2015, one of two restaurants going into the then-under-construction mixed-used development, The Arnold. Sister eatery Il Brutto, serving pasta and pizza, will follow in early 2018.

Both restaurants will be helmed by Italian-raised chef Erind Halilaj, who was hired by New Waterloo in 2017 after a stint as corporate executive chef for global contemporary Italian chain Obicà Mozzarella Bar in New York City. In addition to the other fare, his menu for La Matta will also include mozzarella plates and salumi boards.

“My goal with La Matta is to bring authentic Italian sandwiches to Austin,” said Halilaj in a release. “Authentic meaning there is no interpretation — this is what you would eat in Italy, presented in exactly the same way.”

The new restaurant — named for the Joker in the Sicilian playing card deck — will offer counter service from 11 am-9 pm in a cozy corner spot featuring sizable patio seating, space for private events, and a large screen for soccer. Takeout and catering will both be available.