New year's evolution

Austin's very first food hall reveals highly anticipated opening date

Austin's very first food hall reveals highly anticipated opening date

Fairground at One Eleven rendering
Fairground at One Eleven will feature six distinct concepts, plus two bars. hsuoffice.com

Downtown Austin dining is about to get a whole lot buzzier. The city’s first food hall is set to open on January 18, 2018, at the corner of First Street and Congress Avenue. Fareground at One Eleven, curated by the restaurant group responsible for Easy Tiger, 24 Diner, Italic, and Irene’s, will bring together six powerhouses from the local food scene.

The foodie wonderland at 111 Congress Ave. was designed by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture, the firm who has become synonymous with Austin dining through its work on projects including Uchi, Uchiko, Sway, P. Terry’s, and La Condesa.

The distinct dining concepts, ranging from a sushi and ramen shop to a taqueria, will be joined by two counter service bars helmed by the ELM Restaurant Group beverage director Craig Collins. One will be underground in the same area as the eateries, while the second will be located at the street-level plaza.

Contigo Fareground will be a continuation of chef Andrew Wiseheart and co-owner Ben Edgerton’s casual East Austin mainstay. The eatery will carry over some favorites from the flagship restaurant, including the popular burger, crispy green beans, and locally sourced rotisserie chicken that can be enjoyed onsite or taken to go.

Dai Due Taqueria will showcase Dai Due chef Jesse Griffiths and co-owner Tamara Mayfield’s passion for local cuisine in a new light. In partnership with Noma Tulum alumnus Gabe Erales, the stand will offer tacos, tortas, and mollettes using local game like bison, wild boar, and venison, as well as Gulf seafood. The duo will also try a fresh take on vegetables like their version of Spanish sausage longaniza made with beets. All tortillas and masa will be made with house milled Mexican heirloom corn.

Easy Tiger’s concept will be a mini version of the bustling Sixth Street shop, featuring “head doughpuncher” David Norman’s pastries and artisan breads, and chef Andrew Curren’s cured meats and sausages in sandwiches or on boards. A full coffee menu will also be available.

Henbit, a totally new concept from Emmer & Rye chefs Kevin Fink, Page Pressley, and Tavel Bristol-Joseph, will focus on healthy and sustainable eating. Highlights of the breakfast menu include red fife kolache with chorizo, cheese, and local chiles, and white Sonora wheat breakfast tacos. For dinner, enjoy salads like crispy rice with redtail shrimp poke and avocado, and spaghetti squash with burnt pecan dressing. A nonalcoholic beverage program from partner Rand Egbert will include superfood lattes and specialty teas.

Ni-Komé will blend chef/owners Takehiro Asazu and Kayo Asazu’s Komé Sushi Kitchen with their Daruma Ramen, serving sushi combos, rolls like Kome’s signature spicy tuna and avocado Spooky Roll, and ramen including Daruma’s cult chicken broth based Marudori, plus vegan options.

And lastly, Austin’s favorite cheesemongers, Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, will offer a capsule version of the Hyde Park store with the addition of hot and cold plates like cheese and mac bowls (yes, the cheese comes first); gourmet sandwiches; and soups. Cheese trays and catering options will be available for busy downtown workers along with complimentary cheese tastings.

The offerings from the two bars were designed to be paired with the wide range of international flavors at the food hall. Expect more than 20 draft beers, wine, sake, and draft cocktails. Only one bar will open immediately in January. The second street-level bar will debut later in the spring.

Hours for the operation will be 7 am to 10 pm on the weekdays and 9 am to 10 pm on weekends. Breakfast service will be provided by Contigo, Dai Due Taqueria, Easy Tiger, and Henbit. Antonelli’s and Ni-Komé will only be open for lunch and dinner.