New game plan

Longtime Austin restaurateur punts Asian street food for swanky new sports bar

Longtime Austin restaurateur punts Asian street food for sports bar

Street ATX Asian food sushi
In January, Chinatown's Ronald Cheng will replace Street with new concept Far East Sports Bar. Photo courtesy of Street

One doesn’t get the kind of longevity in the hospitality business Chinatown’s Ronald Cheng does without listening to customers. It’s no surprise that his latest concept is a direct response to neighborhood demand.

On January 1, 2020, the longtime local restaurateur will convert pan-Asian eatery Street into Far East Sports Bar. Located downstairs from the Chinatown location at 3407 Greystone Dr., the new project will add casual elements like 12 flat screens and counter service to the warm North Austin space, according to a release.

The bar will boast 15 taps pouring local craft beer as well as a full spirits selection. Though the release did not share the full cocktail details, it did tease that some of the drinks will be made with liquid nitrogen to add an element of fun.

The food menu will feature Chinese and Japanese favorites like fried rice, lo mein, sesame chicken, and a variety of maki and sashimi. Snacks like egg rolls, crab puffs, sushi nachos, and wings and other ideal pairings with booze will also be available.

After acclaimed sushi spot Musashino moved operations from Greystone Drive to San Gabriel Street in May 2016, Cheng nabbed the downstairs space. Inspired by his travels throughout Asia, the Austin restaurant icon outfitted the concept with decor like kimonos and a custom Chinese host stand.

The menu originally included a large array of street food, ranging from accessible options like taro fried and Sriracha chicken wings to more uncommon dishes like jellyfish salad. Since then, the menu has been simplified, but still covers all the bases from traditional to fusion.

In the release, Cheng did not specify why he decided to whittle down the menu and change concepts, but one thing, however, is for sure. As a person who has weathered the expansions and contractions of the Austin restaurant scene since 1983, he certainly knows when it’s time to try something new.