Hungry, hungry hippos in the Hutto area can soon sink their teeth into some “exceptional Mexican cuisine,” care of one of the Austin-area’s longtime restaurateurs specializing in authentic carne asada, fajitas, and some perfectly potent margaritas.
Jaime Fernandez — the owner and operator of traditional Mexican restaurants Jalisco’s Restaurant & Bar in Austin and Buda, and Tequila Bar & Grill in Round Rock — will open a new restaurant concept at the Co-Op District in Hutto, the new 35-acre mixed-use development off U.S. Hwy. 79.
The new Mexican food eatery, which has yet to be named, is planned for a late 2022 opening, and is expected to bring 40 to 60 jobs to the community.
The restaurant will feature a menu not unlike Jalisco’s that includes authentic, handcrafted Mexican food. The concept will also host live-music performances and offer an outdoor patio and a bar area that will be ideally suited for sipping a signature frozen margarita while socializing with friends and watching sports events on multiple big screens.
“We are excited that this highly regarded, family-owned and -operated restaurant has chosen Hutto and our Co-Op District for its newest location, where residents will be able to enjoy truly authentic, exceptional Mexican cuisine,” says Wyatt Henderson, co-founder and principal of MA Partners, the developer of the Co-Op District.
The new Mexican food spot will join neighboring tenants in the Co-Op District that include Southside Market & Barbecue, aka the oldest barbecue joint in Texas, Hutto City Hall and Library, and local love Top Notch Hamburgers.
Still to come are high-density residential, retail, and entertainment components, as well as a hotel, amphitheater, movie theater, and more restaurants.
The massive mixed-use Co-Op District, built to be a walkable business, retail, entertainment, and residential destination, is located at the site of the original Hutto Co-Op, built in 1937.
In 2004, the owners of about 18 acres on the property, Hutto Co-Op Gin and Hutto Co-Op Grainery, sold their property and structures to the City of Hutto, making way for the new development and heralding a transformation in the once-quiet Williamson County town.
In deference to that history, the Co-Op District features four towering grain silos that were preserved and anchor the development as visual symbols of the community’s agricultural past.
For Fernandez, who opened the first Jalisco’s restaurant in Austin in 1994, the Co-Op District was appealing as a community gathering spot with strong local roots.
“We’ve been on the lookout for a premier restaurant location in Hutto for years because of the genuine, down-to-earth residents and the city’s continued growth and opportunities,” Fernandez says. “When we first learned about the Co-Op District, we were immediately interested. The development is more than just a commercial property, and it’s clear the developers care about the feel of the development and making it a community gathering destination for the city.”