Austin restaurateur spills the beans on new nightclub and massive expansion plans
The family behind one of Austin’s hot spots for micheladas and Michoacán-inspired Mexican cuisine is expanding its business, adding a new seafood restaurant and nightclub and opening additional locations of its popular taquerias.
Restaurateurs Gabriela and Arturo Bucio, who own and operate Mexican eatery Gabriela’s Downtown, are set to open their newest concept in the coming days, a new nightclub and bar called Mala Santa, located at 8505 Burleson Rd. near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. In a deal with the team behind downtown Latin nightclub Cielo, the Bucios will have co-ownership of Mala Santa, which is equipped to eventually host as many as 1,200 guests for concerts and entertainment events.
Within weeks of the club's opening, the Bucios plan to launch Seareinas, a new Mexican seafood restaurant and bar. Set for an early March opening, Seareinas is located at 6607 N. IH 35, in the space formerly occupied by the iconic ’Bout Time 2, which closed last year due to the pandemic.
Based on a queen-of-the-sea theme, the new restaurant will feature a menu of Sinaloa-style seafood, a full bar, an elevated stage for hosting live music and entertainment, an outdoor games court, and more than 6,500 square feet of indoor/outdoor dining space.
With the impending opening of Mala Santa and Seareinas, the siblings have also launched a restaurant- and bar-management company, aptly named Gabriela’s Group. The company will manage the new concepts; all Taquero Mucho and Gabriela’s eateries; their East Sixth Street nightclub and Latin music venue, Mala Vida; and Revival Coffee, the East Seventh coffee shop the Bucios bought and reopened in October after a pandemic-driven lack of sales forced its previous owners to close.
The launch of the new management company and seafood and nightclub venues comes as Gabriela’s Group is also planning to expand its two most celebrated concepts: Gabriela’s and Taquero Mucho. A second location of Gabriela’s is scheduled to open in late March or early April in the Southpark Meadows shopping center, while a second location of Taquero Mucho is set to open this spring at 11101 Burnet Rd., near The Domain. (As if that weren’t enough to keep them busy, the Bucios will also add a Mexican juice bar and fruteria adjacent to the new Taquero Mucho that will serve snacks, specialty drinks, and desserts.)
While the addition of the new concepts and creation of Gabriela’s Group mark significant growth for the restaurateurs, Gabriela is hinting that she’s far from finished expanding her family-owned empire, potentially even growing it outside of Austin.
“My team and I couldn’t be more excited to finally start sharing the news about our new restaurants popping up across Austin,” she says. “As we continue to expand across Austin and beyond, we hope to reach new audiences who are hungry for authentic and memorable dining experiences. Each project has been a true labor of love, especially after considering all that has happened over the past 12 months. Yet as we prepare to open doors to these new restaurants, I feel so grateful for the Austin community for continuing to support my team and me because without you all, none of this would be possible.”