6 things to know in Austin food right now: Anticipated Hill Country bistro serves up opening date

6 things to know in Austin food: Anticipated bistro sets opening date

Hildee's opens at the end of this month. Photo courtesy of Hildee's

Editor’s note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of Austin’s restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.


A trip to the charming town of Wimberley, southwest of Austin, may be in order soon, as a long-awaited “seasonal and soulful” bistro from a celebrated chef is finally opening its doors. Chef Ryan Hildebrand announced that he will open his Hildee’s Dine-Inn restaurant in Wimberley on Thursday, March 31. Located at 14111 Winters Mill Pkwy., Hildee’s is situated on the backside of the majestic Blue Hole Regional Park and will feature a menu highlighting locally sourced ingredients, local breweries, and Central Texas spirits. Shareable snacks and starters include brisket burnt end Rangoons and confit tomato pie, while heartier dishes include a smoked brisket slab; spring vegetable ratatouille; the Hildee’s Burger; and the BSLT with bacon, hot smoked salmon, lettuce, tomato, and everything bagel spread. A tantalizing smattering of dessert offerings and handcrafted cocktails round out the menu. “I became a chef because food brings people together,” Hildebrand says. “We built Hildee’s from the ground up but I wanted it to feel like it had been part of the landscape of this community for years. I’m looking forward to people gathering here around a table and enjoying our food and cocktails.” The restaurant will be open Thursday through Sunday for lunch and dinner service. Mondays will include dinner service only. Check out the Hildee’s website for more info.

Craving some ceviche de pulpo or huachinango Veracruz? Well, faithful fish lover, you’re in luck, as a new coastal Mexican seafood eatery from the owners of Casa Chapala Mexican Cuisine & Tequila Bar has splashed into North Austin. Introducing Simar Seafood Cocina, located at 9503 Research Blvd., in the Gateway Shopping Center. Chef Pedro Flores is serving up specialty seafood dishes like pulpo a las brazas (grilled whole octopus served with rice and salad) and pescado dorado (whole seasoned fried tilapia served with yellow rice and black beans) alongside citrus-forward cocktails like the Berry Nice (tequila blanco, pineapple juice, lime, and raspberries) and the mango mojito (rum, mango syrup, lime juice, and fresh mint). Visit Simar during hora feliz (happy hour) to reel in some delicious deals: Monday through Friday 3-7 pm, guests can net half-price bottles of wine, $6 Simar ritas, and $1 off local and import draft brews and appetizers like sushi, oyster shots, and chili tacos. Simar is open Sunday through Thursday 11 am-10 pm and Friday and Saturday 11 am-11 pm. Visit the restaurant’s website to learn more.

One of Austin’s most prolific restaurant groups is at it again. According to Eater Austin, McGuire Moorman Lambert Hospitality, the restaurant group behind such local faves as Perla’s, Clark’s, and Elizabeth Street Café, will open three new concepts in the Clarksville neighborhood. They include seasonal eatery Pecan Square Café, opening sometime early this year; Howard’s, a bar concept, and the as-yet-undefined concept Rosie’s. No opening dates have been disclosed for Howard’s and Rosie’s. Per Eater, Howard’s and Rosie’s will be located at 1130 W. Sixth St., in the space that formerly housed Wiggy’s liquor store. Pecan Square Café will be located at 1200 W. Sixth St., in the former Cafe Josie space. Watch MML’s website for updates. 

Other news and notes

If you’re the kind of Austinite who finds food, art, and charitable giving equally appealing, this special is for you! All March long, The Soup PeddlerAustin’s “premier liquids emporium” — will be dishing out a two-toned orange and red smoothie inspired by the work of abstract artist Ellsworth Kelly, who has wowed many a local with his monumental installation, Austin, at the Blanton Museum of Art. The smoothie includes mango, carrot juice, orange juice, ginger, turmeric, beet, lemon juice, and cayenne. An 18-ounce smoothie sells for $8, with proceeds benefiting the Dell Children’s Medical Center’s Art of Giving Program, which offers art and music therapy to patients. Scoop up a smoothie from any Soup Peddler location throughout the remainder of March.

A local purveyor of low-acid coffee — meaning it causes no tummy aches or stained teeth — is getting some celebrity backing in its newest partnership, which will also spread the word of the groundbreaking brand far and wide. Austin-based Golden Ratio, which specializes in flavored and unflavored low-acid coffee pouches and ground coffees and sources its beans from single-origin, ethically run farms, is partnering with The Ellen Show to be featured in its Spring 2022 Be Kind subscription box. Golden Ratio was chosen to be included by host Ellen DeGeneres herself for the box, which includes seven socially conscious products that are delivered directly to subscribers’ doors. While easy-to-enjoy coffee served in recyclable packaging is cause enough to subscribe, $1 from every unit of coffee sold on Golden Ratio’s website will be donated to Operation Smile, which works to help children born with cleft lips get the smiles they deserve.

Speaking of drinking well, award-winning neighborhood cocktail bar DrinkWell is shaking things up in honor of its 10th anniversary, featuring a specialty cocktail menu inspired by Taylor Swift’s Red album. Through April 10, the North Loop bar will feature the special menu, which will include cocktails named after album tracks, like All Too Well (Patrón sherry-cask-aged añejo, Highland Park 12-year scotch, Madeira Rainwater, pineapple amaro, and wormwood bitters); Come Back, Be Here (Grey Goose, The Botanist Islay Dry Gin, Dolin Génépy le Chamois Liqueur, sour apple, and St. Germain mist); and Red (Rittenhouse Rye, Cocchi Rosa vermouth, pear brandy, Cappelletti Aperitivo, and Peychaud’s Bitters). The menu also includes two cocktails available in nonalcoholic formats: Holy Ground, with Slow Luck Non-Alcoholic Spirits, and 22, made with Seedlip Garden 108 and Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic. “Much has changed since DrinkWell opened in February 2012, but what has not changed is our commitment to keeping Austin in good spirits. I’m enormously proud of how DrinkWell has evolved, particularly given all that we’ve weathered in recent years,” says Jessica Sanders, owner-operator of DrinkWell. “It’s been a challenging and exhilarating 10 years, to be sure.” DrinkWell is open for dine-in service 4-11 pm Monday through Thursday and 3 pm-midnight Friday and Saturday.