When long-loved East Austin restaurant Contigo announced it would close permanently in December 2021, local foodies who treasured the ranch-style eatery were crestfallen and left wondering how any other concept could ever take its place.
It turns out that another beloved local restaurant group has plans to soup up the spot with a new restaurant featuring the Japanese soul food Austinites can’t get enough of.
On Wednesday, March 2, the team behind the visionary Tatsu-Ya restaurant empire announced it will take over the Contigo space with a new restaurant concept that will expand the “ramen multiverse” and merge the culinary crafts of ramen and barbecue.
The new restaurant, yet to be named, is scheduled to open at 2027 Anchor Ln. late this summer.
With a capacious and charming patio and easygoing Hill Country vibes, the former Contigo space has been coveted for years, so it likely won’t come as a surprise to locals that the property got scooped up so quickly by another restaurant family with deep Austin roots.
Indeed, since opening its first eatery in 2012, the Tatsu-Ya group has grown to include three local ramen shops and one in Houston, as well as its wildly popular Tiki Tatsu-Ya bar. According to the company, the new concept will include a “special regional Texas twist,” apparently in the form of Texans’ most cherished fare: barbecue.
“In Japanese, the word ‘en’ translates to ‘circle’ and means fate or karma, and this new project brings that to mind. It feels like coming full circle from when I cooked my brisket ramen in the Contigo kitchen for an episode of BBQ With Franklin that [Contigo chef] Andrew [Wiseheart] hosted seven years ago, and throwing it back to 2013 when the dish was born during a shift family meal,” says Tatsu-Ya chef and owner Tatsu Aikawa.
“I’ve always wanted to pursue the idea of Texas regional ramen,” Aikawa continues, “and when this serendipitous opportunity presented itself, I saw the chance to make it a reality. We’re excited to bring this concept to life with new creative energy and serve the community.”