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5 things to know in Austin food right now: Mexican seafood eatery surfaces in famed east side locale

5 things to know in Austin food: Mexican seafood surfaces on east side

Este Austin
Este, a Mexican seafood spot, opens in the former Eastside Cafe space this summer. Photo courtesy of Este

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.

Openings and reopenings

The most exciting local development this summer comes in the form of one of the city’s most eagerly awaited eateries. Este, the new Mexican seafood restaurant from the team behind Suerte, is set to open in the former Eastside Cafe space this summer. The appropriately named restaurant (Este means “east” in Spanish), which is owned by Suerte’s Sam Hellman-Mass, will be led by executive chef Fermin Nunez (a Food & Wine Best New Chef 2021). The menu is inspired by the flavors of the Guadalajara, Ensenada, and Puerto Escondido regions in Mexico and will feature Mexican coastal cuisine, highlighting local, sustainable fish and shellfish, and employing a charcoal grill. Though the team aimed to open the eatery by late 2020/early 2021, we can all guess what’s caused the delay. Despite the hold up, given the team’s success with Suerte — and its superb fare — we’re pretty sure all of Austin will be immediately hooked on Este.

When lovers of Italian restaurant Italic realized the eatery had closed permanently, there were not many cheers of “saluti!” But there may be cause to reignite some excitement about the West Sixth Street space that housed Italic, as another Texas fave has sunk its meat hooks into the spot. Almost eight years after making its downtown Austin debut, Lonesome Dove Western Bistro — helmed by renowned chef Tim Love — has reopened in the former Italic space, at 123 W. Sixth St., just a few boot scoots away from its original Austin location, which it closed around Christmastime in preparation for the move. Lonesome Dove’s new Austin outpost will continue to feature the restaurant’s signature urban Western cuisine — wild game, seafood, hand-cut steaks, wood-fired cooking techniques — under the direction of opening chef Josh Neises. Lonesome Dove Western Bistro Austin is open on the Front Porch Monday through Saturday 3-10 pm, with dinner available 5-10 pm. Lunch is served Friday 11 am-2 pm. For more information and to make reservations, visit lonesomedoveaustin.com.

While tacos and barbecue will always be cornerstones of Austin’s food scene, the Capital City is steadily becoming a juice and smoothie town, with new joints popping up all the time, turning on the juice for local health nuts and smoothie savorers. Austin’s newest addition comes from Southern California-based neighborhood chain Nekter Juice Bar, which has opened its third area location at 4005 Market St., in the Hill Country Galleria. The company also has locations on Far West Boulevard and at the Seaholm District downtown, and is in expansion mode, with plans to grow to 425 locations by 2024. Nekter specializes in freshly made juices, smoothies, cold-pressed juices, cleanses, and those oh so popular acai bowls. The new shop is open Monday through Friday 7 am-8 pm and on the weekends from 8 am-8 pm. Visit the brand’s website for menu offerings and more info about its juiced-up expansion.

Other news and notes

Austinites who’ve had the delicious chance to scarf down treats from local bakery Wunderkeks — owned by life partners and Guatemalan transplants Luis Gramajo and Hans Schrei — know how undeniably perfect the brand’s cookies and sweet eats are. And now, so will Hollywood. Wunderkeks just announced its brownies were chosen to be included in the “Everyone Wins” gift bags that are given to all acting and directing Oscar nominees. That means celebrities like Will Smith, Nicole Kidman, Kristen Stewart, Steven Spielberg, and more will soon be sinking their teeth into Wunderkeks’ special-edition gold-leaf-covered brownies — and that’s far better than some golden trophy, in our estimation. Best yet, Wunderkeks’ Red Carpet Fudgiest Brownies Ever are available for purchase this month by non-Oscar-nominated superstars like you on the company’s website. But they’re only available for a limited time. So order up, dig in, and thank your lucky stars.
  
Happy International Women’s Day! In honor of the holiday, female employees at Austin’s Meanwhile Brewing Co. are crafting a new beer — a lower ABV IPA dubbed Hard Candy — that will benefit Pink Boots Society, an organization that assists and inspires women and nonbinary individuals in the fermented and alcoholic beverage industry in advancing their careers through education. The new Hard Candy brew, which will be available on draft and in cans next month, will feature flavors of white peach and lychee, and will be brewed with hops from the Yakima Chief Hops “Pink Boots Blend.” While Meanwhile’s female employees have been hard at work creating the design, name, and label artwork, they will come together in the brewhouse Tuesday, March 8, to craft the new brew. Follow Meanwhile on Instagram for updates about this new women-devised IPA.