Has Austin reached a restaurant and bar saturation point? This might be the year when it finds out. Even after a wave devastating closures hit the Capital City in 2018, hope still springs eternal that 2019’s anticipated eateries will have better luck.
Arrive East Austin
When this stylish property, ahem, arrives in July, it will come with two new concepts from Lenoir chefs Jessica Maher and Todd Duplechan. Vixen’s Wedding, the proper restaurant, will serve Goan and Portuguese cuisine. Lefty’s Brick Bar, meanwhile, will have a casual all-day menu and plenty of cocktails.
Bobo’s Snack Bar
Don’t expect this reincarnation of South Congress’ Snack Bar to come together anytime soon. A Facebook video posted May 10 shows a far-from-completed constructed site and owners Bethany Andrée and Karl Gilkey are doing most of the work themselves.
Carve American Grille
Perry’s Restaurants has chosen the Lantana Place development at William Cannon Drive and Southwest Parkway as a testing ground for a brand-new concept. Carve American Grille will feature live fire cooking when it opens its doors in late summer.
Kimchi fries are coming to 303 Colorado St. very soon as this fast-casual eatery expands to its first downtown brick-and-mortar. The exact date is still unknown, but on May 7, the restaurant posted that it was currently looking for crew members.
DeSano Pizzeria Napoletana
While Austin was in the thralls of SXSW madness in March, this Nashville chain snuck in news of a second location in the former home of Ginger Man at 301 Lavaca St. At the time, a manager told CultureMap that the team was shooting for May, but judging by the construction progress, it seems Austin will have to wait a little while more.
Ending months of speculation, the Ramen Tatsu-Ya team finally spilled the details about their latest concept on May 7. The innovative shabu-shabu spot is slated to arrive in June.
District Kitchen + Cocktails
Suzi Yi surprised Austin in December 2018 when she announced she was closing her namesake Suzi’s China Grill, but it wasn’t all bad news. South Austin neighborhood fave District Kitchen + Cocktails is taking over the 7858 Shoal Creek Blvd. space, allowing the affable restaurateur a well-deserved retirement. Originally, District was set to open in the spring, but has not announced any further updates.
East Austin Hotel
After teasing the Capital City last December with a promise of a January opening, this boutique hotel from La Corsha Hospitality Group will finally open May 13. With it comes three new food and beverage concepts: all-day restaurant Sixth and Waller, upstairs lounge space The Upside, and a pool bar aptly named Pool Bar.
It has been a year since Thai Fresh owners Jam Sanitchat and Bruce Barnes announced they were opening a vegan ice cream shop at 1512 Holly St. The project is still ongoing, with an April 28 Facebook post showing work on the façade. In the interim, a food truck version has been traveling through town to give a preview.
The team behind Emmer & Rye is moving to the 2nd Street District of their new restaurant, named after the Greek goddess of the hearth. The dark-hued space will host a unique service model, bringing the kitchen staff to the front of the house. Although the original release stated that it would arrive by early 2019, fall now looks to be more likely.
This Chicago-based brand — a leader of the third wave coffee movement in the ‘90s — smartly selected Austin for its first Texas location in December 2018. It appears to still be on track for a late spring or early summer debut.
The owners of this upcoming eatery at 2512 E. 12th St., Edgar Rico and Sara Mardanbigi have been making a splash at events like Live Fire and the Austin Food & Wine Festival with their artful Mexican cuisine. Frequent Instagram updates show them well-positioned to open in early summer.
Little is known about this mystery project at 1626 E. Cesar Chavez St. featuring “an open kitchen with wood-burning grill, full bar, spacious plant-filled courtyard, and a private dining room outfitted with karaoke and a DJ booth,” according to a Poached job listing for a general manager. There are a few job posts still active, but the restaurant does not currently appear to have a website or social media presence.
This breakfast-obsessed food truck is building a brick-and-mortar on its original lot at 1203 E. 11th St. Fall will be the earliest Austin can expect new menu items and the stunning Chioco Design space.
Pinch Boil House
The San Antonio-Austin restaurant exchange program started by Bakery Lorraine and Merit Coffee continued apace when this acclaimed eatery announced in November 2018 that they were opening in Plaza Saltillo. Expect Viet-Cajun seafood boils sometime in the summer.
Punch Bowl Social
Peeking into the windows at Punch Bowl’s promised Sixth Street and Congress Avenue location, it seems barely a surface has been dusted. Obviously, the anticipated February 2019 opening of the entertainment hub and bar did not happen and no word yet on if it's still banking on a 2019 opening date.
Vegans will get another great option when this plant-based deli opens at 2200 Aldrich St. in the Mueller development. Summer diners can look forward to sandwiches, salads, and cruelty-free cheese and charcuterie boards.
Rosedale Kitchen & Bar/Guild
Chameleon Companies, the force behind Wu Chow and Swift’s Attic, surprised Bat City in December 2018 when it revealed a switcheroo: new all-day restaurant Rosedale was taking over the location the company’s upscale seafood spot Guild, while Guild was moving to more intimate environs. Going by job listings, the first part seems to be happening in the upcoming weeks. It’s unclear if Guild has found a permanent address.
A second project from the District Kitchen team will bring dreamy Persian cuisine to Austin. Although the restaurant held a pop-up on March 21, a location and timeframe has yet to be announced.
St. Elmo Public Market
Like an Ingmar Bergman film, Austin’s answer to Seattle’s Pike Place doesn’t seem to be in any rush. The project was first unveiled in September 2015, but waited until April 2018 to announce its first trio of concepts, Texas Hill Country Olive Company, a new market from Salt & Time, and Olamaie chef Michael Fojtasek’s Mignette. In October, the market added a new restaurant from Lick Honest Ice Creams and Family Business Beer Co. to the mix. Since then? Nada. But the website still claims it will open in 2019.
Salt Traders Coastal Cooking
This second location of chef Jack Gilmore’s sequel to Jack Allen’s Kitchen is promised to arrive at 1101 S. Mopac Expy. by early fall. Like the original outpost, it will serve a variety of sustainable seafood, including Italian cioppino, Southern shrimp and grits, and Gulf oysters.
Schaller’s Stube Sausage Bar
The popular New York hot dog purveyor wheeled into Austin in June 2018. A second trailer debuted at West Sixth Street’s Star Bar on May 9. Both are in anticipation of a proper eatery in Athenian Grill’s old spot at 600 Congress Ave. C150 in the late spring/early summer.
Swedish Hill Bakery & Cafe
The 2018 holiday season came and went without the opening of McGuire Moorman Hospitality’s rework of this classic Clarksville cafe. The real opening date is anyone’s guests, but in the meantime, the eatery is selling pastries and coffee during its Saturday backdoor bake sales.
Downtown dwellers shouted out a collective hurrah when this Austin institution announced plans to bring its Doña sauce to 301 Congress Ave. It was originally supposed to open in early 2019, but the city core is still waiting with breathless anticipation.
This tropical concept promised its debut in the former Backbeat space would happen by the end of 2018. Halfway through 2019, we still have no idea when we will see its takes on Polynesian cuisine. We do know that the owners of Ramen Tatsu-Ya are notoriously tight-lipped, so they may surprise Austin at any time.
This Dallas-based concept will shake up Rainey Street's bar scene when it arrives this summer. Prepared to break out those iPhones to document cocktails made in pneumatic tubes and blasted with hazy liquid nitrogen.
The winners of the 2019 CultureMap Tastemaker Award for Favorite Taco are branching out to a proper brick-and-mortar at 104 E. 31st St. A rep for the restaurant tells CultureMap that a debut will be any day now, pending permit approvals.
Ways & Means Oyster House
Last CultureMap checked, there was little progress turning the former Annies Cafe & Bar at 319 Congress Ave. into a new location of Ways & Means. Like so many Californians before it, the popular SoCal chain is still planning on the big move. When is still anyone’s guess.