Copy and pasta

Acclaimed East Austin Italian eatery heads west with new restaurant

Acclaimed East Austin Italian eatery heads west with new restaurant

Patrizi's Austin food truck
Patrizi's now has two locations to get your fill. Patrizi's Austin/Facebook
A spread of handmade pastas by Patrizi's
The neighborhood pasta truck has added much bigger digs just outside of Austin. Photo courtesy of Patrizi's
A foccaccia sandwich on a steel counter
The new foccaccia supports most of the breakfast and lunch menus. Photo courtesy of Patrizi's
A green drink with basil and cucumber garnishes
The new Patrizi's displays its ingredients on open shelving. Photo courtesy of Patrizi's
Patrizi's Austin food truck
A spread of handmade pastas by Patrizi's
A foccaccia sandwich on a steel counter
A green drink with basil and cucumber garnishes

A longstanding Austin food truck is spreading its love of Italian cuisine this spring. Patrizi’s, the long-standing truck dishing handmade pasta on East 22nd Street is going a little more mainstream, with a new brick-and-mortar restaurant in the hills on the west side of Austin.

The new Patrizi's, open as of Thursday, May12, is located on Cuernavaca Drive, off Bee Caves Road — an area popular with artists in the '70s, now dotted with expensive new homes. The area is mostly residential, with few other restaurants nearby but a lot more room for visitors to relax and enjoy the neighborhood atmosphere. 

In fact, Patritzi’s owners and cousins Matt and Nic Patrizi (along with owner and operator Ben Braten) chose the location mostly because it’s closer to home. It’s close to Matt’s home, rather, and now each cousin has a short trip to one location. But the location is now a major strength, great news for people who want a less urban dinner from an established local favorite. Nic explains that this far out of town (technically not in Austin at all), it’s hard to have a specialty restaurant, so the new spot under a giant oak tree is built to welcome as many types of people as possible.

“There's so many different groups that we have to accommodate. So we're kind of geographically compartmentalizing different areas of our restaurant for different crowds of people,” says Patrizi. “The crazy drunk river rats are going to be in our bar section, underneath the stage, the sit-down diners that are coming in for a proper, nice long meal might be underneath the tree outside or in our tiny dining room inside. All the big families … or people who want to have their dogs around, they'll be down in the yard.”

The truck is an art project beyond even Austin’s wacky standards. It looks like a bistro turned inside out, with red curtains on the exterior, a large blackboard menu, and every additional surface covered with framed art. “Una cena senza vino è come un giorno senza sole,” says a prominent sign across the top, which translates to “A dinner without wine is like a day without sun.”

The Cuernavaca location’s look is more streamlined, much closer to that of Vic and Al’s, the Cajun restaurant the cousins opened in 2020, with a sleek and natural interior almost opposite the scrappy food truck’s. Both restaurants have exposed shelving that show off the ingredients beautifully, but unpretentiously.

“Our goal is to make it feel approachable. But anyone who's an expert in the field who knows the bar … will know that we're experts in our craft,” says Patrizi. “Similarly, if you're a cook and you showed up and you saw all the different ingredients that we have, it evokes the same sort of feel.”

Some of the ingredients Patrizi refers to are cordials and house-made amaros, bitters, and Campari. The ingredients on display — juniper berries, chili peppers, and pepitas (used in pestos instead of pine nuts), among many others — are much more scrutable than they are on the very simple menu, which lists familiar ingredients in slightly different combinations, all with the fettuccine. (Patrizi says fettuccine is the simplest option to avoid all the local Italian politics of what pasta shapes go with which sauces. “That really was a way for me not getting beat up.”)

At the Cherrywood location, Patrizi’s is known for its garlic bread topped with whole roasted cloves, and pastas generously smothered in cheese, sauce, and fresh greens. Over half the menu is vegetarian or vegan, including a rainbow salad with vegan cashew cheese and lemon vinaigrette. The menu is relatively compact, with classic highlights like “Karah's Diavolo” with lemon and red chili, and the cacio e pepe, a simple cheesy pasta mentioned often by reviewers.

The menu changes are all simple expansions as Patrizi’s adds breakfast and lunch service, with dinner menus remaining "very similar." One addition is variations on open-faced focaccia, featuring eggplant caponata, onion jam and bacon, or Caprese ingredients. Using a smoker from the previous business at the new locale, Patrizi’s will also be making its own pancetta, porchetta, mortadella, and tasso ham.

“For the most part, we try to keep a low profile. We get very, very busy. We don't try to play the game of ‘who's the sexy new restaurant in town?’” Patrizi says. “We just try to be a fun spot that people like to go to, and we inevitably become a place where all the cooks and all the bartenders show up.”

The new Patrizi's is located at 1705 Cuernavaca Dr. N. They will be ramping up for the next "two or three weeks," so the restaurant encourages visitors to call ahead at 346-241-1350.