Growth spurt

Austin's own Chi'Lantro fries up opening date for first downtown restaurant

Austin's Chi'Lantro fries up opening date for first downtown location

Chi'Lantro downtown Austin
Chi'Lantro's first downtown restaurant features a calming neutral palette. Photo courtesy of Jae Kim

After building a food truck empire, successfully appearing on ABC’s Shark Tank, and becoming one of Austin’s most recognizable brands, Chi’Lantro BBQ owner Jae Kim is now coming full circle. On May 15, the Korean barbecue tycoon announced that his long-awaited downtown brick-and-mortar would open two blocks away from where he opened his first trailer in 2010.

Kim says the new downtown outpost at 303 Colorado St. will serve the same menu as the other locations, including rice and noodle bowls, salads, tacos, burritos, and burgers customizable with proteins like spicy pork, soy-glazed or spicy chicken, tofu, or ribeye beef. A variety of chips and dips, fried chicken wings, and the restaurant’s wildly popular kimchi fries round off the menu.

Unlike the previous locations, however, the downtown restaurant will sport a more subdued look. While still keeping its contemporary feel, the shop uses pale woods, black and white accents, and a line art mural. 

The design also makes great use of the space’s former occupant Barley Bean’s shelving. Filled with plants and baskets, it adds interest without taking away from the brand’s signature minimalism.

The downtown eatery will be the seventh location for the growing chain, and the sixth brick-and-mortar after opening the Mueller store in September 2018. Those who regularly line up for lunch at the trailer on Congress Avenue will be happy to know that it will remain open.

Planned expansion into the Dallas and Houston markets, which Kim plans to fund with Barbara Corcoran’s $600,000 Shark Tank investment, is still eventually happening. But for now, Chi’Lantro is enjoying a meteoric rise, right where the business first blossomed.