In a food scene as active as Austin's, it’s almost impossible to keep up with every new restaurant. Even though we keep our ears to the ground, a few promising newbies have quietly opened without fanfare.
These concepts may not yet have the hype of hot players like Uroko or Comedor, but they are attracting glowing word-of-mouth attention. Here are six new under-the-radar Austin restaurants to discover.
Big City Bagels and Subs
Usually the announcement of a new bagel shop in Austin is greeted with a near stampede, but somehow this deli was able to sneak onto the scene in late March — it might have something to do with its curious lack of a social media presence. It’s now up to Austin to help spread the word about this Anderson Mill Road shop's perfectly chewy New York-style bagels, legit East Coast pastrami, and a Philly cheesesteak that will bring a tear to your eye.
Ooga Booga Waffles
After a series of successful pop-ups at East Austin bar Kitty Cohen’s, this sweet concept became a food truck on May 3. Now parked at the 5000 Burnet food trailer park, it serves jumbo savory and sweet waffles stuffed with poblano peppers; smoked chicken; cream cheese frosting; bacon, egg, and cheese; and all the fixings of a Monte Cristo sandwich. Look for the treats to start invading your Instagram feed soon.
The recently opened Oseyo is one of the hottest concepts in town, but it is not the only Korean newcomer to Austin. Soha quietly arrived in Crestview in early May with late-night hours and an encyclopedic menu that makes little attempt to appeal to Western tastes. Though the napa cabbage wraps with steamed pork and sweet soy glazed fried chicken are likely crowdpleasers, the offerings include lots of uncommon proteins like tripe, snails, and gizzards.
This charming Research Boulevard eatery just celebrated its grand opening on June 10, but it has already become a popular neighborhood hangout. The specialty of the house is ice cream in unexpected flavors like black sesame, taro root, and watermelon Thai basil that can be topped with granola, lime meringue dots, or crystallized ginger. The onigiri — triangular rice balls stuffed with spicy tuna, pickles, tofu, and more — are also flying out the door.
Although its North Lamar Boulevard storefront may not be fancy, this halal barbecue spot nails all the details, from the welcoming service to the quality of its charcoal grilled meats. Its late April debut gave North Austin a new place for artfully spiced kabab, Mediterranean lamb chops, flatbreads, and wraps. The lemony lentil soup has risen through the ranks to become the must-order dish, even in the dog days of summer.
This Pflugerville barbecue joint is not completely unsung. After opening on March 30, it sold out so frequently that its hours had to be adjusted. Still, the buzz around the stripped-down eatery is still building in Austin. The outrageous G.O.A.T. baked potato — loaded with five smoked meats — should win owners Nichole Denby-Jackson and Tevin Jackson many new fans.