While I usually greet comebacks with little more than a shrug (see: the promised new album from nu-metal stalwarts Limp Bizkit), the return of a downtown dining destination is cause for celebration. The Chameleon Company’s Swift’s Attic will be doing just that when it reopens on June 20 following a fire.
Since opening at 315 Congress Ave. in April 2012, Swift’s has grown to become one of Austin's most popular destinations. Its long run was interrupted, however, around 11:30 pm on March 11, when a fire broke out in its second-story kitchen.
According to the Austin Fire Department report, no one was in the restaurant at the time nor in the downstairs space that formerly housed upscale tasting table Counter 3. Five. VII, which shuttered in July 2018. The building’s basement jazz club Elephant Room, however, had to be evacuated due to smoke.
According to a release, firefighters responded within minutes of the report, and the damage was minimal. Still, Chameleon seized the opportunity to make improvements on the historical spot.
After June 20, Swift’s will resume serving its normal menu, including bringing back its wildly popular Big Ass Burger nights on Mondays. With gallows humor, the restaurant will also introduce a few charred and smoked dishes and cocktails as specials.
The open-to-the-public party from 6-10 pm, however, will feature light bites and a cash bar. As a thank you to first responders, Swift’s will be selling merchandise benefiting The 100 Club, a nonprofit that supports the families of law enforcement offices and firefighters who are catastrophically injured or killed in the line of duty.
With the return of Swift’s Attic, Chameleon will have a very busy summer. In addition to launching a brand-new brunch menu at the restaurant in mid-July, the restaurant group also anticipates opening Rosedale — the casual replacement to upscale seafood spot Guild — the same month.