Brewed awakening

Central Texas' first self-serve gastropub pours into North Austin

Central Texas' first self-serve gastropub pours into North Austin

Oz. Tap House Austin
Oz. Tap House will be the first gastropub in Austin to offer pour-your-own beer. Rendering courtesy of Oz. Tap House

What does an Austin entrepreneur do when they have dreams of opening a restaurant in an already jam-packed market? Increasingly, the answer is to ignore the crowded city core in favor of outlying neighborhoods.

At least that was the answer for Krista and Sean Kanter, who announced on August 30 that they will open a new gastropub at 10601 Ranch Road 2222 Ste. H in the River Place neighborhood of North Austin. Barring any delays, the couple are aiming to introduce Oz. Tap House in November.

As the name hints, the concept will have a heavy focus on craft beer. The Kanters are applying their experience as longtime fast-food franchisers to provide the first self-serve tap experience in Austin.

The tap system uses radio frequency identification cards to monitor every purchase. Since the pricing structure is based on volume instead of unit, guests can pour anywhere between an ounce to a pint — allowing them to try out unfamiliar styles or create their own flight.

Sean tells CultureMap that most of the 40 taps will be devoted to local craft beer favorites, but customers can also choose from Texas wines, cold pressed coffee, a gluten-free sake, and a few “Cockt-Ales” with a beer base. Cicerones, the beer equivalent of sommeliers, will be on hand to help guide customers through the selections.

The food will also be ordered at self-serve kiosks, but the Kanters are eschewing their fast-food roots for more upscale fare. Gourmet burgers, made with everything from ahi tuna to the plant-based Impossible Burger patties, anchor the menu, but Oz. will also have a selection of chopped salads made from local produce and “smorgas-boards” with cheeses and cured meats.

A featured menu will rotate seasonal offerings like sushi boards and weekend brunch items. And a Lick Honest Ice Cream bar will allow guests to nab grab-and-go portions or scoop their own cone. Sean says the choices will include a few vegan options to accommodate almost every diet.

The contemporary dining room, outfitted with booths, community picnic tables, and high-tops, was inspired by beer gardens with shiplap, rustic wood, and corrugated metal softened with plenty of plants. The large space will make room for family-friendly fun such as indoor and outdoor games and live entertainment on the weekends.

As is increasingly the trend in the hospitality industry, the Kanters are using crowdfunding platform NextSeed to partially fund the project. The campaign, which runs until the end of October, offers investors perks like gift cards, an invitation to the VIP launch party, and even the chance to create and name their own burger.