Editor's note: A previous version of this story identified the Exposition Boulevard restaurant has having Austin's first True Texas BBQ restaurant. The H-E-B on Slaughter Lane will also have an outpost of the brand's barbecue eatery. That store is currently under construction and will likely open first.
Get your tastebuds ready, Austin. Construction is set to start next month on an H-E-B grocery store in West Austin with amenities including a True Texas BBQ restaurant, a full bar, and indoor and outdoor seating.
The more than 110,000-square-foot store will replace a Randalls store at 715 Exposition Blvd. that’s been a neighborhood fixture since 1977. The two-story H-E-B is expected to open in 2021.
The University of Texas owns the 2.7-acre site where the H-E-B store will be built and is leasing the land to the San Antonio-based grocery chain. H-E-B promises the new store “will showcase a world-class shopping experience.”
That experience will include a True Texas BBQ restaurant. Currently, there are 10 True Texas BBQ restaurants inside H-E-B stores around the state, including two in San Antonio, one in Seguin, and one in Killeen.
In April, Daniel Vaughn, Texas Monthly barbecue editor, lauded True Texas BBQ as the “best statewide barbecue chain in Texas.”
“They’re making sides and desserts from scratch, smoking all-natural meats on site every day, and serving it all in a restaurant setting with local beers on tap,” Vaughn wrote.
“Each location of True Texas BBQ is designed like a stand-alone restaurant — with an ordering counter, tables, and fountain drinks,” the barbecue critic went on to say. “It doesn’t feel like you’re in a grocery store anymore. The menu is vast but barbecue-focused.”
H-E-B developed the barbecue concept in the café at its store in Austin’s Mueller development, according to Texas Monthly, but that location lacks a dedicated True Texas BBQ eatery. However, the Mueller store, as well as the H-E-B store in Lakeway, sell True Texas BBQ items — including brisket, of course — as part of their broader menus.
San Antonio-based Lake Flato Architects, which designed the H-E-B store at Mueller, has been tapped to design the Exposition Boulevard location. The new store will include rooftop solar panels, underground parking, vine-covered walls, abundant natural lighting, pitched roofs, and materials and textures such as limestone, wood, brick, and metal.
The Exposition Boulevard location is “going to be a one-of-a-kind beauty,” Leslie Sweet, H-E-B’s director of public affairs, tells CultureMap.
Aside from a True Texas BBQ restaurant and a coffee shop, both on the first floor, the store will offer a full-service, drive-through pharmacy; a large beer and wine department; a full-service meat and seafood counter; a wide selection of organic foods; and an array of prepared foods, including fresh sushi.
“The feedback and comments we received from this community were essential in developing the store’s design and features. As we continue to develop plans for this store, we look forward to hearing from our West Austin neighbors, and becoming more involved with neighborhood charities and activities,” Sweet says in a release on H-E-B’s website.