Austin may not be an island paradise, but you can’t blame its citizens for dreaming. During the summer of 2018, tropical concepts like Last Straw and She’s Not Here have become the latest trend in a city that lives like its on perpetual vacation.
The latest concept to catch the wave arrives courtesy of an equally landlocked city. According to a release, Anthem, from Omaha, Nebraska-based hospitality company Flagship Restaurant Group, will be moving into the Millennium Rainey Street development at 91 Rainey St. in late September.
The restaurant is a homecoming for the group's co-owner Anthony Hitchcock, who grew up in Austin. Fittingly, he tempers all the fun in the sun with a taste of home.
“Anthem is a place for friends, shenanigans, and great food,” Hitchcock said in the release. “It pays homage to the exuberant freedom of being young and the eclectic group of friends I had in my days here in Austin. We all came from different backgrounds — growing up on dumplings and casseroles, okra and Brussels sprouts, hoisin and aioli – but we always found a common ground.”
The menu reflects the wide-ranging inspiration. Although pan-Asian flavors figure heavily in the pub-style offerings, there are plenty of Lone Star touches. Shishito pepper queso is served with chopped five spice brisket, Polynesian pico de gallo, and ginger and yuzu guacamole and sweet potato waffle fries are topped with furikake (a Japanese seasoning blend), scallion, pickled ginger shoots, miso, and spicy aioli.
The eatery will also offer three different pupu platters meant to serve a crowd and snack plates like crawfish hushpuppies, taquitos with Applewood smoked bacon and kimchi, and brisket and cream cheese rangoon.
The drink program will feature 40 craft beers on tap and a full bar offering new and classic drinks. The tiki-focused cocktail menu features a kegged Mai Tai served in a Chinese takeout box; a stout Zombie with overproof rum, falernum syrup, and absinthe; and the Autumn Bomb made with Takara Okkomon sweet potato shoshu and amber beer.
The decor is as much of a mash-up as the food. A mural depicting Hamilton Pool from Austin artists Josh Row and Jason Archer of Show Goat Mural Works sets the scene, while velvet upholstered booths, tropical wallpaper, rattan furniture, and hanging lanterns adds sultry ambience.
Once debuting in September, the restaurant will be open daily for lunch and dinner. Thursday through Saturday, Anthem will offer a late-night happy hour from 10 pm-midnight, spreading more of those vacation vibes.