6 things to know in Austin food right now: Hotly anticipated Caribbean restaurant opens

6 things to know in local food: Hotly anticipated Caribbean spot opens

Canje restaurant East Austin
We think this new joint will be a smash hit. Photo courtesy of Canje

Editor’s note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of Austin’s restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.


If you’re in search of a new eatery to spice up your restaurant repertoire, you’re in luck, as the brilliant Emmer & Rye team is opening its much-anticipated sixth restaurant concept in Austin: Canje, which pays homage to executive chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph’s Caribbean roots. Canje, which opens Tuesday, October 5 — that’s today! — is located on the east side at 1914 E. Sixth St. Expect to swoon over dishes like wild boar pepper pot, pan-seared snapper with coconut broth, bone-in jerk chicken, and desserts like black cake with cream cheese frosting and ambrosia with spiked rum. The bar menu includes a variety of cool cocktails (we’re most intrigued by the Love Drug, a concoction of cacao-infused mezcal, Cocchi Torino, and a mauby bark tincture), as well a selection of beer and wine. Reservations are available at The restaurant will be open Sunday through Wednesday 5-10 pm and Thursday through Saturday 5 pm-midnight. For more information, please visit the restaurant website and follow along on Instagram.

Speaking of the island life, Austin’s newest tropical paradise is officially open for business. Tiki Tatsu-Ya, the new bar and restaurant concept from the Tatsu-Ya restaurant group, started welcoming guests this week to its island-style sanctuary at 1300 S. Lamar Blvd. Both the sharable-bites menu and the beverage program highlight tiki cocktail culture in classic and inventive ways. Tiki Tatsu-Ya will be open Wednesday through Saturday, with beverage service starting at 4 pm and the kitchen open from 5-10 pm. Beverage service is available on Sundays 2-10 pm. An expanded menu and hours of operations are in the works. Reservations are encouraged and will soon be available via Resy. Follow Tiki Tatsu-Ya on Instagram for more info and updates.

A property perched downtown at the corner of Fifth and Lavaca streets has ping-ponged from one enthralling business to the next throughout the years, housing, among other things, iconic local blues club Antone’s and later a gaming venue, and also boasting one of Austin’s many treasured murals. Now the property, located at 213 W. Fifth St., is turning the tables with a new concept … sort of. The space formerly occupied by ping-pong spot Spin will now be home to Smash ATX, a new restaurant, ping-pong bar, and event space offering lunch, happy hour, dinner, Sunday brunch, and private parties. Smash ATX will host all ping-pong players, from rookie to pro, and feature a menu created by chef Kersten Knight that features “familiar and approachable” but elevated fare, like hot chicken sandwiches, flatbread pizza, and fat burritos. Local beers and spirits and classic cocktails with a Smash twist round out the menu. Smash ATX opens to the public Wednesday, October 6, and daily hours of operation are 11 am-midnight. Check out the Smash ATX website or follow the brand on social media for more info.

Other news and notes

In celebration of its expansion in Central Texas, online food and goods delivery service Gopuff is treating some lucky locals to a private concert with an Austin music icon. Gopuff has rolled out operations in Pflugerville, Round Rock, and South Austin, its Gopuff Kitchen is now servicing all of Austin, and it’s opened a Gopuff Market on the University of Texas campus after acquiring Bandit Coffee. In honor of the growth milestones, Gopuff will host an exclusive concert with hometown hero and Grammy Award winner Gary Clark Jr. — and Gopuff users in Austin can win tickets to the show, which will take place October 21 at Stubb’s. Austinites who make a purchase on Gopuff through October 20 will be entered to win two tickets to concert. “I’m excited to be working with Gopuff and perform a special show in my hometown of Austin, Texas,” Clark says. “Gopuff is a great resource for the Austin community and I want to thank them for inviting me to rock with you guys.” Get more info on the Gopuff website.

An Austin-based company dedicated to creating convenient plant-based foods is branching out with its newest endeavor. Plantstrong Foods, founded by lauded health advocate and pioneer Rip Esselstyn, has launched eight new products that are now available in Whole Foods Market stores nationwide. Plantstrong’s new offerings include four organic, plant-based broths: slow-simmered vegetable broth, shiitake mushroom broth, sweet corn broth, and Spanish-style sofrito broth, as well as four ready-to-eat, plant-based chilis and stews, including Firehouse Chili, Thai carrot chickpea, creamy white bean chili, and Indian lentil stew. Visit the Plantstrong website for more details.

While it’s true that the pandemic has contributed to many local restaurants and bars feeling the sting of worker shortages, one beloved local coffee biz is hoping to attract new employees by brewing up a job fair. While job fairs are all too common these days, it’s a significant move for Mozart’s Coffee Roasters, the go-to Lake Austin spot for hanging and sipping, which has rarely had difficulties maintaining a staff. Mozart’s will host two job fair events: Tuesday, October 5 and Tuesday, October 12 from 10 am-1 pm and 4-7 pm each day. Mozart’s is looking to hire for a variety of positions, including barista, host, baker’s apprentice, expert cookie decorators, and even greeters, ticket staff, and other positions associated with Mozart’s upcoming Christmas light show. Wages range from $15-$30 per hour, and job seekers should show up for the fair with a resume and personal info, and be prepared to sit for an interview on the spot. Visit the Mozart’s website for more info.