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6 things to know in local food right now: Glam new cocktail lounge shakes up North Austin

6 things to know in local food: Cocktail lounge shakes up North Austin

Andiamo cocktail restare
Restare invites you to sit and "stay" for a spell. Photo by Vanessa Lain Photography

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.


North Austin Italian staple Andiamo Ristorante is launching a laid-back new cocktail lounge complete with seasonal aperitifs. Restare (Italian for “stay”) recently unveiled its new space and a snack menu featuring such bites as an Antonelli’s cheese-and-meat plate, pizza di polenta, fried lamb chops, and ravioli friti. The lounge’s libation menu, developed by bar consultant Caitly Jackson, who’s previously lent her talents to such operations as Geraldine’s and Olive & June, includes a variety of Italian wines, vermouth, and ciders, as well as housemade beverages like the Testa Rossa, a homemade hibiscus tea combined with Contratto Rosso, Sidro del Bosco, dry apple cider, and Lunaria Pecorino. Both Restare and Andiamo are open for dine-in service Monday through Saturday from 5-9 pm, with Andiamo additionally open for takeout. Reservations for both operations are recommended and can be made via Resy for Restare, and on the restaurant’s website for Andiamo.

Amidst the growing demand for smaller, more socially distanced gatherings, Austin-based El Chile Group have announced La Cantina, a new indoor/outdoor venue on Manor Road available for “small intimate private events” that adhere to the city’s current health and safety guidelines. “The amount of inquiries we’re receiving from the community looking for a safe way to have micro-weddings, rehearsal dinners, and holiday gatherings ... drove us to look at how our available 1900 Manor Road location could fill the need,” says COO Orlando Sanchez, in a release. Located in the home of the now shuttered Yuyo, La Cantina will feature the El Chile Group’s trademark vibrant color scheme as well as a catering menu drawing upon the its popular dine-in operations, El Alma, El Chile, and El Chilito.  In addition to its socially distanced floor plan, the venue will offer a full bar, audio/visual packages, and other rental options for limited-sized events. Interested parties can book their fall event now by emailing

If too much caffeine typically has you climbing the walls, Central Austin’s latest gym and café combo might be your new obsession. On Thursday, October 1, St. Elmo craft coffee operation Spokesman opened its long anticipated second outpost within Crux Climbing Center's new central facility at 6015 Dillard Cl., next to Brewtorium. Prepared in the heart of the gym's 20,627-square-foot space, Spokesman’s array of workout-powering lattes and cold brews feature the brand’s lineup of Ethiopian and Central and South American beans. In addition to grab-and-go food items, climbers can cool down further with the café’s assortment of beer, tea, and kombucha offerings. With the gym’s newly extended hours beginning Monday, October 5, Crux Central is currently open 7 am - 10 pm, Monday through Wednesday; 10 am - 10 pm, Thursday through Friday; and 10 am - 8 pm, Saturday through Sunday.

The Chicago-based hospitality group with perhaps the best name of them all, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises is bringing some meditation influenced flare South Congress’s rapidly growing Music Lane development. Aba, a Mediterranean restaurant mixing traditional inspiration with a lighter, “California-style” of cooking, officially opened its second location on Thursday, October 1. Aba’s kitchen is helmed by Austin-based executive chef Nick Erven, and features a menu of signature dishes like crispy short rib hummus, tamarind-braised short rib, and shawarma spiced skirt steam, plus a rich orange blossom creme brulee pie for dessert. Leading the eatery’s beverage program is lead mixologist Liz Pearce, whose cocktail creations include the Frozen Pina Express and a green harissa Bloody Mary. In addition to carry out options, guests can opt to dine indoors or outdoors on multi-level outdoor patio shaded by 100-year-old native heritage oak tree. Aba is currently open at 1011 S. Congress Ave. from 4-11 pm, Monday through Friday; 10 am – 11 pm on Saturday; and 10 am – 3 pm Sunday.

Other news and notes

From the team behind such Austin eateries as TenTen and Devil May Care comes a new take/out and delivery concept with a wholesome mission. The Well, which focuses on plant-forward nutritious snacks and meals, has bloomed in the 2nd Street District. The operation’s menu of colorful, scratch-made cuisine comes courtesy of Nova Hospitality culinary director Jon Oh and holistic health coach Liv Langdon and includes fruit-packed smoothies and bowls, gourmet toast, seasonal salads, and more. As part of Nova Hospitality’s dedication to promoting both wellness across the city, the new restaurant is working with organizations in Austin to provide tasty and nutritious meals to underserved communities on a weekly basis. The Well will be available for pick-up and delivery service and will offer patio seating beginning later this month. with expansion plans to follow. 

The city’s most lauded taqueros doing their part to promote political engagement, and now upscale east side eatery Suerte is joining with a new Tacos for Votes program. An offshoot of the restaurant’s popular Taquero Tuesday Takeover event, executive chef Fermín Nunez will collaborate on a specialty taco offering every week with other Austin chefs. Each week’s limited menu item will be available Tuesday evenings for dine-in and takeout, with half of the proceeds from each specialty taco sold to be donated to Jolt Initiative, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing civic participation of Tejanos. Suerte’s current lineup of guest chefs include Sour Duck’s Mark Buley on October 6, Berty Richter of TLV on October 13, Arianna Quant of Hai Hospitality on October 20, and Beto Robledo of Cuantos Tacos October 27. Suerte is currently open for dine-in and takeout 4-9:30 pm, Monday through Tuesday; 4-10pm, Thursday through Friday; 11 am-10 pm on Saturday; and 11 am – 9:30 pm on Sunday.