The Next Big Thing?
Swift's Attic prepares for launch by bringing on an all-star crew of chefs anddesigners
Swift’s Attic, though likely not to open until the end of the year—if construction goes as scheduled—has garnered a lot of buzz among foodie circles for the past few weeks. Don’t let the initial goth-meets-abstract restaurant images scare you way. (They sort of gave me a start.) While I can certainly appreciate their artistic value and see how one might want to use them to create a certain level of intrigue, I have to say, they don’t exactly evoke thoughts of great food and good libation. But personal opinion aside, based on the all-star lineup of local chefs, business partners, interior design firm, and a killer location, I’m willing to bet we’ll see great things from one of the newest additions to the Austin dining scene.
The brain child of CK Chin (General Manager of Paggi House) and up-and-coming chef Mat Clouser who earned his culinary chops in the kitchens of Uchi, Kenichi, and Jeffrey's to name a few, Swift’s Attic has the look of the next big hit in town. Especially with backing from Paggi House partners and the keen eye for unexpected-yet-restrained design from celebrated Austin interior designer Leslie Fossler. It doesn’t hurt that the location is in the former above-street level locale that once housed longtime sushi restaurant, Kyoto on 3rd and Congress.
The latest official addition to the team is Zack Northcutt, who’s distinguished list of kitchen forays includes Jean Luc’s with Shawn Cirkiel, Seven and Cibo with Will Packwood, at the helm of 2nd Street District’s favorite wine bar Mulberry, and more recently as the opening executive chef for Haddington's.
“It’s basically going to be a fun bunch of food geeks hanging out in the kitchen and cooking what we like to cook,” says Northcutt, who has been known to show off his own food geek prowess from the comfort of his own backyard for fellow chefs and friends on what he calls Meaty Monday Madness.
Though the menu is still being hammered out, the lion’s share of the food will play to the strengths of both chefs, with braised and stick-to-your-bones style dishes from Northcutt and lighter, Asian-inspired dishes with finesse from Clouser. For lunch, the restaurant will cater to a vibrant business lunch crowd with quick meal options while the evening menu will offer more of a small plate variety to allow for laidback noshing and sharing among friends.
But while the chefs and business partners are hammering out the last little details on menu and management decisions, including the addition of a well-known local pastry chef, (We're keeping quiet on the chef in question until details have been finalized), the biggest hurdle will simply be the finish out. The construction team has already worked to refinish old, original wooden floors and expose old brick walls hidden from years of drywall and paint. Though the space already has an existing kitchen, much of it will undergo a complete renovation to accommodate Clouser and Northcutt’s more progressive cooking styles.
I’ve got my fingers crossed that this little “attic” establishment named for the lively little bird known for its wide wingspan and aerial grace will open its doors before the winter holidays, but as with most renovation projects, these things rarely finish on schedule.
“It may take some time go get the whole thing complete, but I’m just looking forward to working with some great people and having a lot of fun in the kitchen again,” says Northcutt.
Believe me, we’re all looking forward to it too.