South by Southwestern

Iconic Southwestern restaurant fires up new location in hot Austin suburb

Iconic Southwestern restaurant fires up location in hot Austin suburb

Z'Tejas Grill sign
Z'Tejas is spicing up the 'burbs with a new location planned for Kyle. Z'Tejas

An iconic Austin restaurant known for its Southwestern fare and intoxicating menu of margaritas is continuing its migration from the heart of the city to the fast-growing Austin suburbs.

Z’Tejas, the Tex-Mex-grill-meets-Southwestern-food eatery that first opened in Austin in 1989 — long before the city was considered a culinary mecca or triumphant taco town — will open a new location in Kyle, the swelling suburb just south of the Capital City.

According to a report from the Austin Business Journal, the move was spurred on by an incentives program the city created to attract more casual dining establishments with table service (as opposed to eateries of the fast-casual variety). That program will give Z’Tejas three years of sales and property-tax rebates.

Set to open in 2022 at the Dry River District, Kyle’s 65-acre mixed-use development off I-35 near Kyle Crossing, Z’Tejas will be the first restaurant to take advantage of the incentive program, the ABJ reports, noting that Z’Tejas co-owner Randy Cohen says the incentives were a “big factor” in the brand’s plans to move into Kyle.

The move to the ’burbs is also seemingly in line with Z’Tejas’ recent approach to growth and downgrades. The company, which also boasts locations in Arizona, recently announced it would open a new 5,280-square-foot location in Avery Ranch in far Northwest Austin — essentially replacing its previous Avery Ranch restaurant, which the brand’s former owner closed in 2017.

And with the shutter earlier this year of its Arboretum restaurant (not long after the location sunk resources into creating its Z’ecret Garden, a 1,100-square-foot outdoor dining area and private-event space), the longtime West Sixth Street eatery remains the only Z’Tejas restaurant in Austin proper. 

With the growth of Kyle, it’s no surprise well-known Austin brands are moving southward to the ’burb, along with national entities and a few newcomers. In recent months, P. Terry’s Burger Stand, Costco, Dutch Bros Coffee, and Hawaiian Bros. have opened or announced plans to move into the Kyle area, where, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly doubled between 2010 and 2019.