What's Cooking

All-star Austin team cooks up new restaurant in unlikely downtown setting

All-star team cooks up new restaurant in unlikely downtown setting

Austin Central Library downtown rendering
Elm Restaurant Group is opening a cookbook-themed restaurant at the new Central Library. Rendering courtesy of Austin Public Library

The literary and culinary worlds combine at a new destination in downtown Austin. The City of Austin has approved a deal between Elm Restaurant Group and Austin Public Libraries to cook up a sweet new dining concept called Cookbook, which will open at the in-progress Central Library next year.

"We are so excited to be a part of the collective that is bringing such a forward-thinking public institution to Austin," says Bob Gillett, founding partner of Elm, in a press release. "The Central Library is going to be such an amazing resource for Austinites and a landmark cultural destination for locals and tourists alike. The architecture of the building on the shores of Lady Bird Lake is fantastic, and the programming and amenities planned for the site are next level."

The counter service cafe will take inspiration from the library's cookbook collection. Elm's star team, including chef Andrew Curren, baker David Norman, and sommelier Craig Collins, will contribute to the project. 

"The menu will read like a collage of printed recipes, including titles, ingredients, and directions," states the release. Specials will be based off recipes from local chefs and visiting authors. Guests can also look forward to a bar serving coffee, tea, cocktails, beer, and wine. 

The Central Library is on track to open in May 2017. The new hub will be larger and more modern than the library system's current headquarters, Faulk Central Library. It will include a gallery space, public atrium, book store, and new art installations.

Elm currently operates 24 Diner, Easy Tiger, Italic, and Irene's. The group is also working on a second location of Easy Tiger and a project with Fareground marketplace.