More fish in the SoLa sea

New South Austin seafood restaurant hopes to reverse Lamar Union curse

New South Austin seafood restaurant hopes to reverse Lamar Union curse

TLC Lamar Union ATX oysters
Sustainable local seafood is the star on TLC's menu. Photo courtesy of TLC

After a series of high-profile closures that had restaurant industry prognosticators wondering if the development was cursed, Lamar Union is once again filling up its restaurant space. First, cult Cedar Park sushi joint Soto took over the space vacated by chef Emmett Fox’s Cantine. Now, a new seafood restaurant is open across from the Alamo Drafthouse and Vox Table.

TLC, the new concept from Sean Fric (J. Black’s); Geoff Freeman (formerly of Eddie V.’s, Benji’s, and Bob’s Steak & Chop); and chef Jeff Parks (Gumbo’s), lives up to its name with an approachable menu of comfort classics like chicken salad and fried green tomato BLT sandwiches, Texas-style chili, and chicken-fried steak.

There is also a particular focus on local and sustainable seafood, with a cold bar, various oyster dishes, and build-your-own boils that can be customized with everything from lobster to Gulf shrimp and a variety of flavor profiles and sauces.

The casual interior, with both indoor and outdoor space, features community tables, a jukebox full of Texas music, TVs, and an arcade filled with vintage games. The atmosphere was modeled after Texas beer halls and fittingly has 30 rotating beers on tap. There’s also an affordably priced full cocktail menu that includes classics like the French 75 and Sazerac, along with contemporary libations like the Mezcal Pera (Motelobos mezcal, traditional French pear liqueur Mathilde Poire, cinnamon, lemon) and the Sage Hurricane (sage infused Don Q and Sugar Island coconut rums, passion fruit lemon). Deep Eddy orange and Patron tequila are both available on tap. (The latter can be made into an oyster shooter.)

As for what those initials stand for, don’t automatically assume “tender loving care.” “That’s open for interpretation,” says Fric. “When our patrons think of TLC, we want them to think of good times.”

The good times are officially set to begin on December 22, but TLC is now open to the public during its soft opening phase. As part of the soft opening, 20 percent of proceeds from service will go toward the Freddie Steinmark Fund, an endowment to help cover school costs for student-athletes.