Downtown Austin's Seaholm District welcomes dazzling new restaurant
A new restaurant is coming to Austin's historic Seaholm Power Plant. Opening in January 2023, Ember Kitchen & Subterra Agave Bar will be a multi-level concept combining a restaurant and speakeasy at 800 W. Cesar Chavez, Ste. PP110.
According to a release, the restaurant's executive chef will be María Mercedes Grubb, a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the first Puerto Rican woman to earn a James Beard nomination in 2019. Grubb attended the French Culinary Institute in New York; honed her craft in the Michelin-starred kitchen of The Modern; and helped open Bar Basque and Danny Meyer’s Italian eatery, Maialino. Most recently, she returned to Puerto Rico to open and run Gallo Negro, where her work as executive chef earned her a Food & Wine mention as one of the leading chefs on the island.
Ember Kitchen will be on the concept's main floor, offering a live-fire experience with Latin flare — courtesy of the Spanish Josper oven and grill, which burns a signature blend of charcoal and wood. Downstairs, Subterra Agave Bar will have a speakeasy aesthetic and showcase a curated section of agave cocktails and Latin spirits from mixologist San Andres.
The dual concept's operating partner is an Austin-based startup, inKind, which currently partners with over 600 restaurants across the U.S. — including 13 in Austin. Founded by fellow restaurant operators, the group's mission is to support restaurants through the ever-increasing hurdles facing the hospitality industry. InKind provides "non-dilutive financing" by purchasing credits from partner restaurants, selling said credits to guests, and rewarding them with a spending bonus for pre-purchasing ahead of their next dining experience through the inKind app.
According to the release, Ember Kitchen & Subterra Agave Bar is a unique opportunity for inKind to have operational stake in its own restaurant, testing new partnership integrations, marketing initiatives, and exclusive guest experiences. The company plans to use Ember as a model to demonstrate its operational services for future restaurant partners.
“We started inKind with the goal of creating a new restaurant financing system that actually helps restaurants grow and thrive,” inKind founder and CEO Johann Moonesinghe shared in the release. “Now we’re taking everything we’ve learned and using it to create this unique space that combines technical innovation with an outstanding hospitality experience.”
Ember Kitchen & Subterra Agave Bar are both slated to open in January, while a third, as-yet-unnamed rooftop bar is due to open later in 2023. Ember Kitchen will be open 5 pm to 11 pm, and Subterra will be open until 2 am.