Where There's Smoke
Hometown heroes behind Asian smokehouse Loro to open 2nd Austin location
Put down that beautiful smoked burger, and listen up: One of Austin's most unique barbecue joints is going north.
Loro, the "Asian Smokehouse and Bar" by the famed chefs responsible for Franklin Barbecue and Uchi, is opening its second Austin location — this time at Domain Northside at the end of 2024 — the owners announced November 1.
This no-reservations hotspot currently only on South Lamar Boulevard (and two locations each in Dallas and Houston) is known for a laid-back atmosphere, and is always busy. Its unique menu combines the talents of Pitmaster Aaron Franklin and Chef Tyson Cole, who have both won James Beard awards and made huge names for themselves in smoked meats and upscale Japanese cuisine, respectively.
Even though Austin is a little later to get a second location, this is where the whole thing started in 2018. The Domain Northside location will put the restaurant in a very different context than the original, in an almost remote portion of downtown, surrounded by trees and some longtime local businesses.
Still, it does sound spacious, covering nearly 5,000 square feet and seating 130 guests inside, 72 outside, and 60 at the bar and patio. Loro and Uchi's parent group, Hai Hospitality, tasked its in-house design team to work with ID Studio 4 on creating the space — a departure from Loro's previous affiliation with Michael Hsu Office of Architecture. ID Studio 4 appears to work on spaces that are more suited for shopping centers, while Michael Hsu's work tends to be more sprawling. Even without an explanation from Loro, the switch makes sense given both portfolios.
The announcement does not say that the menu will be exactly the same at both locations.
“Hai Hospitality is thrilled to announce the second Austin location of Loro,” said CEO of Hai Hospitality Tony Montero in a press release. “With proximity to Austin’s most renowned attractions including the FC stadium and luxury retailers, we are happy to bring Loro’s communal ambiance to the Domain Northside.”
Frequent patrons on South Lamar are enamored with the Loro cheeseburger, which combines red onion-brisket jam, muenster cheese, lettuce, yuzu 1000 island dressing; the crispy chicken sandwich, which indelicately shoves a huge slab of smoked and fried chicken on a bun with citrus-cabbage slaw, pickles, hot honey, smoked hot sauce; and lighter-than-usual sides for a barbecue restaurant, like sesame noodles or a cole slaw with cashew-ginger vinaigrette.
Plus, no visit is complete without a the bar's pride and joy: an array of frozen slushies in unique flavors like frozen sangria, mango sake, and a no-alcohol piña horchata.
Domain Northside is surely pumping its figurative fist in the air, as this announcement comes only one day after the outdoor shopping center claimed three widely regarded watch stores to begin opening at the end of 2023.
“Loro is a tried-and-true Texas concept, combining the culinary genius of Aaron Franklin and Tyson Cole,” said Ward Kampf, president of Domain Northside's owner and operator, Northwood Retail. “People come from all over to patronize Austin staples Franklin Barbeque and Uchi. Loro is a highly desirable addition to Domain Northside’s dining lineup, and its polished, casual nature is ideal for our shoppers, office workers, residents, and the North Austin community.”
Loro Domain will be located at 11601 Domain Dr. #200. The release did not include operating hours. More information about Loro and its other locations is available at loroeats.com.