The men, who will be joined by special guests like Bill Kerlin of Kerlin BBQ, John Brotherton of Black Iron Eats and some other unannounced barbecue stars from Central Texas, will hand out the smoked meat, along with St. Arnold’s Beer and Tito’s Vodka. Mueller will also be mic’d up for some color(ful) commentary and a taping of the Tales from the Pits podcast. John Mueller’s Black Box BBQ is located at 201 E. 9th St. in downtown Georgetown.
With the new year has come a spate of new restaurants in Austin. Dozens have debuted in the first quarter, offering everything from tacos to Italian. Here are 15 of the most notable openings so far.
Le Bleu. 9070 Research Blvd. #303. 512-770-1100, lebleuatx.com. Chef Tebi Nguyen already made the best bánh mì in Austin at his Saigon Le Vendeur trailer; now he has a brick-and-mortar location to expand his menu to include more Vietnamese sandwiches, noodle bowls, chicken wings and more.
Better Half. 406 Walsh St. 512-645-0786, betterhalfbar.com. The owners of the Brew & Brew have created an all-day restaurant that pays homage to some of their American favorites like the ham biscuit, hush puppies and a cheeseburger.
Brewer’s Table. 4715 E. Fifth St. 512-520-8199, thebrewerstable.com. The restaurant founded by longtime beer veteran Jake Maddux focuses equally on food and craft brewing, exploring the duo’s essential similarities and the ways in which wood influences both.
Il Brutto. 1601 E. Sixth St. 512-580-8779, ilbruttoaustin.com. The East Austin Italian restaurant from the New Waterloo group (Sway, La Condesa, South Congress Hotel) serves a menu that includes house-made pastas (ravioli, pappardelle, lasagna), pizzas baked in a Neapolitan wood-burning oven and entrees such as squid ink tagliolini with mussels and clams, beef tenderloin slow-cooked in Nebbiolo, and baby octopus with olives and capers
Cruzteca. 5207 Brodie Lane #125. 512-291-7726, cruzteca.com. The owners of popular Melizzo’s Tacos truck opened this restaurant in Sunset Valley that serves an assortment of tortas (fried avocado, pulled pork and blackened tilapia among them) as well as the tacos from the truck’s menu, including the Slowrider (braised beef), Bowman (roasted chicken) and Old School (one of the best crispy beef tacos in town).
Darna Mediterranean Cuisine. 408 W. 11th St. Unit 100. 512-220-9705, darnatx.com. Hummus, lamb and eggplant are a few of the staples at this Capitol-area Mediterranean restaurant that specializes in the flavors of Morocco.
Guild. 3800 N. Lamar Blvd. #170. 512-975-2626, guildaustin.com. The seafood-centric restaurant from the Chameleon Group (Wu Chow, Swift’s Attic) is helmed by former Uchiko executive chef Sterling Ridings.
Hank’s. 5811 Berkman Drive #100. 512-609-8077, hanksaustin.com. An evolution of the owners’ former wine bar, Henri’s, the casual Hank’s serves a selection of burgers, sandwiches (turkey and gruyere, prosciutto and brie) and salads (charred kale, trout and avocado), along with house-made pastas and entrees like fried chicken and wood-grilled salmon.
Hudson’s Hill Country. 3509 RM 620 N. 512-266-5644, hudsonshillcountry.com. This reboot of the Central Texas icon Hudson’s on the Bend serves a menu that includes Hudson’s wild and exotic game classics, original Hill Country-inspired dishes and vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Intero. 2612 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-599-4052, interorestaurant.com. This Italian restaurant features Texas ingredients, housemade pastas and handcrafted chocolates. Quite the trio.
Loro. 2115 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-916-4858, loroaustin.com. Uchi founding chef-owner Tyson Cole enters the world of Japanese smokehouse cuisine with an assist from partner Aaron Franklin.
Mandala Kitchen & Bar. 1100 S. Lamar Blvd. #1125. 512-386-1038, mandalakitchenandbar.com. This restaurant located in the mixed-use development that is home to the Alamo Drafthouse serves a menu that bridges Vietnam and Thailand, with dishes like Viet-Cajun crawfish and a variety of curries.
Polvo’s. 310 Nueces St. polvosaustin.com. The downtown location of this South Austin favorite serves dinner nightly, with a menu that includes a roster of enchiladas, fajitas and seafood dishes for which the original Polvos on South First Street is known
Suerte. 1800 E. Sixth St. 512-953-0092, suerteatx.com. The hip Mexican restaurant from Odd Duck co-founder chef Sam Hellman-Mass sources heirloom Central Texas corn, which it nixtamalizes in-house for a menu that includes tlacoyos, tacos and tostadas.
Yoshi Ramen. 3320 Harmon Ave. 512-243-6161, yoshiramenaustin.com. Veggie Heaven owner Stacy Chen’s second concept was inspired by her grandmother’s ramen shop in Osaka and serves vegetarian, vegan and meat-based ramens.
Apisaksiri will initially operate the restaurant under the name Krua, though he says he will eventually change the name. The restaurant will be remain an upmarket spot with a modern take on Thai cuisine, offering dishes with a wider range of proteins than Sap’s, as well as more seafood dishes. The revamped Krua will serve lunch and dinner daily. Krua closed recently after fewer than six months in business.
You can dine out and benefit a great cause today in Austin. When you eat at select Austin restaurants today during the Dining Out for Life event, a portion of the proceeds will go directly toward AIDS Services of Austin.
More than three dozen Austin establishments are participating, with 15-50 percent of the restaurant’s proceeds (depending on the restaurant) going to benefit the non-profit dedicated to enhancing the health and well-being of the community and people affected by HIV and AIDS. For more information, visit asaustin.org.
The list of restaurants and shops participating today:
The makers of the best bánh mì in the city now have more space to ply their trade. Chef Tebi Nguyen has been making the Vietnamese sandwiches out of his East Austin trailer Saigon Le Vendeur for several years and now has a brick-and-mortar restaurant space at 9070 Research Blvd. (at the southwest corner of Burnet Road).
The restaurant is called Le Bleu and it serves an extended menu of bánh mì, including cured ribeye, lamb belly and garlic shrimp, in addition to those served at the trailer. The counter-service Vietnamese restaurant also served a variety of vermicelli noodle bowls with proteins and starters like chicken wings and mango and papaya salad.
Le Bleu is celebrating its grand opening Monday with complimentary beer and one appetizer per guest.
Le Bleu is open Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saigon Le Vendeur will continue normal operating hours.
Chef Iliana de la Vega’s El Naranjo on Rainey Street has been one of the best options for a Mexican dinner in Austin for years. It’s now one of the best choices for lunch.
The restaurant from the chef who previously ran a restaurant of the same name in Oaxaca serves lunch Tuesday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The current menu (which can be seen here) includes empanadas with huitlacoche, a trio of tortas, several tlayudas and entrees like duck enchiladas with mole negro.