Spanish tapas restaurant El Chipirón opens this weekend on South Lamar

If you’ve wondered for months and months what was happening at the northeast block of Manchaca Road and Lamar Boulevard, wonder no more. Spanish chef Pablo Gomez will open his tapas and pinchos restaurant, El Chipirón, this weekend at 2717 S. Lamar Blvd. The first week will serve as a soft opening with limited hours, with the grand opening taking place July 1.

The tapas and pinchos menus will include bites like fried calamari,  shrimp, and pork meatballs. In addition to the small plates, El Chipirón will serve fixed dinner  menus with dishes like Gulf shrimp cooked over the griddle with a seaweed and sea water air; creamy rice made with squid in its own ink, sautéed veggies and ali-oli sauce foam; and Cordoba-style oxtail.

“When you travel outside of Spain, you have a hard time finding proper Spanish restaurants,” Gomez said. “I feel responsible for spreading knowledge about Spanish culture and doing things the right way.”

The bar features 20 to 30 Spanish wines, several Spanish beers, and a few local labels, as well as house specialties like red vermouth to accompany the pinchos and Spanish gin and tonics

El Chipirón is currently only open for dinner and weekend brunch. Reservations can be made online. 

 

Japanese restaurant Lucky Robot opens Mexican-inspired Revolución on UT campus

(Ralph Barrera AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

The team behind Lucky Robot has opened a new tortas and tacos spot at the Texas Union on the campus of the University of Texas, according to Eater AustinRevolución joins Chick-fil-A,  Smokehouse BBQ and others in the building on campus. There doesn’t appear to be any online presence or menu for Revolución, but we’ve reached out to reps for comment.

 

 

Opal Divine’s returns to South Austin

Belgian Beer Night

A beloved name in the Austin hospitality world is returning to South Austin. Opal Divine’s Austin Grill is now open at 2200 S. I-35 (at Oltorf St.), in the Best Western Plus hotel. The space once housed the Blue Moon Bar & Grill. The restaurant opens at 11 a.m. daily, closing at 10 .m. Sunday-Thursday and at 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Opal Divine’s Austin Grill serves a menu of familiar American bar food and also features an extensive gluten-free menu.

Opal Divine’s at Penn Field closed on South Congress Avenue at the end of last year following 11 years in business, saying at the time that “Austin’s ‘Keep Austin Weird’ fascination is fading into a search for the latest and greatest new restaurant/bar/concept.”

The original Opal’s on Sixth Street closed in 2013 to make way for the outlandish Steampunk Saloon. Opal Divine’s at the Marina in North Austin (12709 N. Mopac) is also still in business.

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Juliet on Barton Springs Road reopens today with more casual approach

Cheese ravioli at the new-look Juliet. (Credit: Justin Rouhier)

Well, that didn’t take long. Just a couple of weeks after closing for renovations, Juliet reopens today at 3 p.m. with a new look and a new name. Juliet Italian Kitchen debuts today with familiar Italian classics like spaghetti Bolognese, cacio e pepe, grilled octopus and more. The move was made to create a more approachable and mainstream restaurant, and to that end, Juliet Italian Kitchen will be serving a “prix fixe power lunch” for $15.95 on weekdays that includes antipasti and an entrée for $15.95 per person. The new bar offers drinks like an Aperol Spritz and New York Sour, and brunch returns, as well. 

In addition to the menu, entertainment offerings will now include a jazz series in collaboration with KUTX every other Wednesday at 7 p.m. from July through October, beginning July 5, with The Cameron Riggs Quartet and continue the Jeff Lofton Quartet on July 19. The new space, which includes revamped bar and waiting area, a new mural, more splashes of color and new artworks that will revealed throughout the coming months.

Juliet Italian Kitchen is open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. The restaurant’s website remains the same, juliet-austin.com.

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Historic Stagecoach Inn re-opens in Salado under new ownership

A Texas classic has a new look. The Stagecoach Inn in Salado, Texas reopened yesterday following a year-long renovation from developers Clark Lyda, Austin Pfiester and David Hays and Austin-based La Corsha Hospitality Group (Mattie’s at Green Pastures, Second Bar + Kitchen). Executive chef Justin Holler heads the kitchen, which promises to “stay true to its roots while offering a fresh take on the restaurant’s beloved classics.”

Tomahawk pork chop at the Stagecoach Inn in Salado. (Credit: Cody Graham)

The classic prix fixe menu is available, and includes items like 1861 Hushpuppies with malted aioli and chicken fried steak with garlic mashed potatoes and green beans; and an a la carte menu features offerings like deep-fried bacon with onion jam and Texas toast and a Tomahawk pork chop with black-eyed peas.

The property originally opened as the Shady Villa Hotel in 1861, and reportedly has hosted an array of notables that includes Sam Houston, Robert E. Lee, George Custer and Jesse James. Dion and Ruth Van Bibber converted the establishment to the Stagecoach Inn in 1943. The new owners bought the property in 2015 and brought in Austin-based architects Clayton + Little to reimagine the space. Currently, only the new restaurant is operational, but the Stagecoach plans to have its 75 hotel rooms and extra event space ready by next year.

“Stagecoach Inn has been a sacred retreat for locals and travelers and we’re thrilled to welcome everyone to the renewed and restored restaurant,” said co-developer Clark Lyda. “This project has been such a gratifying experience and we’re anxious for guests to see how our team has preserved the property’s history while improving its atmosphere of gracious hospitality.”

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One of Chicago’s most popular food trucks opening in Austin

When you think lobster rolls, your mind might not immediately jump to Chicago, but the Happy Lobster Truck has proven one of the Windy City’s most popular food trucks, winning the Reader’s Choice award from the Chicago Tribune earlier this year.

Credit: Facebook.com/happylobstertruck

The operators have brought the truck to Austin for the past two SouthBites during South by Southwest, and enjoyed the experience so much that they are bringing one of their trucks to town permanently.

The Happy Lobster plans to be rolling around town in the first week of July. The truck will serve its existing menu of lobster rolls, lobster grilled cheese, et al and also introduce new Austin-specific items like Old Bay cheese fries and a fried fish taco, because duh. The Austin truck will be run by one of our the Happy Lobster’s founders, Neal Bassett.

Why Austin?

“When we were looking to expand, we were looking for a few factors: a place where the weather permitted us to vend year round and a place that was food truck friendly (essentially the opposite of Chicago),” co-founder Alex Robinson said in an email. “In our trips to Austin the past few years we became comfortable with the city and developed a little bit of a following, so it seemed like the natural choice.”

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Frank restaurant coming to The Drag

Frank’s sausages are made at Hudson’s Meats in Austin using a proprietary recipe from the restaurant.

Following the departure of two concepts from celebrity chefs Marc Vetri (Pizzeria Vetri) and Michael Symon (Symon’s Burger Spot), locally-owned Frank (Hot Dogs, Cold Beer) will be moving in Urban Outfitters’ 24Twenty space on The Drag.

Frank will take over the Burger Spot space and introduce a fast-casual version of the gourmet hot dog restaurant that opened on Colorado Street in the Warehouse District in 2009.

Owners said the opening could happen as soon as next month and definitely before the start of the fall semester at the University of Texas.

The menu will include some of Frank’s most popular dishes from downtown (I bet the Jackalope and Pig Vicious make it up town), a roster of specialty items only available at the campus location, game-day specials and an assortment of Texas beer and wine.

“The success of the Frank brand has been due in no small part to our high end – low brow concept. We intend to offer price approachable and fast options for every guest on the Drag,” co-owner Daniel  Northcutt said.

In addition to their new campus location, the Frank owners also recently took over operations at the historic Scholz Garten.