The South Congress Hotel welcomes its second restaurant this week, when Central Standard opens Thursday at the modern hotel (1603 S. Congress Ave.). The restaurant, described as an American bar and grill, is helmed by executive chef Michael Paley, formerly of formerly of Proof on Main and Garage Bar in Louisville. The restaurant, open for dinner Sunday-Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Thursday-Saturday until 11 p.m., will have a menu that includes raw offerings, seafood towers, grilled tomahawk steak, prime rib roast and grilled lamb kebab. The dessert menu is overseen by 2015 James Beard semi-finalist executive pastry chef Amanda Rockman, formerly of Nico Osteria in Chicago. Reservations can be made online or by calling 512-942-0823. (centralstandardaustin.com)
Leaf is putting the finishing touches on its new, expanded space at 115 W. Sixth St. and will open January 4, according to owner Jordan Feiner.
The wildly popular salad-based restaurant will offer its original Big 12 salads and create-your-own salds, which Feiner calls Leaf’s core and passion, but, with a full kitchen, it will also expand to offer grab-and-go salads, smaller side salads (think quinoa and other non-lettuce-based salads), sandwiches and eventually some new entrees that will include a rotating daily blue plate special.
Leaf will also add dinner service. Feiner says they will open at 11 a.m. and test the night hours, staying open until maybe 9 p.m. to start and then scaling back as crowds dictate. The restaurant will still offer delivery and take call-in orders, which will allow for bypassing the line.
With all of the Italian restaurants opening in Austin, you’d think the cuisine had a stranglehold on the town’s dining scene. So it’s refreshing to hear that a French brasserie and bakery will be joining the fray. New Waterloo, the team behind Sway, La Condessa and the South Congress Hotel, will open Chez Nada late next year on the ground level of the Northshore high-rise building at 110 San Antonio St. on the edge of the 2nd Street District.
The 7,000 square-foot Chez Nada will feature a French brasserie, raw bar, bakery, full bar, lounge and outdoor patio. The restaurant will serve regional French classics and Franco-American favorites, according to a release.
“Chez Nada is a restaurant that we’ve been looking forward to opening for a very long time,” says New Waterloo partner Jesse Herman. “We always thought that a big, bustling French brasserie would be something really exciting for downtown Austin.”
Colorado-based salad-centric restaurant Mad Greens will open in January at the Domain. It will be the first Texas location for the company that operates 17 restaurants in Colorado and Arizona. The fast-casual concept sources locally, and the Mad Greens team will visit Austin soon to scout local farms and purveyors. Mad Greens, which will be located at 11401 Esperanza Crossing, Suite 600, also serves fresh juices, paninis, wraps and soups.
“We are thrilled the Austin community will be the first in Texas to experience what MAD Greens and our mission to help guests ‘eat better’ is all about,” Mad Greens co-founder Marley Hodgson said. “We look forward to serving great food sourced from a variety of local farmers. Most importantly, we look forward to showing our Texas guests how eating better can be fast, fresh and delicious with some fun thrown in.” (madgreens.com)
Popular South Austin Thai restaurant Sway will open a location at 3437 Bee Caves Rd. in the old Thai Kitchen space in West Lake Hills. The restaurant is expected to open in the middle of next year. The location is part of an expansion of the brand that also includes a location at Rock Rose in the Domain, also expected to open in the middle of next year.
“The first three years at Sway have exceeded our expectations,” New Waterloo partner and Sway co-founder Jesse Herman said. “We’re very excited for Sway to expand into a couple of our favorite parts of Austin.”
It looks like coffee giant Starbucks will be taking over the closed Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen at 570 W. Oltorf St. at the corner of South First Street. The City of Austin’s permit department has an active permit open for Starbucks Coffee signage for the space that has been the subject of much speculation and rumor (including a Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon). Given the existing structure, one assumes the location will include a drive-thru. The permit application for the sign expires February 1, 2016.
El Chilito taco stand will open at 6425 Burnet Rd. in an old Church’s Chicken location on November 1. It will be the third El Chilito location, with another planned for Manchaca Road near Ben White Boulevard early next year. The Burnet Road location will serve the same menu as the two East Austin restaurants located on Manor Road and East Seventh Street (also a former Church’s).