Exclusive: ‘Top Chef’ winner Kristen Kish will lead centerpiece restaurant at new Line ATX hotel

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Austin will welcome a new face to its culinary landscape when the Line ATX hotel opens in the coming months. “Top Chef” season 10 winner Kristen Kish, who also will be recognizable to viewers of the Travel Channel’s “36 Hours,” will serve as the executive chef for Arlo Grey, the centerpiece restaurant for the hotel that will take the place of the former Radisson at 111 E. Cesar Chavez.

Chef Kristen Kish. (Contributed)

The restaurant will take advantage of its urban-meets-natural location, perched just above Lady Bird Lake. While there are few details on the specific type of cuisine that will be served at Arlo Grey, a look at the Korean-born Kish’s career is instructive.

The Michigan-raised chef and graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago worked at the Michelin-starred Sensing in Boston before becoming an integral part in the demi empire of Barbara Lynch, the 2014 James Beard award winner for best restaurateur in the nation, eventually serving as chef de cuisine at Lynch’s Menton, a nationally lauded French restaurant celebrated for its technique, seasonality and sophistication.

Kish left Menton in 2014 and has spent the intervening years traveling the world, writing her first cookbook (“Kristen Kish Cooking”) and appearing on “36 Hours.”

The Line is owned and operated by the Sydell Group, which has a portfolio that includes the Nomad hotels in Los Angeles and New York and iterations of the Line in Los Angeles’ Koreatown and in Washington. In partnering with chefs at some of its other properties across the country, Sydell Group has often identified local talent to lead their kitchens (Roy Choi in Los Angeles, Spike Gjerde in Washington) but decided to take a different route in hiring Kish.

Sydell Group founder and CEO Andrew Zobler said that while he didn’t want to bring in a “celebrity chef” with properties in major cities across America, he was also leery of hiring a local Austin chef and possibly running the risk of having a redundant concept in the market. He wanted to respect Austin’s identity while also aiming for uniqueness and originality.

“When Kristen came along, a bunch of bells went off,” Zobler said. “She doesn’t have her own restaurant; she’s a great cook; she’s very hospitable; has a great story. Her personality to me vibes with Austin culture. We thought it would be more fun to bring in someone who is a little bit different and offer up something to Austin that it didn’t already have.”

While Kish will be new to Austin, she will be joined at the hotel by a chef familiar to discerning Austin diners. Chef Damien Brockway, formerly the executive chef of downtown tasting menu Counter 357, will helm P6, the rooftop lounge atop the hotel’s adjacent parking garage, which Zobler said will have a romantic vibe and sweeping views of the lake. Rounding out the culinary team will be Justin Ermini, previously executive chef at Las Alcobas in Mexico City, who will spearhead a ground-floor burger bar.

A rendering of rooftop lounge P6 at the Line ATX hotel.

The Line ATX is slated to open in late spring, and while no exact dates have been set for the opening of the various food and beverage concepts, Zobler says they will have a strong impact in helping define the hotel’s personality and appeal.

“Our general theory is that people want an experience of travel. They want to go some place that gives them a feeling of being in that place, and food is one way of doing it; design is another way of doing it; art is a third way of doing it. Who you engage with locally, the people you hire … there’s lots of different facets to it. Food and beverage is clearly an important part in creating a sense of destination.”

Downtown hot dog restaurant Frank closed over unpaid taxes

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The flagship location of specialty hot dog restaurant Frank (407 Colorado St.) has temporarily shuttered following a seizure Feb. 1 by the Texas Comptroller’s Office that was a result of unpaid taxes.

American-Statesman 2010

Frank owners say that much of the tax burden in question came from the failed San Antonio location, which closed two weeks ago. Owners are working on a resolution to the issue and hope to pay their bill and reopen in about a week. The closure has no effect on other Frank locations.


Frank restaurant coming to the Drag
Frank restaurant now running food and beverage operations at Scholz Garten
Haute doggin’ it: Four places to get hot dogs with a twist

Restaurants scheduled to open in Austin in 2018

The Austin restaurant scene has had a wobbly couple of years. But this one was better than last year, and I expect next year to be even better.

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Some of my favorite trailers (Valentina’s Tex-Mex and Mellizoz Tacos) are finally getting brick-and-mortar spaces to call their own; restaurant groups with a solid track record (Chameleon Group, Bryce Gilmore’s team and New Waterloo) are opening new concepts, as is Patrick Terry; stand-out chefs like Sam Hellman-Mass are opening their own spots (Suerte); and some local favorites (Rudy’s, Polvo’s and Home Slice) are adding to their portfolio. Below are about two dozen new restaurants where you will likely be doing quite a bit of dining in the new year. Time to look to the future.

Fish will be on display at Guild. (Credit: Madeline Burrows)

Central Austin


Principals: Head chef Sterling Ridings (Uchi); Owner Stuart Thomajan (CEO Chameleon Group, which owns Swift’s Attic and Wu Chow).

Concept: Seafood-driven restaurant that draws from broad and diverse influences.

Address: 3800 North Lamar, Ste. 170.

Estimated opening: Mid-January.

Home Slice Pizza

Principals: Founders Jen and Joseph Strickland and Terri Hannifin-Buis and new partners and Home Slice veterans Nano Whitman, Jeff Mettler, and Adam Cooper..

Concept: New York-style pizza, big sub sandwiches, chicken wings and a full bar for the second location of this modern classic.

Location: 501 E. 53rd St.

Estimated opening: February.

Our Taco House Co-Op

Principals: Shirley Trevino and Raquel Banda.

Concept: Two veterans of the old Tamale House bring the co-operative business model to their own Mexican food restaurant.

Address: 5206 Eilers Ave.

Estimated opening: Summer.

DINING GUIDE: Matthew Odam’s top restaurants in 2017

Rudy’s “Country Store” & Bar-B-Q

Principals: Ken Schiller and Brian Nolen, whose K&N Management is the licensed area developer for Rudy’s.

Concept: The barbecue veterans bring their downhome concept into the heart of the city for the first time.

Address: 3918 N. Lamar Blvd. (in the old EZ’s Bar & Grill location).

Estimated opening: Late spring.

Stacy Chen (right) will open a concept inspired by her grandmother’s ramen shop in Japan. (Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)


Yoshi Ramen

Principals: Chef-owner Stacy Chen, who also owns Veggie Heaven.

Concept: Menu will feature Japanese and Taiwanese cuisine, such as ramen, stir fry, bao, specialty items like ramen burgers, and self-serve frozen yogurt.

Address: 3320 Harmon Ave. (ground floor of the Marq Uptown apartment building).

Estimated opening: Mid-January.


North Italia

Principals: Fox Restaurant Concepts, Founder Sam Fox.

Concept: Modern Italian restaurant with location at Domain opens second Austin outpost.

Address: 500 W. Second St. Suite 123.

Estimated opening: February.

Peli Peli

Principal: Executive chef and South Africa native Paul Friedman.

Concept: South-African inspired restaurant from Houston with menu items like curry chicken, pan-seared kingklip and mixed South African grill plate with lamb, beef and sausage.

Location: 201 W. Third St.

Estimated opening: Spring.

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Principals: Owner Oscar “Polvo” Linares.

Concept: The South Austin Mexican staple that opened in 1997 will open its first downtown location, with plans to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Address: 360 Condominium tower (310 Nueces St.).

Estimated opening: January.

East Austin

Bird Bird Biscuit will serve biscuit sandwiches for breakfast and lunch in East Austin. (Contributed by Chelsea Francis)

Bird Bird Biscuit

Principals: Co-founder/owner Ryan McElroy and co-founder/chef Brian Batch. The former is the owner of Thunderbird Coffee and the latter the shop’s former general manager.

Concept: Fast-casual spot serving biscuit sandwiches for breakfast and lunch.

Address: 2701 Manor Road.

Estimated opening: Spring.

The Brewer’s Table brings wood-fired cuisine and beers to East Austin. (Contributed)

The Brewer’s Table

Principals: Owner Jake Maddux (Thirsty Planet Brewing), chef Zach Hunter (Uchi, Qui, Fixe) and head brewer Drew Durish (Live Oak Brewing).

Concept: Beer-centric restaurant serving wood-fermented brews and wood-fire-grilled cuisine.

Location: 4715 E. Fifth St. in the Artpost, across from Justine’s Brasserie.

Estimated opening: First quarter.

Il Brutto

Principals: New Waterloo (La Condesa, Sway, South Congress Hotel).

Concept: Neighborhood Italian Restaurant with two imported Neapolitan wood-burning brick ovens, wine cellar and a live oak-shaded patio serving lunch, brunch and dinner, with house-made pizza and pasta.

Address: The Arnold (1617 E. Sixth St.).

Estimated opening: First quarter.


Principals: Andy Means and Jessie Katz (former owners of now-closed Henri’s).

Concept: All-day menu featuring casual fare including burgers, sandwiches, salads, fresh made pastas, house pastries and a kids’ menu, along with full bar and an extensive selection of wine and beers on tap. Hank’s will also offer drive-through service.

Address: 5811 Berkman Drive.

Estimated opening: February.

Sour Duck

Principals: Chefs Bryce Gilmore and Mark Buley and partners Dylan Gilmore and Jason James (Odd Duck).

Concept: All-day bakery, café and bar from a team led by five-time James Beard Award finalist, Bryce Gilmore.

Address: 1814 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Estimated opening: First quarter.

Chef Sam Hellman-Mass is bringing his brand of artisanal Mexican food to East Austin.


Concept: Mexican restaurant centered on house-made masa dishes using heirloom Central Texas corn.

Principals: Chef-owner Sam Hellman-Mass, a founding partner of Barley Swine and Odd Duck; and executive chef Fermín Núñez, former chef de cuisine at Launderette.

Address: 1800 E. Sixth St. (former Dario’s space).

Estimated opening: First quarter.

North Austin

Bakery Lorraine

Concept: The French-inspired bakery with its flagship at the Pearl Brewery complex in San Antonio brings its classic and colorful macarons, croissants, sandwiches and more to Rock Rose.

Principals: Owned by Charlie Biedenharn and helmed by husband-and-wife pastry chefs Jeremy Mandrell and Anne Ng, who met while baking at Thomas Keller’s famous Bouchon Bakery in Napa Valley.

Address: 11600 Rock Rose. Suite 100.

Estimated opening: Fall.

Sway Rock Rose

Principals: New Waterloo (La Condesa, Sway, South Congress Hotel).

Concept: The sleek modern Thai restaurant takes its curries, noodles and salt-and-pepper shrimp north.

Address: ​11501 Rock Rose Ave.

Estimated opening: First quarter.

South Austin


Principals: Adam Winters and Jessica Galindo Winters (Melizzoz).

Concept: The owners of the popular South Austin truck will bring their tacos, tortas, queso and more to a brick-and-mortar location.

Address: 5207 Brodie Lane (in former Stuffed Cajun Meat Market space).

Estimated opening: Spring.

Aaron Franklin and Tyson Cole have partnered for Loro, a Japanese smokehouse in South Austin. Contributed by Logan Crable


Principals Tyson Cole (Hai Hospitality) and Aaron Franklin.

Concept: Asian smokehouse and bar with a menu featuring grilled and smoked meats, sides, craft beer and batch cocktails.

Address: 2115 South Lamar Blvd.

Estimated opening: First quarter.

The Switch

Principals: Shane Stiles.

Concept: A follow-up concept to Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew, this outpost will serve smoked meats and cajun classics, a collaboration led by Lance Kirkpatrick, Bill Dumas and Christopher McGhee of Stiles Switch and chef Todd Duplechan of Lenoir. Restaurant will also serve cocktails such as margaritas and local beer.

Location: Belterra Village development off US 290 at Nutty Brown Road.

Estimated opening: March.

Taco Ranch

Principals: Patrick Terry.

Concept: The owner of P. Terry’s brings his approach of quickness and quality to a Tex-Mex spot featuring homemade tortillas and salsas.

Address: 5033 U.S. 290 W. (MoPac Boulevard and U.S. 290).

Estimated opening: First quarter.

Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ

Concept: The ultimate hybridization of Tex-Mex and barbecue finally gets a building to call its own for some of the best tacos, tortas and barbecue in Central Texas.

Principals: Chef-owner Miguel Vidal.

Address: 11500 Manchaca Road (near FM 1626).

Estimated opening: First quarter.

West Austin

Sway Westlake Hills

Principals: New Waterloo (La Condesa, Sway, South Congress Hotel).

Concept: The sleek modern Thai restaurant takes its curries, noodles and salt-and-pepper shrimp west.

Address: ​3437 Bee Cave Road.

Estimated opening: First quarter.

West End

Better Half

Principals: Owners Matt and Grady Wright and Matthew Bolick (Brew & Brew) and executive chef Rich Riembolt (McMguire Moorman Hospitality).

Concept: All-day American cafe and bar will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner from a full kitchen and feature a coffee and beer program similar to that at Brew & Brew.

Address: 1203 W. Fifth St. (at Walsh Street).

Estimated opening: Spring.


Austin360 Dining Guide: The Top 25 restaurants in Austin | #26-#75


Rudy’s Bar-B-Q opening in old EZ’s location on North Lamar

The barbecue spot with the country vibe is getting an address in the heart of the city. Rudy’s “Country Store” & Bar-B-Q is slated to open in late spring at 3918 N. Lamar Blvd. in the space occupied for 22 years by EZ’s Brick Oven and Grill.


It will be the fifth Austin-area location, and first in the center of town, from local restaurateurs Ken Schiller and Brian Nolen, whose K&N Management is the licensed area developer for Rudy’s. Schiller and Nolen opened the first Austin-area Rudy’s in 1994. The restaurant will serve the same barbecue and breakfast taco menu as the other Austin-area locations, blend the familiar meat-market ambience with some nostalgic design elements from the building’s past and offer 81 parking spaces.

Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q. American-Statesman 1997

The new restaurant, which will also incorporate the adjacent building that is currently home to Banzai Sushi & Grill, will be designed in collaboration by architect Morris Hoover and builder John King, who intend to “create a distinctive space that fits the neighborhood,” according to the owners.

There were 14 finalists for the hot and highly visible property that has a storied history dating back to 2-J’s in 1954. The property owners, the Moton Crockett Jr. family, chose K&N Management,which also owns Mighty Fine Burgers, Fries & Shakes, due in part to Moton Crockett Jr.’s great-grandson’s love for both Mighty Fine and Rudy’s, according to a news release.

“We are pleased to be working with the Crockett family, who embodies our commitment to supporting the local community,” Schiller said. “We are proud and honored to be able to bring Rudy’s to Central Austin.”

The original Rudy’s opened in Leon Springs in 1989, and there are now 32 locations in Texas, two each in Oklahoma, Colorado and Arizona, and three in New Mexico.

EZ’s closed in January 2016 following a fire that did an estimated $400,000 in damage.