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I just called Ruggles to have them fax me a menu, and there's a message saying they're closed for "remodeling." They will be open again on April 2 under the name Austin Cheesecake Factory.

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  1. Austin Cheesecake Kitchen. Don't think it's affiliated with the Cheesecake Factory. Directional signage within the shopping center has been up for several weeks. Anyone know anything about what they will serve? And by the way, that place is quickly becoming a snake bit location.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ftf

      Snake bit is right. It's funny that while Westlake has a serious need for several "can't miss" things (an sports bar, a micro-brewpub, and decent ethnic food options), very little ever materializes. When it does, it's often generic American stuff like Ruggles, RedBud, or EZ's that is met with a shrug. Meanwhile, the ultra-bland Thai Kitchen and Tokyo Sushi seem to survive just fine because there's no competition.

      1. re: ftf

        Snakebit? Actually, restaurants in that center have done fairly well in terms of longevity. Canyon Cafe came and went and then Tia's Tex-Mex followed by Ruggles were in the building where Austin's Cheesecake Kitchen is now, but Macaroni Grill, La Madeleine, Thai Spice, Quizno's, Hangtown Grill, and La Salsa have been going a long time. I don't think that the parking lot of a strip center in Westlake anchored by an Albertson's and next to a Chick-Fil-A is the place for a fine dining (or semi-fine dining, if that's what Ruggle's was) establishment. That's a spot for a family restaurant. My expectation is that people who live in that area are happy to go downtown for higher-end dining, but people who live outside of Westlake are unlikely to venture out there for the same. Tres Amigos a little ways down 360 packs them in, and I find that place simply atrocious.

      2. Since there has never been a mention of Ruggles in Austin on chowhound (that I can find), I wonder if any 'hounds can tell us whether to hope that some of the old menu items are on the new menu or to rejoice that (at least temporarily) nobody will try the place.

        9 Replies
        1. re: Knoblauch

          I went a couple of times and thought it was good, but not great. Their black bean soup was pretty good, and they serve each entree with a whole slew of tasty sides. A bit too expensive for what they are, though.

          1. re: Knoblauch

            Wow, sorry to hear that they came and left before I tried them. I was a big fan of the one in Houston, where they served small portions of maybe 8-10 vegetables (all nicely prepared) with your entree. It certainly wasn't five star, but I enjoyed it when I visited Houston and the concept was unique.

            1. re: Knoblauch

              I can only report - second-hand - that it had a decent but expensive cheeseburger (over $10). The same source also told me that it was not affiliated with the Houston Ruggles.

              1. re: TAF

                know someone who worked there at opening - definitely affiliated with the houston ruggles.

                i never ate at any of them, except for the smaller location at minute maid field, but what i generally heard was more about the humongous portions than the quality of anything.

                cheesecake kitchen doesn't sound too exciting, though.

                1. re: renz

                  The new Austin Cheesecake Kitchen is awesome!! Great and bigger menu, more affordable, best cheesecake you can find. It's a shame it is located in the Albertson's center but it is worth going to! It is also great for family dinners, good selections for kids and adults. You will have to try it to believe it!!

                  1. re: goldfinger

                    Just so I can get my bearings on your "over the top" description can you please tell me a couple other places in Austin that are awesome and I need to try to believe.Also,perhaps a description of your favorite dishes at Cheesecake Kitchen.Thanks goldfinger.

                    1. re: scrumptiouschef

                      I agree. If a restaurant is truly totally awesome for family dinners with good selections, I'll certainly go. I just need some more details. Is their cheescake good?

                    2. re: goldfinger

                      Okay, we finally went and were absolutely underwhelmed. Menu is long and eclectic, which made me suspicious that it couldn't do everything well, and since the menu was all over the place, it was hard to guess what they wer emost likely to do well. Menu itself is very sparse - generally just has "name of item and price" - we had to ask what, if any, sides came with various entrees. Generally one pre-set side is assigned per entree, but this isn't noted on the menu, so your chicken enchiladas would come with jicama slaw, but you wouldn't know unless you asked. Sweet and sour chicken came with fried rice. Chicken-fried chicken and steak were served on a couple of mounds of mashed potatoes (yellow). King ranch chicken came with nothing.

                      I went low-end and got chicken-fried steak, and it was pretty good. I decided to get a house salad as well, which was also good, with big chunks of blue-cheese in some type of oily vianigrette (which started to bother me after a while - so maybe I should say that I liked it at first). My daughter's medium-well cheeseburger came with an overcharred bun.

                      Wait staff were all in black and white, so it was sort of upscaleish, but there were rolls of brown paper on the tables, so that was weird.

                      They had a couple dozen choices of cheesecake, but that was deceiving, as they really only had a few different ones on which they added toppings. The ones that we weren't objectionable as a dessert, but they were more mousse-like in consistency than a cheesecake should be.

                      Bill for 6 was around $90 (only a couple of us had drinks other than water).

                      I have no need to go back and I live 5 minutes from the place.

                    3. re: renz

                      Actually, you're sort of both right. The guy in Austin was trying to start a Ruggles-concept chain, so it was in some ways affiliated with the indepedent spots in Houston, but not really the same thing.

                2. I was excited when Ruggles opened, having been to the one in Houston, and although they may have SAID they were the same, they definitely weren't.. not even close. I was really disappointed.
                  That being said, I went back since the change of name and menu and it's definitely an improvement. The service at lunch yesterday was really slow but the food was great and the other 5 people I dined with all agreed-- great sandwiches, soups and salads adn the cocktail menu looked good. I'm going to head back tonight for dinner and give it another shot. I'll keep you posted. We really need a good "go to" dining spot here in Westlake and I'm hoping this one sticks.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: wlakemom

                    I agree with you about the Austin Ruggles not being the same as Houston. I went to the one here in Austin and actually contacted them via the website to comment on my sub-par experience. The chef called me back (some french guy) and I spoke with him. I was actually really positive but told him I was, overall, disappointed. I got a smug attitude from him and never went back. I am interested to try the new place if what you said is true. I'd love to hear what you thought of dinner!

                  2. I haven't personally verified yet, but this article (http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/sto...) says that Austin Cheesecake Kitchen has closed. I won't miss it if that's the case.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: noz

                      I can personally confirm that ACK is no longer open for business. I just walked by this weekend and saw a printed notice on the front door that said they've declared bankruptcy and are closed forever, due to "circumstances beyond their control."

                      1. re: MPH

                        OK, now we have two restaurant sites available in the area with RedBud Grille also out of business - maybe something reasonable can land in one of them. I'd take an average mom-and-pop Tex-Mex place or a decent burger/sandwich shop - RedBud was way below-average on our two attempts there.

                        1. re: noz

                          Don't forget Cafe Brix's demise. There's another thread about it; I believe there's a Vietnamese restaurant opening there. Since West Lake Hills's longest-lived restaurants have been ethnic (Chinatown, Thai Kitchen, Bombay Grille), I have hope.

                          1. re: addlepated

                            Cafe Brix had a tough location - it's not very visible from the street, tucked behind the Wells Fargo building. Parking and access can be a pain there as well, and even getting back across Bee Cave can be difficult. There's no Vietnamese restaurants in the area that I'm aware of, so that could work.

                            1. re: noz

                              I drove by the old Cafe Brix yesterday on the way to Walgreen's to pick up a prescription and noticed the new restaurant was having a grand opening. I'll probably check it out in a couple days