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Hard Hat Report

Riding by the old P and K Grocery on West Mary I noticed a bunch of men in hardhats renovating the building.Does anyone know what's going in this location?

Also,the old San Francisco Steakhouse is being converted into something or other.Does anyone know what the new place is going to be?

I would like for this topic to be open to any location you notice around town that's preparing to open as a restaurant or grocery store.

What have you noticed that's in the preparatory stage of opening?

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  1. Way up on Parmer, somewhere near 620 (where Extreme Pizza was previously), there's a Greek place opening up called Zakia's. We tried to go Saturday, but their banner says the grand opening is October 17 (IIRC). It's not entirely new. Their website says they were the Greek Pita House before at a different location.


    2 Replies
    1. re: stephanieh

      We were so excited when this new restaurant, called Zakia’s, opened near our little neighborhood, but that changed to great disappointment when we tried it for the first time last night.

      First, there was no description of the actually food items on the menu. And the wait staff was not overly friendly so asking what was in every dish was out of the question.

      We decided to order the spankopia appetizer and the Lamb dish entree. To our surprise the $4.95 spankopia appetizer included only two very, very small pieces. And it was completely soggy, Spankopia is supposed to be flakey. Our salad that came with the entrée was also soaked in olive oil.

      Then the wait staff actually asked us if we would mind moving to another table so additional gusts could have ours. When we explained that this made us feel extremely uncomfortable the wait staff seemed irritated.

      Since the food quality was awful and we did not feel comfortable anymore, we decided to forgo the entrée.

      We definitely don’t recommend this restaurant. They are over priced, the food quality is poor, and treat their patrons with no respect.

      1. re: shaksper

        That's really good information, shaksper. We never made it back over there. It kind of fell off my radar. Now, I'm not in any hurry to get there. Thanks for taking the hit for the team.

    2. On North Lamar, on the left while heading north from Central Market:

      "Dr. Chocolate" opening soon

      1. Old San Francisco is soon to be opened as a Chinese Buffet.

        2 Replies
        1. re: amykragan

          oh.. i hope they kept the swing.

          1. re: amykragan

            Fujian Grand Buffett is open now. Haven't tried it yet, but supposed to have a nice modern decor and quick to refill empty trays.

          2. There's a sign I saw from 183 somewhere near the Duval exit... "Terra Burger Coming Soon". I googled and got this website, which says nothin'.


            2 Replies
            1. re: stephanieh

              Tony C's Coal Fired Pizza is slated to open in the Hill Country Galleria soon. Of all the new restaurants out this way this is the one I'm most looking forward to. Coal oven pizza in Austin, yipee. I hope it's good though I do like Yaghi's.

              1. re: stephanieh

                They are also putting a Terra Burger in the old Stixs Bistro on the Drag.

              2. Not hard-hat, but still relatively new, is another downtown wine bar which I haven't seen mentioned on here yet -- Mulberry.

                360 Nueces St
                Austin, TX 78701
                (512) 320-0297


                And from Austin360:

                "We heard it was a deli, but Mulberry, located on the ground floor of the 360 condominium tower, turns out to be a modern wine bar with a full menu of nibbles, salads, sandwiches and entreés — and lots of oysters. Owner Michael Palumbo also runs Bin 71 and Barcibo Enoteca in Manhattan. Palumbo attended the University of Texas' McCombs School of Business and is living upstairs in 360 as he opens Mulberry, downtown Austin's sixth dedicated wine bar. Michael Hsu helped design the vertically arranged restaurant, with its squared-off stools, shingled wainscoting, cool marble, wine mezzanine and extremely compact space (so Manhattan!).

                Open 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday, brunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday (360 Nueces St., 320-0297)

                — M.B. "

                2 Replies
                1. re: Nab

                  Thanks for the tip.

                  One night when I'm finished with my Lonestar quota at the Little Longhorn I'll make my way by there.

                  Any bar that offers nibbles [I knew a stripper from Lubbock named Nibbles a few years back] is going to see heavy attendance from me

                  .As for it being so "Manhattan" I doubt that unless their idea of the borough differs from mine-[ballers selling lids,hustlers on the make and Harvey Keitel's Bad Lieutenant prowling the streets].

                  Do they have a website?

                  1. re: scrumptiouschef

                    No website, chef, but I did make it here last night for a few slurps and nibbles (do you happen to know a stripper named Slurps? I'd like to meet her).

                    I will love this place on sleepy weeknights. Excellent wine list with plenty of by-the-glass choices and the grub menu looks mighty tasty, with a few small and simple snacks, salume, and entrees that go beyond the nibble-line. The salmon sashimi, while under the mains section of the menu, is more of a nibble. Expensive nibble clocking in at $14 bones, but delicious nibble nonetheless. Four good slices of salmon get bathed in hot garlic oil and topped with black sea salt and fried capers (I'm sucker for fried capers). All of the nibbles coming out of the bathtub-sized kitchen looked and smelled great, except for the truffle-oil laden bread appetizer which my nextdoor nibblers ordered -- you know bad truffle oil when you smell it.

                    On the other hand, the perfumey prosecco was terrific, also enjoyed a decent rioja and a silky delicious red minervois.

                    Not sure why folks are raving about the space's design. Nothing really that interesting about the design to my mind, but it's a nice clean (tiny!) room tucked away in a corner of downtown.

                    Word of the day: nibbles. Use it as often as possible.

                2. Every month or so I post a list to austin.food of local construction/finish-out projects having to do with grocery and/or restaurants. The last one was a few days ago and read:

                  Freddy's Frozen Custard (Pflugerville)
                  MGM Indian Foods - Retail Center (Lamar and Masterson Pass)
                  Royal Blue Grocery (another one downtown in the 360 building)
                  Maki (Arbor walk)
                  Mellow Mushroom (Drag - Undergoing remodel)


                  1. I almost forgot: There's a new "La Hacienda Market" going in at Stassney and First. I haven't seen how far along it is, but there's a "Coming Soon" sign still up there. This is across from Walgreens/Planet K in the Time Warner/El Polo Rico shopping center.

                    I prefer the meat counter at La Haceienda (Rutland/Lamar) over the counter at El Michocana (across the street on Stassney). Hacienda has a great house-made sausage that's excellent for smoking and grilling. The sausage and other marinated meat offerings at Michocana aren't very good, IMO.


                    1. Also not exactly hard hat, but opened within the last month or so: The Carillon Restaurant in the new ATT Conference Center near the Blanton Museum. I know, I know, it's a campus hotel restaurant, but I found myself there with some coworkers today for happy hour. I couldnt find any talk about it on this board, so, thought I'd mention it. The place is spacious, with walls of tables that have the booth-on-one-side-of-table, chairs-on-other-side set up; pleasant recessed lighting and nice atmosphere for what it is. They were offering free select cocktails/apps for UT employees, so we went to check it out. The place only had 4 or 5 tables of guests... kind of surprising. I had a very inoffensive 06 cabernet, and I ordered their scallop appetizer. (The free appetizers didnt look appealing to me...Some type of cuttlefish in a sauce, and a fine-dining version of crab rangoon, so i ordered off the menu) This was a pistachio coated, sliced seared scallop, atop a semi-thick (truffle?) mushroom cream sauce, which was presented at one end of an oblong plate. A little trail of (definitely) truffle oil led me to the center of the plate, where there was a curdy/herby cheese glob... another truffle oil trail led to several beautiful sauteed chantrelles topped with a variety of microgreens. $9. The scallop cold have been more rare (but then, I say that about most seafood in this town) and the herbed curds were not my favorite thing. HOWEVER: scallop, flavourful, sauce umami-tastic, mushrooms & microgreens: scrumptious, presentation: really very attractive. My invitation to the happy hour read: appetizers created by Chef Watkins. Is this Josh Watkins, formerly of the Driskill, I asked myself? A quick google search determines it is. But this may be redundant, and if I have missed a thread on the Carillon already on this board, please excuse. PS beware the dorkily named "UTini" cocktail and the awkward 17 year old with caterpillar moustache who runs the food to your table. Heh.

                      1. On my way to work today, saw a new place opening, in the old Bennigan's location
                        @ Barton Springs, / Riverside...

                        Fiddler's Hearth, Irish pub kind of place.


                        1 Reply
                        1. re: mevans4aus

                          Their menu looks like the real deal. I suspect I'll find myself there this weekend at some point.

                        2. Noticed the "Screaming Goat" at 10th and Lamar yesterday. It whizzed by but I recall a sign that said "Now Open" and "Tacos."

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Lara_Noel

                            I saw this just today. There was also a sign that said parking in back, which looks helpful considering their location.

                          2. We walked past Sushi Sake's downtown-to-be location and looks like they are close to opening.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Carter B.

                              On the drag next to Potbelly there are signs for a new shop called Swirll. It looks like a low fat frozen yogurt place.

                              1. re: nypb

                                Due north of Little City on Congress a second el chilito is about to open.When they xeroxed the menu of el meson and opened up on Manor a few years back I had high hopes.Their food started strong but quickly deteriorated.

                            2. "Chinatown Downtown" sign up just went up at 5th and Colorado (next to Kenichi). I don't know if it's supposed to be related to the one on Mopac, or the one on Bee Caves - or neither. Hopefully it's good. There really isn't much Chinese downtown.

                              It being Downtown, I'd bet it's pretty Americanized fare and not a Din Ho or First China BBQ.


                              1. It looks like there's a new Thai restaurant opening on Parmer lane next door to Tomo Sushi. Just a banner that says "Thai Restaurant Opening Soon"... no name yet.

                                No indication of exactly when they'd be open, but it looks like they have all the tables and chairs set up in there already.

                                1. New Korean BBQ place at Huntland & I-35: Chosun Galbi

                                  I spoke with a guy there after dim sum at Shanghai, and he said they would be opening on Saturday November 15th.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: pwang

                                    The old tony's southern comfort building is about to have a new tenant:Buenos Aires Cafe

                                    1. re: scrumptiouschef

                                      Walked by the former Moe's location on the drag today and there were construction workers in there...constructing. No word what's going in there yet. I bet it's a chain, though. Will report again as info develops.

                                      1. re: nypb

                                        In the old Nuevo Leon building on e.7th st a new Ethiopian restaurant named Karibu is preparing to open.

                                        1. re: nypb

                                          It looks like there's a Kaplan testing center going in the former Moe's location on the drag :( In other drag news, it looks like there are signs up at Terra burger.

                                    2. To add to the Report: new restaurant going in the old El Mercado location at 183 and Lake Creek (next to Nino's Pizza). The sign outside said "Coming Soon: Los Reyes Seafood and Mexican Grill".

                                      To remove from the Report: Thai Cuisine, at Parmer next to Tomo, is now open. We ate there Friday night and had Pad Kee Mao. It was fresh and spiced appropriately, if not a little dry. The dumpling appetizers were hand made and delicious. Black rice pudding for dessert was warm, flavorful, and had great texture and level of sweetness.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: jwynne2000

                                        What's the service like? Do you sit down and order, or do you order up at a counter (like the Salsaritas before it)? It's just up the road from my workplace and I'd love to add a Thai place to the lunch options.

                                        1. re: verily

                                          It's definitely a sit down and order restaurant. I thought the service was really great, although it wasn't very crowded in there that night either. The decor and ambience are very nice. The waiters all wear Thai-looking attire...kind of corny, but hey... I appreciate the effort. Since you mentioned lunch, I should note that when we were in there for dinner, they had an empty buffet table near the back of the restaurant, indicating that it's probably part of the lunch service.

                                          Also, we asked them about BYOB and they said it was fine for the next month or so, which is about when they expect to get their liquor license.

                                          1. re: jwynne2000

                                            I just noticed their sign yesterday and decided to do some research today. I might stop by after work tonight.

                                            I also found that they've got an ad/coupon on craigslist for 10% off lunch or dinner through 1/31/09:


                                            1. re: Lovetroll

                                              Yep. We used that coupon and they cheerfully accepted it. We've gone back a second time, this time with booze in hand which they were very cool about... even set us up with cold beer glasses and wine glasses. I had the red curry and really liked it. Having sampled several things from them now, I don't think this place will ever reach transcendence, or intense deliciousness as our MIA fried MPH would say, but they get the basics right and the service is really friendly.

                                      2. Terra Burger,next to Madam Mam's on Guadalupe has plywood up.

                                        1. A tabloid-size mini-newspaper gets delivered to my mailbox "Community Impact".

                                          It aways contains useful or interesting news, including all the new chow locations opening.

                                          From latest:

                                          - "Minh's Cafe opened at 12221 Riata Trace Parkway, Ste. 190. "Offers a wide variety of Asian influenced dishes. It serves traditional and new-age entrées, desserts, specialty drinks and Vietnamese rice noodle soup. Call 249-6464."
                                          This sounds like it is near or occupying the location of my beloved pizza purveyor "Tuscany Market" which closed abruptly a while back. (but which caused me to find Chowhound when searching for a replacement


                                          - Baby Greens opened at 10025 N. Burnet Road.

                                          Anyone tried Minh's or Baby Green's? Please start a topic!

                                          - Five Guys is coming to the Arboretum.

                                          In what looked like a typo, "The Austin franchise owner has signed a contract to develop a total of 90 Five Guys in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio."

                                          I could see 9.

                                          - "Gabbi’s Burgers n Dogs, 12001 Burnet Road, Ste. J, is now open for dinner. New hours are Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturday noon to 9 p.m. The restaurant also added a children’s menu. Call 833-7017 or 462-2433 or visit"


                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: sweet100s

                                            Minh's Cafe has a website, which only lists a menu: http://www.minhscafe.com/

                                            1. re: sweet100s

                                              Minh's is occupying the old Tuscany space. I have not tried it yet, but plan to soon.

                                              I guess Gabbi's has been getting enough business to finally have dinner hours. I wish Tacodeli would consider doing the same. I've had their chicago dog and thought it was delicious. It was too big to eat w/o a fork and knife. Big hot dog in a bun packed to the gills with pickle, sport peppers, onion, and relish. Fries were ok, but probably from a bag.

                                            2. 12/21/08 - Karibu Organic Ethiopian at 7th and Attayac. A few blocks east of I35.


                                              1. Freddie's Frozen Custard

                                                from Austinbizjournal:The Wichita,Kan.-based restaurant chain is opening up its first store in Cedar Park at 1465 E. Whitestone Blvd. in mid-January. A second location is slated to open in Pflugerville at 2602 FM 1825 in mid-February.

                                                Anyone tried it out.Looks like it's all over San Antonio

                                                1. According to front page of the new Austin Business Journal, La Condea is opening at 2nd and Guad. (across from Lambert's I guess). It's being done by Larry McGuire (of Lambert's fame) and some others. "Continental and Modern Mexico"--my take is another trendy Mexican restaurant but this time not from Dallas. Some sort of bar/lounge upstairs of the restaurant. Opens in February.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Carter B.

                                                    Oh this is great news, because Austin really lacks any type of Mexican food.

                                                    Is it just me or is anyone else growing a little tired of the Austin food scene? I want someone to come along and show me something really different. Is that too much to ask?

                                                  2. There is a Baby Green's in construction at 800 Brazos downtown. Not sure when it will be done.
                                                    Launchpad, a co-working cafe, will also be opening in the main lobby. They will have food, drinks, and also rent out space to those who need an office space or meeting room for a short period of time. Not sure when they will be finished either as construction always seems to take longer it's supposed too.

                                                    1. P Terry's is moving into the old Hill-Bert's on N. Lamar.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: ridgeback

                                                        Moving, or starting their second location?

                                                        That building long ago was a Burger Chef. I was kinda bummed when Hill-Bert's left and then they gutted it, taking out the old stools and all.

                                                        1. re: rudeboy

                                                          It is a second location. They tore down the hill-bert building and are building a new building on the same site.

                                                          1. re: rollledspleen

                                                            Meanwhile, I hear Hill-Bert's is taking over a second Taco Bell location. This one's at Burnet & Greenlawn (next to Dallas Night Club and the Kolache Shoppe).

                                                      2. Alamo Draft House at Slaughter and Mopac. Construction should start next week.


                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: sqwertz

                                                          I was really hoping they'd open up in the old Varsity Theater on Guadalupe.It's about to be an open space due to Follet's vacating.Has anyone tried the new Terra Burger,fast food restaurant next to Slices and Ices?

                                                        2. First post on this board, have been lurking a while...

                                                          Anyway, what is going in at 51st and airport...where Leo's Tasty Wings and More used to be? I know that location has been dormant for a while but there is action over there.

                                                          I still haven't seen any signs as to what is going in, nor any alcohol permit apps on the window. They have some modern-ish slim horizontal windows facing airport and what looks like new fence around part of the lot.

                                                          My guess is coffee shop or bar.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: ianmarks

                                                            Also a first post...

                                                            I have it on good authority that it's going to be a pizza place. From what I understand, the alcohol permit is already in hand.

                                                            1. re: bassque

                                                              It's going to be House Pizzeria, and I think they'll have a beer & wine license too.

                                                          2. I was pulling out of the HEB Plus at 620 & Anderson Mill today and saw Saccone's name up across the street. It's in the little mini-mall across from the HEB gas station (next to Sonic).

                                                            Anyone know if it's open yet? I didn't have time to drive over to take a look at it. There's nothing about it on the website other than "New location coming soon".

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: verily

                                                              Little ad in the Community Impact paper says it will open on Feb 1st and have a grand opening on Feb 14th.

                                                              1. re: verily

                                                                Drove by last night and there were people inside and the tv was on. Didn't see a neon sign saying open so it was either a soft opening or family doing last minute prep.

                                                              2. Does anyone have anything new to report on the space on 183 north that was supposed to house a Hog Island Deli (and, I think, an Amy's)?

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Ashforth

                                                                  I noticed the sign listing the different restuarants was taken down about 3 weeks ago. I am not taking this as a good omen.

                                                                  Though the Zen truck is parked there, so I am keeping some hope alive that it is going to happen.

                                                                2. Los Reyes Mexican Grill & Seafood Restaurant just opened where El Mercado used to be off 183 & Lake Creek (in the strip where Amy's Ice Cream is). I haven't been yet. Apparently they are a second location for Los Reyes in Cedar Park.

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: stephanieh

                                                                    There was an article in the Statesman last week about restaurants opening in the Austin area. It mentions that the owner of Zen is still waiting to open on 183 North near Anderson Mill, but that draining issues were holding up plans. He does say that opening "nine months to a year down the road, that's fine." The article also mentions other openings: Mighty Fine Burgers in Sunset Valley and a third one in Round Rock, mexican eatery Vivo in the Lakeline Mall area, and Mandola's and Maudie's at the Shops at the Gallleria in Bee Caves.

                                                                    1. re: chowin

                                                                      Has anyone been to Tony C's Coal Fired Pizza in the above mentioned Galleria development,I believe it's the Ciola's folks entry into the pizza market and may have opened last week?

                                                                      1. re: scrumptiouschef

                                                                        I haven't tried Tony C's yet but I didn't know it was open yet, thanks! If it's open I will try it this week and report back.

                                                                        This news doesn't come a moment too soon as I got a pie from Yaghi's last week and it was inedible (burnt).

                                                                        1. re: scrumptiouschef

                                                                          We were there on Sunday and while it's not perfect pizza, it's some of the best we'll get out near Lakeway/Bee Cave/Steiner Ranch. The menu includes pizza, salads, pasta, and sandwiches, with a nice little wine list. Service was good. We had the Mama Mia pizza (sausage and pepperoni - with the kids and all). The crust was chewy and not too think with a nice flavor. They use sliced Italian sausage which is my favorite and the sauce was a great base but not overwhelming.

                                                                    2. for all the NWers, there is a new vietnamese & crawfish boil place that just opened up next to odaku sushi.
                                                                      (in the spot of the defunct lemongrass cafe)
                                                                      it's in ther plaza at parmer and mopac, where the HEB is.
                                                                      i can't vouch for it, but a few people already posted in another thread and i fully intend to check it out.

                                                                      1. ninfa's off of 183 seems to be preparing to re-open.

                                                                        1. Pho Viet coming soon in the shopping center at I-35 and the toll road. Right across from Beluga.

                                                                          1. kahuna's tiki bar just opened up on parmer/mcneil, where curra's long bar used to be.
                                                                            i read some grumbling about the food at their previous location (bee caves?) but i am going to keep an open mind and will report back when i've tried it out.

                                                                            i just really need a place nearby where i can get my fish tacos and marg fix!


                                                                            1. Does anybody know anything about the new seafood restaurant going into the former Mars location on South Congress? I know Steve (Continental) and the folks from Lambert's are involved...I've heard the name Perlia floated around. Any word on an opening date?

                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                              1. re: girl410

                                                                                Mars on SOCO closed? Do they have another location?

                                                                                  1. re: auspr

                                                                                    New Taco Bell being built on the former site of the Drive-Thru Postal just south of the Anderson Lane/Burnet Road intersection. I'll be sure to never eat there......

                                                                                    1. re: marfaboy

                                                                                      As mentioned above, that's an old Taco Bell being converted into Hill-Bert's.

                                                                                      1. re: mkwng

                                                                                        No, the one that I'm referring to is the replacement for the former Taco Bell at Burnet and Greenlawn, which is morphing into a new HillBert's. The new Taco Bell is about a quarter-mile north of the old TB.....

                                                                                    2. re: auspr

                                                                                      Wow. That was one of the places that I kept meaning to try but never did. Ever time i walked by the SOCO location they always seemed busy.