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Hard Hat Report Vol 6

Now that Volume 5 is over 50 posts it's time for a fresh start. This topic concerns itself with bars and restaurants that are about to open in Austin Texas.

Big news: Bouldin Creek, the scrappy little vegetarian coffee house is moving down the street. Due south of La Reyna Mexican restaurant, they're taking over what was some sort of automotive repair shop.

Lots of construction going on on the site right now.

La Reyna Mexican Restaurant
1816 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704

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  1. Anyone know what prompted this move? The current run-down "building" and interesting clientele sprawled all around outside it were what made Bouldin creek Bouldin creek. What is happening to the current location?

    1. Mesa Rosa going in on 620 between 222 and Anderson Mill Roady

      1. Qdoba Mexican Grill going in next to Pok-e-Jo's in great hills. Same center as Elevation Burger, 360 Primo, Texadelphia, and La Madeline. Appears to be the first Austin outpost of the large burrito chain that started in Denver(?).

        1. It's been two Hard Hat Reports since I originally mentioned it, but it seems that Maggie's Cafe on Gracy Farms has finally opened, re-purposing the letters from Gabbi's for the new sign, including flipping the b's into g's.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ret3

            Has anybody been there? Any good? I was very disappointed in Gabbi's the 2 times I went there.

            1. re: danny_w

              My wife and I stopped in last night it give it a try. The interior has been redone in bright yellow with kites and whirligigs of various sorts hanging from the high front half of the ceiling and an eclectic collection of art on the walls which keeps the color choice from being overwhelming. The lady who waited on us was sharp, attentive and pleasant. As I usually do in new local restaurants, I went with iced tea to ensure continuous refills, while m'lady incautiously went with a soda, which are served by the can.

              While others differ, I always liked Gabbi's burgers and dogs, in particular their guac burger. By way of comparison, I tried Maggie's guacamole cheeseburger, touted as being 1/2 lb,cooked-to-order with your choice of cheese (swiss, cheddar, colby, provolone, or pepperjack, if memory serves) plus mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions. I opted for medium-well with pepperjack, hold the lettuce and mayo, plus a side of their hand-cut sweet potato fries. The patty was slab-sided and very fine-ground, which makes me think it was a frozen restaurant-supply burger. Nonetheless, it proved pleasantly moist, if not especially hearty, with tasty bits of charred edge here and there. The guac came in a small cup on the side, enough to make a layer over the whole bun, which was toasted and not too airy. A good overall flavor experience, although not Gabbi's. The sweet potato fries were small and thin, fried dark, but not greasy, and with much less sweetness than I've found most to have. My wife ordered the chicken strip basket, which consisted of three very large planks of chicken breast, very juicy with a good home-style breading and and solid flavor. This came with fries, which were OK, and unremarkable apart from the single freakishly huge fry that spanned the length of the basket.

              The menu featured a broad assortment of other dishes, including a reuben which I recall carrying a boast about it's quality I'll have to investigate on another visit, as well as ribeye steaks, fish, and wings.

          2. "egg roll express" grand opening in the NW.
            it's in the same block as chipotle at the parmer and mcneil complex that also houses woodrow's.
            from my brief glimpse at it, it looked more food shui than panda express.

            not sure if it's related to the one on pond springs.
            i could not for the life of me load the website i found, http://www.eggrollexpressaustin.com/

            4 Replies
            1. re: dinaofdoom

              It was slow but it finally loaded for me. Looks interesting.

              1. re: danny_w

                the prices look really reasonable, and the "my-fry-stir-fry" set up is just like the part of the menu i order from at food shui.
                this place is much closer to my home and work so i gotta try it out.

                1. re: dinaofdoom

                  FYI - tried to go today with the lunch crew. There's no tables in the restaurant....it is take-out only. Went to Whataburger instead. I was willing to order to go and take it over, but the 20 min wait for food made it impractical. I'll have to figure out how to try it later.

                  So, be warned - it is takeout only.

                  1. re: rudeboy

                    thanks for the update.
                    eh, that is kinda sucky but it was a toner cartridge place before that so it is super small.

                    i work at parmer and riata so it's a perfect spot for us to pick up a lunch or grab something on the way home.

            2. On W. 5th in the base of the Monarch apartments parking garage, saw a sign and lots of construction activity for Enzo a "restaurant and lounge". Their website is so devoid of information and usefulness I'd rather not mention it. Any one have insight? It looked like a trend bar ala Belmont, but what do I know as I've never been in the Belmont.

              7 Replies
              1. re: Carter B.

                Oh, here's the twitter feed. the dish or two mentioned sounds interesting but the photos make me think it'll have the "charm" of Kenichi. http://twitter.com/EnzoAustin

                1. re: Carter B.

                  Dang. And here I was hoping it was Uncle Enzo's Cosa Nostra Pizza... :)

                  1. re: Homero

                    With pizzas served hot and fresh by Deliverators, under 30 minutes guaranteed?

                    Doesn't look like it. Offerings cobbled together from their twitter feed:

                    * Enzo's Seared Akaushi Beef with Oyster Mushrooms in Tequila Ponzu
                    * Enzo's twist on a Tuna Tar Tar – Sushi grade tuna tossed in sweet jalapeno - wasabi
                    vinaigrette, green onions, apples and goat cheese.
                    * Cocktail menu available here: http://www.lucky13cocktailco.com/Enzo...

                    So we've got contemporary Asian fusion with fancy, colorful drinks? Sounds pretty L.A.

                    1. re: tom in austin

                      Enzo is profiled in Thrillist today. The photo is pretty wacky. The food sounds interesting but we'll see if they can pull it off. I doubt I'll go unless I hear great things about the food:


                      1. re: Carter B.

                        i may go if i hear decent things AND there is a deal like groupon...

                        also, total bummer that the article's photos features the interior design and not the food.

                  2. re: Carter B.

                    Heh. I love that description. You put into words exactly what was in my head.

                  3. re: Carter B.

                    Went to Belmont a month ago while in Austin for work and it was surprisingly very good for a trendy bar-type spot. Had the pork shoulder with escarole and beans, fried rock shrimp and side of fresh corn. BIG portions.

                  4. Did I see a Bombay Bistro going in on south Lamar and 290/71? I think there is a Pei Wei and Sun Harvest also in the area.

                    Bombay Bistro
                    10710 Research Blvd Ste 126, Austin, TX 78759

                    Pei Wei
                    4200 Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78701

                    15 Replies
                    1. re: ChristineR

                      Yep. It's going in right next to Pei Wei in Brodie Oaks.

                      Pei Wei
                      4200 Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78701

                      1. re: ssouth

                        Is this the same place that is in the arboretum area?

                      2. re: ChristineR

                        Are they going to have two new locations? Because the sign is still up at I 35 and Oltorf.

                        1. re: Helind

                          The Bombay Bistro is now open at I-35 and Oltorf.

                          1. re: Helind

                            not sure about that location--in addition to the one at Brodie Oaks (S. Lamar & Ben White) AND the one in North Austin?

                            1. re: Helind

                              Sorry, it's not Bombay Bistro but Tandoori Bistro that just opened on I-35 and Oltorf next to the La Quinta.

                              1. re: Helind

                                went there for lunch today. I'm not terribly impressed with any indian cuisine in Austin and the same can be said here. As a plus, they did have lamb biryani on the buffet and the place was immaculately clean. Wasn't nearly enough spice for me... though I did overhear another diner mention that the food was too spicy! for $8 it was a pretty decent value though nowhere near as good as my favorite indian places in dallas or chicago

                                1. re: chrisdds98

                                  What are your favorite indian places in Austin?

                                  1. re: tom in austin

                                    my kitchen when my parents come and cook for me :)

                                    seriously i haven't loved any indian cuisine so far in austin. I do hear that g'raj mahal is fantastic and I'll try that next.

                                    1. re: chrisdds98

                                      Is there any that doesn't utterly suck?

                                      What do you think of India Kitchen? Shalimar? Swad? Madras? New India? Star? Clay Pit? Tarka?

                                      What do your parents make when they cook for you? That sounds awesome.

                                      P.S. I've liked some of the special dishes from India Kitchen recently, especially when I hook up some amazing goat.

                                      9310 N Lamar Blvd Ste C, Austin, TX 78753

                                      Clay Pit
                                      1601 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78701

                                      India Kitchen
                                      2410 E Riverside Dr, Austin, TX 78741

                                      5207 Brodie Ln, Austin, TX 78745

                                      1. re: tom in austin

                                        I live in Kyle so when I make the drive up to north austin and have a sub-par meal I get pretty pissed so I'm probably harder on some places then I should be. Also I'm a big meat eater so I skip the veg joints...

                                        I've had decent food at shalimar but sometimes the dishes are too oily. The restaurant isn't very clean either.

                                        Biryani (always for special occasions! - my parents tastes much better then what you can get at these buffets) and lamb or goat korma are my favorites. I'll check out India kitchen again and look for the goat dishes.

                                        1. re: chrisdds98

                                          You have to establish a rapport with the India Kitchen guy and get them to make you a special goat dish with several days warning. The stuff off the buffet is pretty good but won't floor you. I haven't been blown away by their biryani.

                                          India Kitchen
                                          2410 E Riverside Dr, Austin, TX 78741

                                      2. re: chrisdds98

                                        It seems like Indian people don't want to ever go out to eat Indian food because that type of food is eaten at home and (especially) at family gatherings all the time. Is that true? I've witnessed that a couple of times.

                                        Plus, there's all different types, right?

                                        1. re: rudeboy

                                          There are definitely all different types of Indian food, but I'm not even a novice in the subject.

                                          As for Indian folks eating out, most of my Indian friends come from the school of engineering or the tech community and their parents are out-of-towners. As bachelors, they rarely have kitchens that make their parents happy, so they eat Indian food out fairly often, especially when their parents visit. Go figure. However, these are my friends, not a distributed sampling of all Indians in Austin, so definitely YMMV.

                                          1. re: tom in austin

                                            What are your thoughts on distinctive Indian food in Austin? New India on South Congress has some unsual dishes. Curry in Hurry and Bombay Express both offer more a street food. What other Indian restaurants have unique dishes out of the mianstream?

                          2. Looks like they are demolishing what looks likes the remnants of some chain on Bee Caves and Walsh Tarton behind the Taco Bell...anyone know what's going in?

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: MattC02

                              I don't know what's going on, but that was a Pizza Hut location that has been closed for quite some time. I thought that they were renovating for a new business, but now it's just a lot of rubble. I've seen nothing in the Westbank area newspapers.

                              1. re: MattC02

                                Carl's Jr.


                                Carl's Jr
                                1315 E Whitestone Blvd, Cedar Park, TX 78613

                              2. The Noble Pig sounds pretty interesting for us NW peeps.

                                The Noble Pig is at 11815 RM 620 N., Suite 4. 382-6248. Open 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays-Sundays.

                                1. A place called Anabelle's Casual Dining is going in on the corner of Spicewood and Mesa where the old Ms. B's Cajun used to be...as long as it's not bland, I'm happy.

                                  1. Has Cafe Express opened on No. Lamar yet? I just heard it was coming. I love them.
                                    Their menu is awesome. It's order at the counter casual dining. They are all over Houston and I eat there every time I go. All very fresh, very healthy, served hot out of the kitchen immediately and they will stay very busy once everyone discovers them. I have now moved to Georgetown. Hope they come North next year. Check out their menu www.cafe-express.com The website for Houston locations says they are now serving breakfast and that menu looked great. Enjoy and someone pls let me know if they are open. Tks

                                    3 Replies
                                        1. re: sweet100s

                                          It is going in where the La Madeleine used to be at 34th and Lamar.

                                          La Madeleine
                                          5493 Brodie Ln, Austin, TX 78745

                                    1. Jollyville Bar & Grill went in at the old Antonio's location on Jollyville. Sign said it was open for the game today.

                                      1. The old Yu <somethingorother> Sushi on Colorado between 2nd & 3rd has been reopened as a new sushi place. Same blue glowing bar but seemed to be a less ambitious menu...

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Carter B.

                                          I used to line cook at two restaurants within a block or two of that place--absolutely fantastic food, but I was astonished they could last--there's so much competition downtown--not sure if the same people are involved or not--this is a really tough time to be opening an upscale no-name brick and mortar restaurant...

                                        2. Just noticed a new location of Elevation Burger is going in next to Dos Batos by Northcross Mall.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: ssouth

                                            Cool, thanks for the update. Had heard of this coming quite some time ago, but never saw any evidence of it.

                                          2. East Side Pies opened their new location today. It's at 53rd 1/2 St and Airport, 454-PIES.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: brentwood

                                              Are you saying that East Side Pies just opened a new location literally one block from House Pizzeria???

                                              1. re: ChrisStein

                                                I know, right? I can't decide whether to be thrilled that Airport is getting more love, or super annoyed that they set up shop so close to House Pizzeria. I saw that East Side is doing carryout or delivery only, so perhaps they're targeting a slightly different consumer, but still.

                                                1. re: ATXGastronomist

                                                  I live off North Loop, and it's like an embarrassment of riches now having the Parlor, House, and East Side Pies all within maybe a half mile of each other. I agree though that it's an odd location, and hope there is business to support all three (especially House, which is just excellent)

                                            2. "Full English British Cafe", 1 block north of Stannney, West side of street behind a Quickie Mart. Look for the "British Cafe" spray-painted on a white sheet hung from the failing overhang above the door (supported by rough tree limbs). IOW: It still needs some construction work and signage.



                                              1. I reported on this one in vol. 5, but have more info. NW corner of 183 & Oak Knoll (strip center with Subway). Yummi Asian Fusion tacos. Website: www.yummitaco.com. Menu is up, but no date for opening. If the boring-brigade at work drags me to Subway, I will see if they updated the sign with an opening date.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: angthefoodie

                                                  Nice, please let us know. That is right down the street from my apartment and would be a welcome addition.

                                                2. The backspace (yes lower case) opens mid November according to its press release. This is the Parkside pizza joint.

                                                  "The centerpiece of the backspace is its $12,000 Forni Cirigliano wood-fired pizza oven, custom-made and shipped over from Naples. The only one like it in Austin, its red clay dome heats to 900 degrees and bakes a perfect pizza in just 90 seconds. The backspace will offer seven Neapolitan-style pizzas, including classics like the Margherita and marinara, plus specialty pies like smoked ricotta topped with arugula."

                                                  Sounds promising

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: Carter B.

                                                    That oven is similar to the one at Pizzaria Corvino which has, unfortunately, closed. The pizza there was GREAT! It does sound promising...

                                                    1. re: Rene

                                                      Corvina used a Woodstone Deck Hearth oven, if I'm not mistaken. They fired it with gas and kept the temperature closer to 650.

                                                      The Forni Cirigliano is closer to a proper Neapolitan oven. And while it might have shipped from Naples, it almost certainly wasn't built there, as Cirigliano's ovens are built in a town roughly 150km south of Naples. They also tend to have higher domes and wider mouths than traditional Neapolitan ovens from folks like Ferrara and Acunto.

                                                    2. re: Carter B.

                                                      Hopefully it is as good as Dough Pizzeria in San Antonio. That will be a treat and save me the driving when I want good pizza. Even though they will not be doing their own mozzarella as Dough but we will see. This is good news definitely.

                                                    3. al forno pizza opened up next to little woodrow's at parmer and mcneil:

                                                      i hope it's good, because my co-workers like to go there for drinks and the delivery options to LW's were pretty bad.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: dinaofdoom

                                                        We're Woodrows regulars, so we've ordered from Al Forno a few times.

                                                        #1 thing to remember is the slices of pizza are enormous (we're talking like 1/4 of an extra large pie), so don't order two unless you're a huge eater. The pizza is pretty decent though. Slightly greasy, but the crust is actually charred to my liking. Tons of topping options, too, which can be pretty fun to tinker with after a few 30 oz. beers.

                                                        Their wings are actually pretty noteworthy, and like the pizza, there are lots of flavor varieties (something like a dozen different flavors).

                                                        They also offer quite a few other options -- sandwiches, salads, etc., though I've never tried any of those.

                                                        1. re: jwynne2000

                                                          the menu seemed a lot more interesting than the last pizza place in that spot (the name escapes me).

                                                          how long has it been open? i caught the grand opening banner a few days ago.

                                                          1. re: dinaofdoom

                                                            The last place was called Woody's, and yeah, the menu was pretty bare bones.

                                                            Al Forno has been open for about a month now. We went nuts and got a (huge) slice of their Carnegie Deli cheesecake the other night. YUM!

                                                      2. Saw a sign for "Hot Breads" opening soon on McNeil and San Felipe. Anyone know what this is besides a bakery? Anything special about it?

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: MyySharona

                                                          There's a bakery chain called Hot Breads apparently all over Texas that specializes in Indian stuffed breads and pastries. I'm guessing this one is related. Here's an old Chow discussion on it: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/90619

                                                        2. Stopped by Panderia Chuy on 183 for a torta and pan dulces and noticed that they have opened up a wall to expand into the space next door.
                                                          A full kitchen with grill and fry area looks 99% complete, and they seem to be putting the finishing touches on a new dining area.
                                                          No menu posted yet, but I'm crossing my fingers for the same high quality / low price in the cafe as they have in the bakery.

                                                          1. As has been reported widely, the Savory Spice Shop opens on W. 6th St. tomorrow. Sounds good to me: http://www.savoryspiceshop.com/

                                                            1. I heard from a very good souce that a Jean Georges restaurant is coming to the new W hotel downtown and they are trying to be opening next month. This was the space originally announced to be Tyson Cole Spanish which alas is not happening.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: Carter B.

                                                                Eater (which by the way if you did not know, has Austin coverage now) has info on the new W restaurant and sounds like my source was incorrect and this is not Jean Georges affilated:


                                                                Trace: "and the food will fit into four categories: foraged, farmed, hunted and crafted."

                                                                Foraged sounds interesting.

                                                                1. re: Carter B.

                                                                  it was my impression that you can't legally sell hunted meat in a restaurant, hence all that wild whatever is actually farm raised...is that not true?

                                                              2. a banner says a coffee bean and tea leaf is coming soon to the defunct arby's on 183.
                                                                it's just past moonie's/tino's/reale's/la tapatia, and just before hoover's.

                                                                1. The former Popeye's on Anderson (just E of Burnet) is reopening as a Shipley Donuts.

                                                                  Shipley Donuts
                                                                  8213 Brodie Ln Ste 106, Austin, TX 78745

                                                                  1. Didn't see anything posted about this, but have found out that Thai Kitchen on William Cannon closed, while the horrible one on Guadalupe is still open--hopefully the much better chef at the Wm. Cannon location has moved to the one near Wheatsville...(why go there though when Madam Mam's is so close?)

                                                                    Thai Kitchen
                                                                    3009 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705

                                                                    1. was a bit bummed last week about Thai Kitchen on Wm. Cannon closing, but now I have some good news, though I am of course sad for the workers who lost their jobs
                                                                      Furr's Cafeteria on South Lamar near Ben White has closed...

                                                                      Thai Kitchen
                                                                      3103 S Fort Hood St, Killeen, TX 76542

                                                                      1. i just noticed the irie coffee bean and taco truck on mcneil.
                                                                        it's in the parking lot of the independent thrift store, on the right hand side and shortly before technology if you are coming from parmer.


                                                                        1. Moonie's Burgers (#3) soon to open in Pflugerville in the Tinseltown shopping center. Equipment arriving today.