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Hard Hat Report Vol 7

This series has grown some serious legs.

Vol 6 has gotten cumbersome due to its' size so here's a fresh volume.

This thread concerns itself with restaurants and bars that are about to open or are in the opening stages.

Just to start the ball rolling: Barley Swine, the new project from Bryce Gilmore of Odd Duck Farm To Trailer fame is in the final stages of readying for a Dec 29th opening.

He's taking over the old Pie Slice location on S. Lamar.

Expect lots of locally foraged meats and vegetables with the addition of beer from the multitude of area breweries.


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  1. There's an article in today's AAS stating the Hat Creek is opening a store in Westlake. Additionally, it appears that they want to open ten additional stores.

    The one on Burnet Rd is sort of fast-foody looking anyhow....so I'm not surprised.

    1. Does anyone know what's going into the small drive-through (first a Short Stop, then a Baby Greens) at Oltorf & South Lamar? It's been renovated for a couple of months and looks like they're close to finishing. A new menu board went up but it's blank.

      Baby Greens
      2316 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704

      8 Replies
      1. re: chascates

        Looks like a taco place. I saw a coming soon sign with the name of the place ("Taco...(something)") and "Authentic Mexican Food".

        1. re: jwynne2000

          Tacorrido or something like that. I'll try to find the website. Looks alright though

          1. re: puddles

            This is it: http://www.eltacorrido.com/sur.html

            Been saying coming soon for-freaking-ever-though

            1. re: puddles

              This is doomed even before it opens. They've been workingon it for almost a year. The location is doomed. I was surprised BG's lasted so long. Before that is was BBQ and befroe that it was already a mexcian joint. None them lasted for more than a year.

              Ther's already a tacorido up north (Rundberg and Lamar). I haven't been there since they remodeled 5(?) years ago but I was totally unimpressed. But somebody must like them. They're open quite late like all the North Lamar Taco Stands, so that may explain it.


              1. re: sqwertz

                I've recently been to the El Tacorrido @ Rundberg & Lamar. What did you have sqwertz?

                Quite frankly, these are some of the best tacos I've had here. All come with onion, cilantro & lime; meat is well seasoned, juicy and delish. I've had the guisada, the carnitas, and the chicarrones and a couple others I'm blanking on right now (I wish someone here would do crispy chicarrones con carne though...) I'm happy this place is like 5 minutes from my 'hood!

                1. re: sqwertz

                  I've recently been to the El Tacorrido @ Rundberg & Lamar. What did you have sqwertz?

                  Quite frankly, these are some of the best tacos I've had here. All come with onion, cilantro & lime; meat is well seasoned, juicy and delish. I've had the guisada, the carnitas, and the chicarrones and a couple others I'm blanking on right now (I wish someone here would do crispy chicarrones con carne though...) I'm happy this place is like 5 minutes from my 'hood!

                  1. re: sqwertz

                    I've recently been to the El Tacorrido @ Rundberg & Lamar. What did you have sqwertz?

                    Quite frankly, these are some of the best tacos I've had here. All come with onion, cilantro & lime; meat is well seasoned, juicy and delish. I've had the guisada, the carnitas, and the chicarrones and a couple others I'm blanking on right now (I wish someone here would do crispy chicarrones con carne though...) I'm happy this place is like 5 minutes from my 'hood!

                    1. re: malarkey

                      I grabbed some breakfast tacos at the one on S 1st a few weeks ago... agreed. Good stuff.

          2. There's a pad site being developed on Wm Cannon and Brush Country (next to 24 Hour FItness/Panera). going to be a Freddy's Frozen Custard. yay. =/

            1. Zed's is having their grand opening today in N. Austin. Just south of the HEB at Parmer and I35, next to the JC Penney store. The building looks quite nice from the outside. I'm curious to try this place...hopefully it will be good because I live about 5 minutes away.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Madcap

                i live at parmer/620 and i hadn't even heard of this place opening 'til now.
                the menu seems a little z'tejas-ish.
                please report back if you try it!

                1. re: dinaofdoom

                  We went to the mock opening and the food was ok but so not worth the prices they are charging. Everything was completely under seasoned from the cole slaw to the steaks. I had the pork chop with cole slaw and smashed potatoes. The potatoes were the best of the lot- very garlicky. The cocktails were fabulous though- the Spicy Bison and the Bluepear Lemonade were tasty.
                  They have some kins to work out of course and I hope they improve the food and lower the prices. They plan to do live music in a few months and the set-up is rather nice for it. It's got potential, but as I live down south, I won't be back for the food.

                  1. re: carimwc

                    For those kinds of prices (and especially in that area) they had better be darn good, or they won't last long, and it doesn't sound like they are there (yet). Best wait a while...

                    1. re: danny_w

                      One wonders if the owners have seen Pulp Fiction. "Zed's dead, baby. Zed's dead."

                      1. re: brentwood

                        That was the first thing I thought of, too. They have a "Chopper Salad" on the menu, so I have to think they are aware... "It's not a motorcycle, it's a chopper, baby"

                2. re: Madcap

                  We tried it out last week for dinner and I agree with the previous review. The food was decent but overpriced. I had the french dip with mac n cheese and borracho beans. The mac n cheese was relatively flavorless and the beans tasted like a can of ranch style beans. The margarita I had was excellent though. They have a huge outdoor seating area that's quite nice. I'm hopeful they can pull it all together.

                3. There's a sign up for Taqueria el Charro up at the location where Fuegos once was. Doesn't look open yet.

                  1. Stopped by the newly opened indian place 'Hot Breads Bakery and Cafe' on 183 and Mcneil(NW Austin)...
                    Tried their chicken/veggie puffs(like stuffed bread) and mango flavored pastry. Was good...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: exploringaustin

                      thanks for doing recon. i keep forgetting to try this place even though it's right near by.
                      the menu seems to focus on street food/snacks but i saw they have dosas so i am going to have to get one.
                      you know, for research purposes...

                    2. senorita's mexican bar and grill is opening in the new "saba center" strip mall on anderson mill.
                      it's right near the jollyville fire dept., before the pond springs intersection.

                      i have no idea why they felt the need to build a brand new strip mall when there are so many vacancies in all the other strip malls in the area.

                      couldn't find anything online about the restaurant, but i am curious.

                      1. Yummitaco is now open. Sad to say, it was not worth the wait.

                        Had the special, which was a bulgogi taco and fried rice, along with a bottled Dublin Dr Pepper for about $4 and some change. The bulgogi taco didn't celebrate the flavors of the Korean bulgogi and instead buried them in a mountain of cilantro and way too much lime juice in two storebought corn tortillas.

                        The fried rice was white rice with some chopped scrambled egg and frozen corn & peas.. I didn't detect any soy sauce and the rice was too mushy (gotta dry that cooked rice out before you fry it). Even Panda Express does this better.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: verily

                          that's sad to hear.
                          they had a coupon in one of the austin blah blah blah free magazines that show up in the mail.
                          sounds like the food may be irredeemable though.

                          1. re: dinaofdoom

                            I was disappointed since it's something new and interesting near work. I might give them a second shot within a month or so...hopefully they're watching their reviews.

                            1. re: verily

                              did you see this thread about north austin food trucks?
                              one of them is chi-lantro.
                              maybe it's not too far from your work?


                        2. In the old Habana Calle on E. 6th St. (across from Boiling Pot) a new beer garden with a bakery (!) is going in to be called Easy Tiger. Not sure how well a bakery will do well in that location but hey, the more bakeries we have the better.

                          Boiling Pot
                          700 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701

                          1. There's a place called Monkey Nest coffee shop opening on Burnet Rd, north of north loop. Where Bethesda resale used to be (and before that, Dan's #3).

                            Farther north on Burnet (north of Ohlen), there's a trailer called "Danny's BBQ" that appears to be open. I saw a fairly serious smoker on the rig, so it might be good. Haven't yet tried it.

                            2 Replies
                              1. re: ieathereforeiam

                                Thanks! I passed that info onto my neighbors. It's at the end of our street, and I imagine they will be interested.

                                It sounds cool - I'm excited.

                            1. Was driving down 183 today and noticed a sign up for Ivy's Deli in the shopping center at Spicewood Springs (the one with Asia Cafe and Big Lots). They have a website: www.ivysdeli.com

                              Looks like a combo frozen yogurt shop & Asian restaurant. Lots of interesting sounding dishes including Taiwan hot dogs, congee, roasted eel, and century eggs(!).

                              Has anyone tried it yet?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: verily

                                thanks for mentioning this place--
                                i've been craving chen's and was gonna get down there.
                                now i have another option.

                                i think taiwanese hot dogs are a sausage stuffed in a larger sticky rice sausage?

                              2. Noticed a sign for 'Brickhouse Tavern and Tap' at the old Joe's Crab Shack location at 183 and Duval. From a quick web search, seems like a chain to compete with Bone Daddy's across the way.

                                Bone Daddy's
                                11617 Research Blvd, Austin, TX 78759

                                Joe's Crab Shack
                                2401 S Interstate 35, Round Rock, TX 78664

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ssouth

                                  I was wondering what was going into that spot. Too bad it is a Bone Daddy's clone (Hooters with BBQ).

                                  Bone Daddy's
                                  11617 Research Blvd, Austin, TX 78759

                                2. Construction on another P Terry's Burgers began at the corner of Ben White and S. Congress, next to the Shell gas station.

                                  1. News from Burnet Rd.

                                    The aforementioned Monkey Nest Coffee is now open - http://www.monkeynestcoffee.com/

                                    S. Austin hot dog trailer Man Bites Dog is renovating the old Little Caesar's next door to Sarah's. He has video diaries of the construction on his site.

                                    Lucky J's is back in the neighborhood, taking over the former Sandwich Joint.

                                    Across the street is a weird 3-in-1 place. A Subway, Marco's Pizza (an Ohio chain), and a frozen yogurt shop.

                                    Dickey's BBQ, a DFW area chain, has opened on the ground floor of the 5350 apartment building.

                                    The Sandwich Joint
                                    5035 Burnet Rd Ste 100, Austin, TX 78756

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: brentwood

                                      Its seemed like I literally just ate at Sandwich joint then I was biking past it yesterday and I did a double take. They got the sandwich joint folks out of there fast and got the Lucky J's in there quick.

                                      I am also really looking forward to Man Bites Dog.

                                      Viva La Burnett!

                                    2. What is up with Hong Kong Market at Parmer and Metric? I think this place is already doomed even before it opens.

                                      12 Replies
                                      1. re: sqwertz

                                        that place has had an opening soon sign for at least 2 years.
                                        haven't been over there in the past 3 months.
                                        but, i'm assuming from your post that it hasn't changed.

                                        1. re: dinaofdoom

                                          No, It hasn't. i spoke with one of the subcontractors and he said they were making a mad rush to get it open now. But that was over a year ago. From the looks of it they just don't have the cash or credit and nobody wants to risk giving them any labor or materials up front.

                                          1. re: sqwertz

                                            it would be closer than driving to chinatown on lamar.

                                            1. re: dinaofdoom

                                              Is that the one where the Randalls used to be? I thought it was already open? We went in to browse about a year ago. It seemed pretty bare because the space was so large, but they didn't use it all.

                                              1. re: chowin

                                                It has never been open to my knowledge.

                                                But yes, it was where the Randalls used to be. It's been subdivided into a Goodwill and Hong Kong Market (maybe).

                                                This is weird - they have a facebook page that says it's open:

                                                Doesn't the banner still say "Opening Soon"!?!? I have never seen anyone come in/out of there and visit that shopping center often!

                                                1. re: sqwertz

                                                  This is a classic. One of the largest, most specialized grocers in town has been open for almost a year and the most elite and informed [cough] group of foodies doesn't even know.

                                                  Well, *I* certainly feel dumb!!! I will be there Friday with my dunce cap on.


                                                  1. re: sqwertz

                                                    I went to the Tea Lounge in the same shopping center about a month ago. HK Market was most definitely not open at the time and honestly the signage had given me the impression that it had been closed for good, not waiting to be opened.

                                                  2. re: sqwertz

                                                    The last entry on FB that I saw was October 2010, so I guess it was open then but has since closed.

                                                    1. re: danny_w

                                                      maybe we blinked and missed it?
                                                      it's not like i am in there every day, but i do go to that shopping center about once a month or so.

                                                      1. re: dinaofdoom

                                                        Boy, they really botched that endeavor. I wonder if people *knew* it was open if it would have survived. I was going to go there tomorrow but I guess not. Maybe I'll go to the original store instead. Friday's I usually hit Chinatown MT but this will give me an excuse to go to Sunflower or Din Ho, too. I live in San Leana and don't drive so getting northward is not a trivial matter.

                                                        1. re: sqwertz

                                                          El Tacorido is going into the old Baby Greens location on the northwest corner of S. 1st St and Oltorf.

                                                          Also, a few years back MPH was all over a place called Don Juans that eventually shuttered.

                                                          Well, if she still reads this board, take note, a place called Don Juan's [not sure if it's the same owners] has opened in the La Tapatia building [former Dairy Queen] on the north side of Hwy 71 a mile or two due east of I-35.

                                                          Baby Greens
                                                          2316 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78704

                                                          1. re: scrumptiouschef

                                                            Hey - what happened to MPH? Is she blogging somewhere?

                                        2. Korea Garden is no more. There's construction going on (one assumes they tore out the sushi train) and the new sign says AFin - Modern Japanese Tapas. No further info, only saw it from the road.

                                          Korea Garden
                                          6519 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78752

                                          1. amigos mexican grill going in at the artisan apartments on parmer (right near zakia's and subway).
                                            before this, it was the ill-conceived "tonic" bar and something or other.
                                            and before that, it was a seattle's best coffee location.

                                            this location seems as doomed as kahuna's, so i wish them well.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: dinaofdoom

                                              That name seems more fitting for a 'mexican' restaurant in the midwest, not in texas.

                                            2. New "Trailer Park Eatery" on Slaughter between Bilbrook and Palace. Is this a corporate name/franchise now? How many TPE's are there in town now?

                                              The lot is vacant and the sign announcing it is primitive. So it still has a ways to go if you compare it to the South First TPE.


                                              1. okay, here's the northwest austin happenings:

                                                1. tandoori hut on mopac changed owners and is now spicy monsoon, specializing in north and south indian plus pakistani food.

                                                2. cutie pies' first storefront on burnet will feature sweet and savory pies, quiches and soup.

                                                3. the owner of apna bazaar is opening maharaja indian cuisine in a space a few doors down from asia cafe. i'm excited about this because it will feature goan dishes and i love fish curry.

                                                4. shipley's do-nuts is opening a location with a drive through in the old jack brown cleaners location on anderson mill.

                                                5. chinese food chain master wok opens at the domain because there just aren't enough chains in that shopping center.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: dinaofdoom

                                                  Went to the grand opening of Maharaja Indian Cafe today. This is the place run by the owners of the Apna Bazaar Indian Market in the strip mall at the corner of Spicewood Springs and 183. They have always been so friendly and helpful so I am happy to report that the food was really good. The restaurant is in the same complex, in the back corner, and it is a nice casual place- order at the counter, they bring out your food. I had the chicken curry and loved it- nice slow burn. My husband liked the non-veg samosas a lot. The naan rocked as well. This place will definitely be in our normal rotation from now on.

                                                  1. re: mittenhead

                                                    thanks for the post-- i was wondering when they would open.
                                                    do you remember what else was on the menu?
                                                    i recall reading that there would be some goan specialties, which sounded interesting.

                                                    1. re: dinaofdoom

                                                      There were some fish items, which I believe are the Goan dishes, but since I don't like fish I don't remember the specifics. It is not a huge menu but covers most of the most popular dishes such as Tikka Masala in addition to the Goan items.

                                                      1. re: mittenhead

                                                        thanks. i will definitely check it out.

                                                2. South Austin needs more representation here.

                                                  Port a Cafe is open at Southpark Meadows (according to the paper). It's owned by... I forget who.

                                                  Mandolas next to CostCo is Open.

                                                  Sam's Club is building in Southpark Meadows (did I already say that? Tough!)


                                                  1. Just this morning I noticed construction at the old Tower Records at 24th and Guadalupe. There was a temporary sign that indicated it would be some sort of noodle place. The name began with Noodles or Noodle, but the rest of the sign was obstructed from my view. There is a lot of competition in that area, so hopefully this will give some of the competition a run for the money.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Royale

                                                      Saw a blurb about that space either in the chronicle or somewhere...cant remember. Anyway, it is supposed to be a noodle place, somethign else, and a qdoba which is a competitor to chipotle.

                                                      So it sounds like a small outlet of chain restaurants.

                                                      1. re: Royale

                                                        I think this must be Noodles & Co. I saw an article a few weeks ago that they were coming to Austin, but they hadn't announced a location.


                                                      2. Chuy's Panderia/Bakery between Big Lots and Dollar General at William Cannon and I35 (Academy Chopping Center). Opening April 30th. I don't think it's related to the Chuy's the restaurant, but maybe so (possibly a trademark problem in the making).


                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: sqwertz

                                                          There's absolutely no relation between the restaurant chain and the bakery. The original location is at 183 and Ohlen. Chuy is a great, CIA educated baker who worked at Mandola's before he broke out on his own. You'll find both traditional Mexican baked goods (better quality than you'll find elsewhere in town) and a good selection of better than average artisan breads. The North location also does a variety of tortas and tacos and such. They've expanded since I was last there, but I've had good experiences there.

                                                        2. Torchy's Tacos is opening up in the same strip center as HEB at 620 and Anderson Mill. It is going in where Salsarita's once was.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: missmitzi

                                                            I've been complaining about the lack of Torchy's up North. Glad to see one opening up right in my 'hood.

                                                            1. re: verily

                                                              i just excitedly told my co-workers.
                                                              it's not right nearby, but it's nearer than nothing.

                                                            2. re: missmitzi

                                                              Do you have any updates on this? No mention of this as a new location on their website.

                                                            3. Has anyone posted about this one yet? The only information I can find about it is the Facebook page. Looks like today is their first official day of being open.

                                                              Live Oak Barbecue & Beer: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Live-Oa...

                                                              1. There's a donut shop coming or going at Congress and Riverside next to World Liquors. The sign has been up for a while, but no action inside. It's too small a space to make donuts so I assume they're made someplace else. The place could have (had?) possibilities since a lot of people turn that corner on their way to work in the morning.

                                                                1. New Chinese Feedlot opening soon in the old Golden Corral at Rutland and Lamar:

                                                                  Thomas Buffet.

                                                                  I assume it's the same people that run Thomas Super Buffet in the Fry's parking lot. If that one is "Super" then I can't imagine what the "regular" is like. I'll stick to Fortune up at Chinatown a few blocks north when I need a feedlot..

                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                  1. re: sqwertz

                                                                    I saw a Tweet from Fortune that they are closing as of Memorial day (or the day before?) and will remain open as a rental venue with no catering.

                                                                    1. re: foodiegal71

                                                                      They're always packed on weekends for Dim Sum

                                                                      1. re: amykragan

                                                                        I know, it's so strange isn't it? I was thinking that it was going to happen next week, but it's actually this Sunday that's their last day.


                                                                        1. re: foodiegal71

                                                                          Oh that is sad. I have only been once and kept meaning to go back. I guess I'd better go tomorrow, that will be my last chance!

                                                                          1. re: danny_w

                                                                            That sucks. It was my preferred place for dim sum. Good variety, nice service, decent prices.

                                                                            1. re: verily

                                                                              It really is sad news. I loved the dim sum there also. Nobody in town does curried squid better than Fortune.

                                                                        2. re: amykragan

                                                                          And on Fridays at lunch time (the only day I go, but often). They even lowered their price last time I went, charging only $6.95 instead of $7.95.

                                                                          That's weird.

                                                                    2. Here's one I can't figure out at all:

                                                                      KOSTA Chaparral and Eatery. The sign used to say "Trailer Park Eatery - Spaces Available".

                                                                      It's at Slaughter and United Kingdom between the newly cleared lot and a paint and body shop.

                                                                      1. On the west side of I-35, just south of 290, there's construction on an old restaurant outside one of the hotels. I'm pretty sure the sign said Amaya's. Anyone know anything else? Are they closing across the street at Capital Plaza? Opening a second location?

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: brentwood

                                                                          Supposedly they are moving to that location. My wife got tacos a month or so back from there and they mentioned they were moving.

                                                                        2. Just this morning I noticed scaffolding around the old Louies 106 location in the Littlefield building at 6th and Congress. It may just be work on the building in general, but I hope the space is being renovated for an exciting new eatery. Anyone know?