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Food-o-File

More openings on the horizon

By Virginia B. Wood, Fri., Feb. 7, 2014

Food-o-File

Well, here we are with another flurry of restaurant openings, reopenings, and adjustments. As always, bear in mind that opening dates are a moving target due to the city of Austin's permit process. After a couple of weeks of serving hotel guests, and a well-attended media party, Shawn Cirkiel's new Chavez (111 E. Cesar Chavez) at the Radisson opened to the public on Monday. The new space is striking, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Lady Bird Lake, and an inviting menu of Southwestern, Mexican, and Texas flavors... Speaking of local hotel restaurants, word is the Driskill Grill will emerge from a few weeks of closure while the kitchen was getting some "enhancements" and should be open this week with executive chef and master sommelier Troy Knapp at the helm.

Also coming Downtown is the first Texas outlet of the Minneapolis fine dining chain Crave (340 E. Second). The American cuisine and sushi restaurant has taken over the long-shuttered Roy's Hawaiian space near the Convention Center and opens to the public on Feb. 10... Sap Apisaksiri expects the second location of Sap's Fine Thai Cuisine (5800 Burnet Rd.) to be debut on Friday, Feb. 7... Titaya's legion of devoted fans finally had their hope and patience rewarded when the newly remodeled eatery reopened earlier this week.

The Hightower (1209 E. Seventh) opened quietly a couple of weeks back and partners Chad Dolezal and Victor Farnsworth, formerly of El Arbol, are serving dinner Tuesdays through Sundays and have added a happy hour from 5-7pm... While driving on the Eastside over the weekend, I spied a new sign at The Silo on Seventh (1300 E. Seventh) as well as a notice in the window that hiring has begun. I am anxious to see what been done to the revitalize the old Tony's Tortilla Factory and to check out the view from the Silo's rooftop patio.

Continuing east, we noticed some final touches being added to the new home of LaV (1501 E. Seventh), which we hope means they'll hit their projected mid-February opening date... After an opening month of packed-house, 300-covers-per-night business, Odd Duck (1201 S. Lamar) now offers lunch service Monday through Friday, from 11:30am-2pm. Owner Bryce Gilmore says he still plans to add brunch and late night service at some point in the future, but he'd first like to get his staff accustomed to the added volume of lunch service before taking on anything else.

When money for local real estate development began to flow again, it was bound to have an impact on the proliferation of local food trailer courts that had popped up on vacant lots around the central city. Now that some of those properties are back in development play, food truck operators have been shuffling and relocating, trying to find the best spots for both parking accessibility and foot traffic. The newest spot on the horizon is The Picnic food trailer court (1720 Barton Springs Rd.) on the tree-shaded site of the former Mobile Manor RV trailer park. Look for eight vendors to be set up in the court when it opens in March.

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