Radio Coffee’s New, Music-Focused Montopolis Location Opens Today

Radio/East unveils fall concert calendar on indoor and outdoor stages

Radio/East's new indoor stage, set up for cafe seating, at 3504 Montopolis Dr. (Photo by John Anderson)

Walking up to the still-under-construction Radio/East last week, I’m greeted by Grace Rowland of Austin band the Deer touching up a wood-burned sign reading “All Are Welcome.” It features tiny cartoons of townie celebs including many musicians, from Britt Daniel to Magna Carda. She’s also drawn in regulars from Radio Coffee & Beer’s original Menchaca Road spot, to greet them at the new location.

Set up in a renovated Forties house at 3504 Montopolis Dr., the offshoot Radio/East opens today, Oct. 18. Emblematic of the hangout’s morning-to-night offerings, the grand opening offers free drip, espresso, or cold brew for the first 100 folks through the door; happy hour prices all day; and music by the Bluegrass Outfit at 4pm. Alongside a continued focus on cocktails and coffee, Radio/East welcomes a fleet of food trucks in Veracruz All Natural, Shortwave Diner, and Side Eye Slice.

Grace Rowland's wood-burned welcome sign (Photo by John Anderson)

While sticking to Radio 1.0’s Twin Peaks-inspired wood paneling and cozy cabin vibe, the new space considerably expands on two fronts: parking and concert bookings. Alongside owner Jack Wilson and general manager Trey Hudson, the ownership group adds Rick Pierik of local Nine Mile Records & Nine Mile Touring to up music venue operations on indoor and outdoor stages.

“I was looking for like 8 years for something that could either be the small version of Radio or the big version of Radio, and this is the big version,” says Wilson. “It was all really about the old-house vibe, and then some trees, and parking. Parking was our number one complaint.”

Radio/East's new covered outdoor stage (Photo by John Anderson)

Pierik adds: “When [Jack] and I started, we looked at Spider House, the North Door, the Buzz Mill on Seventh – all these places. But we just couldn’t find that combination, or the aesthetic, until this place.”

They plan for four nights of local and touring acts a week. A locally sourced fall calendar kicks off Thursday with Sunrosa, Guma, and Feeling Small on the covered, wooden, 16-by-20-foot outdoor stage. Currently setting a capacity of 600 to 700 fans, tickets are on sale for upcoming performances by Nuclear Daisies, Caroline Rose, and Money Chicha, as well as A Giant Dog Halloween show and a DAWA benefit featuring Latasha Lee. Envisioning a two-stage backyard setup similar to the Far Out Lounge, the team hopes to eventually set up a larger temporary outdoor stage for even bigger, 1200-capacity shows.

“We’d like to be a lot more ambitious,” says Pierik, who runs his own boutique booking agency. “Radio has carved out such a great niche in the indie folk world, but I would like to bring as diverse a lineup as possible here that will still be viable. We’re really doing more ticketed shows, more high profile acts.

“It’s always been a fantasy to be a part of a club. It’s the only thing I haven’t done. I manage, I book the Deer into clubs, I’ve just never been on the other side of it.”

Photo by John Anderson

Taylor Hull, music promotions vet previously of the Red River Cultural District and Mohawk, also joins the Radio team as marketing manager. She’s especially excited about the coffee bar’s non-alcoholic offerings during shows. As for Wilson, he hopes to avoid the long line that often interrupts the original shop’s acoustic gigs with Radio/East’s backyard ordering window.

And for those accustomed to hanging out for hours on the Radio patio over its past 9 years, Radio/East’s front and indoor seating will stay open during ticketed shows.

“We actually just had an interview with someone who’s writing a story about third places, about Radio being a place that’s not necessarily work or home, and you’re not pressured to leave,” says Wilson. “I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s exactly what we are. Thank you.’”

A mural by Austin-based artist Dan Grissom (Photo by John Anderson)

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