A prominent local restaurateur has taken to the radio, complaining about all the gloom and doom being reported in the newspapers and then a reader e-mailed last week to say he was tired of reading about "dot-com failures" and their impact on Austin's restaurant scene. Well, boys, all I can say in my defense is the news is just the news.
It's All Good
A prominent local restaurateur has taken to the radio, complaining about all the gloom and doom being reported in the newspapers, and then a reader e-mailed last week to say he was tired of reading about "dot-com failures" and their impact on Austin's restaurant scene. Well, boys, all I can say in my defense is the news is just the news. Restaurants are closing every week; part of the reason is that people who did have disposable income to spend in restaurants have been laid off and aren't spending money in restaurants the way they did two years ago. However, let me say that new restaurants seem to be springing up about as fast as the old ones are closing, so I've packed as much good news in one column as I possibly could. In mid-July, big man Ray LeMay opened the second Ray's Steakhouse (3010 Guadalupe, 478-0000; 13376 Hwy. 183, 219-9990) in a former Shoney's location. A friendly spot called Franco's Restaurant & Cantina (1209 E. 7th, 474-4550) has taken over the building vacated by Nuevo Leon (1501 E. 6th, 479-0097) when they moved south to expand. The East and West Coast phenomenon of waffles and chicken never quite caught on in South Austin, causing APD policeman Roy Henry, owner of Roy Henry's Famous Waffles & Chicken, to sell out to the barbecuing Gratten brothers. Gary and Ted Gratten have expanded their popular South First Bar-B-Cue (1815 W. Ben White, 326-9328) into Henry's roadside space and given it a bright new coat of red paint. Chef Ped Phommavong's pan-Asian cuisine has proved to be such a hit in Lakeway, he's opening a second LemonGrass Asian Bistro (1310 RR 620S, 263-2221; 601 W. 6th) in the former Tocai just west of the Warehouse District later this month. The owners of Chango's Taqueria (3023 Guadalupe, 480-8226) recently signed a deal to open another taco outlet with a third still in negotiations. The South First Mexican food mile has a new entry with the tiny Fonda San Angel (501 W. Mary at S. First, 851-1196) serving Interior Mexican cuisine at breakfast and lunch weekdays. The folks at Glazing Saddles christened the local second Krispy Kreme Donuts (701 E. Stassney, 851-8888) outlet in late July. The Garcia brothers have finally opened the second Curra's Grill (614 E. Oltorf, 444-0012; 6801 Burnet Rd., 451-2560) to the delight of their north central Austin neighbors. Fans of Ethiopian food will be glad to hear Aster Kassaye, former owner of Aster's Ethiopian restaurant, is now preparing some of her specialties at the WorldBeat Cafe (600 W. MLK, 236-0197) near campus. We've received word the former Airport Haven Hamburgers (6800 Airport) has taken on new life with a menu of Indian and Pakistani cuisine. Eddie V's Edgewater Grill (301 E. 5th, 472-1860) inaugurates a series of wine dinners this Monday, Aug. 13, with a special five-course menu paired with selected wines from the Jackson family's Stonestreet and Cambria vineyards in California. Call for reservations. The proprietors of Chez Nous (510 Neches, 473-2413) are thrilled to announce their restaurant is once again approachable from the newly reopened E. 5th Street.
Plenty of local foodies joined Jean-Luc and Denise Salles for the "last supper" at their lovely downtown bistro on July 31. We feasted on some of Jean-Luc's greatest hits; new chef/ owner Shawn Cirkiel and his family will reopen the restaurant as simply Jean-Luc's Bistro (705 Colorado, 494-0033) on Tuesday, Aug. 14.