Looking ahead to the most anticipated restaurant openings of early 2014
Okay, I can now say I've had an In-N-Out burger. Aside from the sauce, which I liked, and cops directing traffic into a hamburger stand, which made me laugh out loud, the experience was unremarkable.
The year is racing to a close, and I can't help but feel that time seems to be moving faster because in order to have restaurant "news" to report, we spend so much time talking about projects that won't even have a location secured until way out in the future. Actual restaurant openings were once news; now we report on nascent concepts. It used to be that concepts were only announced months in advance when the restaurateurs needed media exposure as chum to raise money. Wonder if that still happens?
Anyway, here is a lightning round of updates on future projects in various stages of development that we've had our eyes on this year: The building at 2406 Manor Rd. has been released to the tenants for build-out, so look for Sugar Mama's Bakeshop & Dessert Cafe and Dai Due Butcher Shop & Supper Club to be open there in the spring. John Bates says they plan to move into the new Northwest location of Noble Sandwich Company (12233 RR 620 North) in February and that the opening of the midtown Noble Sandwich (4805 Burnet Rd.) is still caught on a snag in the city permit process, so he's thinking spring for that one. No confirmed location yet on Jodi Elliott's Bribery, but Launderette and Angry Bear, both from Rene Ortiz and Laura Sawicki, have found a home at 2115 Holly St. (formerly the KleenWash laundromat).
Midtown Thai food lovers will be happy to know the long-awaited reopening of Titaya (5501 N. Lamar Ste. C-101) is scheduled for Jan. 11 and that a second outlet of Sap's Fine Thai Cuisine (5800 Burnet Rd.) will open later in the month. Sommelier Vilma Mazaite and Executive Chef Allison Jenkins hope to have their Provençal-inspired laV (1501 E. Seventh) open in time for Valentine's Day with breads, pastries, and sweets from pastry chef Janina O'Leary. Pastry chef and Director of Culinary Operations Philip Speer reports that April/May is the target date for the opening of the new St. Philip (4715 S. Lamar) pizza parlor and pastry shop. Speer and his team of bakers will also be doing some cooking and baking in the wood-fired pizza oven and expect to offer a full line of table and sandwich breads, breakfast pastries and treats, plus retro-inspired, nostalgic desserts with modern twists. Chef Grae Nonas, one of the partners in the upcoming Southern eatery Olamaie (1610 San Antonio), now says the target opening date is late winter/early spring. Folks at the Radisson Hotel on Lady Bird Lake say they expect Shawn Cirkiel's new Southwestern-inspired Chavez (111 E. Cesar Chavez) restaurant to open in late January. Denizens of the Second Street District will be able to drop into Cafe Ruckus (409 W. Second), the new spot from restaurateur and spoken word performer Keith Ruckus, starting in late January. Look for sandwiches, salads, pastries and desserts, tea and coffee, local craft beers, and Texas wines.
Longer-range plans call for the creation of two new restaurants in late 2014 in the currently under construction IBC Bank Tower (500 W. Fifth): Wu Chow, a Chinese concept from the Swift's Attic team, and Fixe, a Southern roots-inspired eatery from chef James Robert and manager Keith House, both formerly of Eddie V's. Looking south of the river, the new East Side King (2310 S. Lamar) brick and mortar opened yesterday with a menu of ESK "classics" and tacos, plus beer, wine, and sake. The opening of gelateria Dolce Neve (1713 S. First) has been pushed to late January. We're told that even if the Lamar Union center developer turns spaces over to the Alamo Drafthouse and the HighBall in January as projected, the ultimate build-out of those two reopenings could take well into the spring. The same is probably true for Emmett and Lisa Fox's new Cantine, chef Joe Anguiano's Vox Table, and the nationally famous Shake Shack, also projected for that center.