The Austin Chronicle


Winter is killing us, but at least there are some hot new restaurants to look forward to

By Virginia B. Wood, February 14, 2014, Food

I'm a fifth-generation Texan, and one of the reasons I love living here is that we have no winter to speak of. If we get enough chilling hours for the peaches to set fruit and the bluebonnets to blossom, that's plenty of cold weather for me. That's why this winter has been so annoying – it came early, overstayed its welcome, and refuses to go away. I was grumbling about the cold last week when I accidentally caught a video clip of a frustrated, snow-shoveling 4-year-old yelling, "Jesus, make it warm!" at an overcast sky. I was rewarded with a much needed, restorative laugh. I want to thank whomever posted the video, and I hope the kid's prayer is answered.

Some friends joined me for the media soft opening at the new Crave restaurant (340 E. Second) over the weekend. It's the first Texas outlet of a Minneapolis-based fine-dining chain and has taken over the spot vacated by Roy's Hawaiian across the street from the Convention Center. Chef Frank Johnson, who spent the past few years with the Roaring Fork restaurants here, is the executive chef, and the menu offers certified Angus beef steaks, seafood, and a full sushi bar. Crave opened to the public on Feb. 10 and joins the recently debuted Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken (117 San Jacinto), the Southwestern-style chavez (111 E. Cesar Chavez), and the newly rebooted TRIO at the Four Seasons (98 San Jacinto) in the Downtown dining sweepstakes.

Things at Noble Sandwich Company are in transition. The original store is closed this week so that the business can move into a new, much larger, and more convenient location at 12233 RR 620 N. Co-owner John Bates tells us they've taken over part of what was VIVO restaurant and given it a completely new look. The new store will have a much bigger and more efficient kitchen as well as more sales counter space and indoor seating for up to 50 guests, in addition to a comfy patio dining area. Bates says they're shooting for a Valentine's Day opening, but it could be Monday, Feb. 17. Meanwhile, fans of the Noble Sandwich can donate to the continued renovation of their new Midtown space at 4805 Burnet Rd. via the Greenman perks portal, a new crowdfunding platform that provides restaurants, bars, and artisan food companies the opportunity to offer perks and rewards in exchange for financial support. Noble Sandwich hopes to raise money to finish restoration of their new space and has all kinds of taste-tempting perks available at The coolest thing about this particular funding platform is that whatever amount of money is raised is funded to the business, whether or not the funding hits the stated goal. We're told the first Greenman campaign for the upcoming Yard Bar generated over $37,000 for the dog park, eatery, and bar.

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