Keeping track of every brand new restaurant and bar in Austin is enough to make you a little dizzy. Which is why we put together this guide to all the new restaurants and bars that seem like they have the most potential. Although keep in mind, for the ones we haven’t tried, we make no promises. Go forth and be a pioneer.
We’ll be regularly updating this guide, and adding a note whenever we review a spot, or add it to our guide to the best new restaurants in Austin, the Hit List.
The incredibly popular breakfast food truck, Paperboy, recently moved into a new building near 11th and Navasota. The larger space has allowed them to expand their menu a bit to include more than just breakfast items, so now you can get things like cheeseburgers, BLTs, and falafel. Of course the breakfast menu still exists, full of toasts, pastries, and breakfast sandwiches like the ever-popular B.E.C. (bacon, egg, and cheese). They’re currently open for takeout from their sidewalk-facing pickup window, and accepting reservations for dine-in service in the restaurant or on their rooftop patio.
Verbena is a new restaurant inside the recently-opened Canopy by Hilton hotel on West 6th, from the chef behind East Austin’s Juniper. The menu is mostly French and Mediterranean-inspired, with an emphasis on local, seasonal vegetables. There’s a large indoor dining area as well as a bar and lounge area that overflows into an open-air courtyard. They also have a grab-and-go coffee counter with all the typical coffee and espresso-based drinks, plus house-made pastries and breakfast sandwiches.
If you’ve found yourself dreaming about Olamaie biscuits at any point in the last few months that they’ve been closed, you’ll be excited to know they’ve temporarily converted the Campus-area Southern restaurant into a biscuit-based sandwich shop called Little Ola’s. So in addition to those ever-popular off-menu biscuits, you can get them in sandwich-form and convince yourself you’re getting a more balanced meal. There’s a variety of options, from the more breakfast-forward sausage, egg, and cheese, to a deep-fried chicken thigh and honey biscuit sandwich that will make Whataburger’s Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit feel like a long-forgotten memory.
Low Down Lounge is a new bar on East 6th (it’s the space where Brixton used to be). The bar features a retro, 1970s design, and fun drinks like the Tropical Depression made with Gosling’s dark rum, passion fruit, lemon, and sadness. We’re not entirely sure what sadness tastes like, but we’re hoping it goes well with citrus. They’re currently selling frozen mixed-drinks, cocktails, beer, and wine for takeout.
Palomino Coffee recently opened up on the East Side, near 12th and Springdale. In addition to a standard menu of coffee and espresso-based drinks, they carry Flat Track coffee beans by-the-pound, cold-brew growlers, Veracruz tacos, and Sour Duck pastries. They have a small patio out front, and are currently open daily from 8am-2pm for takeout.
The highly-anticipated ramen shop Sazan recently opened for takeout and delivery in the Highland neighborhood. They had originally planned to focus solely on tori paitan - a specific type of ramen broth made from chicken bones - but instead they are offering a pared-down menu of standard or spicy paitan ramen, with a broth made from both pork and chicken bones. You can also pick up dumplings made by their neighbors at Steamies Dumplings next door.
Try Hard is a coffee shop that opened up in the recently-shuttered Blue Dahlia space on East 11th. The drinks menu has most of the standard coffee shop fare, and there’s also a menu of signature beverages, like a coffee cola made from coffee shrub and Big Swig sparkling water. They carry made-from-scratch pastries as well as breakfast and lunch tacos on house-made flour tortillas. Keep an eye out for their weekend specials, like this brisket & biscuits collaboration with neighboring food truck, J Leonardi’s Barbecue.
Neighborhood Sushi is the latest opening from the folks that brought you Perla’s, Clark’s, Jeffrey’s, and nearly a dozen more restaurants in Austin. It’s a casual sushi restaurant on South Congress that also offers small Japanese-inspired plates with Texas flavors, so you can expect things like Texas sweet corn with togarashi or grilled Texas Wagyu with broiled sansho-shiro miso. They’ll also be offering a happy hour on weekdays as well as a daily omakase at the sushi bar. There’s also a small outdoor “sake garden” facing Congress where they’ll be serving a pared-down menu of small plates and drinks.
Huckleberry is a new food trailer operating out of the parking lot at Circle Brewing near the Domain. Their menu highlights Gulf Coast ingredients, focusing mostly on po-boys, seafood platters, and fried fish. They also have a rotating menu of daily specials, like Korean hot fish sandwiches, caviar fries, and ceviche.
Located in the Asian grocery superstore H-Mart, Narrow Street is a new Korean restaurant with a number of Korean soups, noodles, and barbecue dishes. They also have daily specials, like kimchi stew and spicy chicken soup.
The former Nancy’s Sky Garden location in Austin, near 290 and Cameron, has pivoted to a poke restaurant. The ownership hasn’t changed, so you’ll still be able to find some of your old Nancy’s favorites, like their sweet potato noodles, but now they’ll be the base for a mound of raw, marinated fish.
The latest outpost of Austin’s favorite breakfast taco mini-chain recently opened up at The Line Hotel downtown, on Congress and Cesar Chavez. Food is served from a takeout window facing the sidewalk, with tables available nearby on the hotel patio.
For fans of Asian-Cajun seafood, Kasian Boil recently opened two locations, in North Austin and Cedar Park. They’re offering weekend specials, like all-you-can-eat crawfish, as well as a variety of seafood platters with shrimp, crab, and crawfish.
From the folks that brought you the ever-popular Italian food trailer, Patrizi’s, Vic & Al’s instead focuses on Cajun food. They’re located right across the street in the former Unit-D Pizza space on Manor Road. Currently they’re offering a pared-down takeout menu consisting of meats like fried chicken or blackened catfish, served as a po-boy, rice plate, or salad.
At Turnstile, the focus is equal parts coffee, beer, and craft cocktails. They’re located near Burnet and 183, right near the Domain and the site of Austin’s future soccer stadium. Right now they’ve extended their patio onto their lawn, so there’s plenty of open-air seating. They also carry Easy Tiger pastries, for when you need a little snack to accompany your drink of choice.
You probably won’t be visiting Phantasma Kitchen anytime soon, but they may be visiting you. They operate out of a commercial kitchen “somewhere in Austin” (but secretly, near South Lamar and Menchaca), selling Roman pizza as well as wings, sandwiches, and salads for delivery. There’s an option for pickup as well, but no storefront for dining in.
While most music venues in Austin have closed for the time being, Sagebrush - South Austin’s newest music venue from the folks behind White Horse - has opened their doors. There’s a large indoor space and stage, as well as an outdoor stage in the building’s former parking lot. For now, all music will be on the outdoor stage and capacity will be limited.
The highly anticipated Holdout Brewery from the folks that brought you Little Brother, Brew & Brew, and Better Half recently opened their doors for takeout, with a limited menu of smash burgers, hot dogs, and canned beer. They share a large outdoor patio with sister restaurant and bar, Better Half, so you’ll be able to order from both menus when operations eventually start to pick back up.
Yoru Sushi quietly opened up for business in early May to dine-in and takeout customers. Their menu focuses mostly on sushi, with a wide range of nigiri and sashimi options, including a chef’s choice omakase. There’s also a few less traditional offerings as well, like tapioca duck fat fries and sushi nachos
The chicken-focused food truck, Fowl Mouth, recently opened at The Far Out Lounge near Slaughter and I-35. The menu has a variety of wings and tenders, but the star of the show here appears to be the fried chicken sandwich, topped with shaved kale and jalapeño aioli. Most of the menu can be made vegan as well.
The Rolling Rooster recently opened up their second Austin location on the East Side, in the former Historic Victory Grill space. Their specialty is chicken and waffles, but there’s also a full menu of sandwiches, oxtails, wings, and fried fish and shrimp.
20Pho7 is a new food truck serving pho as well as a number of pho-inspired dishes. What exactly is a pho-inspired dish? Think pho French dip sandwiches and filet mignon pho tacos, or “phocos.” They’re located near Oltorf and South First Street.
Steamies has been selling handmade Chinese dumplings at local farmers’ markets for a couple of years now (both frozen and cooked), and they recently opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant in the Highland neighborhood during the lockdown. For the time being, everything comes frozen with easy-to-execute cooking instructions. There are a variety of wontons, soup dumplings, barbecue pork buns, and potstickers.
Pho MPH is a new Vietnamese restaurant in the Triangle that had its grand opening just days before the city went into hibernation. They’re currently operating for dine-in and takeout, serving a variety of Vietnamese staples, like pho and banh mi, as well as poke bowls and boba tea.
The new vegan coffee shop, Dear Diary, opened its doors for takeout and delivery in mid-April, near 12th and Chicon. Currently, they’re selling a variety of coffee beverages and plant-based pastries and sandwiches. Eventually, they aim to operate as a creative space, with abundant outlets and a communal diary.
The idea at Wanderlust Winery was to open as a bar with self-serve wine on tap, though parts of that are unfortunately on hold. Instead, they’re temporarily operating as a virtual wine class with a limited selection of bottles for pickup at their storefront near I-35 and 6th St. We’re excited to see what self-service wine on tap looks like, but in the meantime we’ll keep learning about wine.
House of Three Gorges has been open for takeout and delivery for a couple of months, with an extensive menu of classic Sichuan dishes, ranging from popular items like chongqing chicken and beef with broccoli, to less common specialties like Sichuan fish with pickled mustard greens or Yangtze sauteed pork intestines. They’re located near 183 and Ohlen, in the same shopping center as Din Ho and Ramen Tatsu-Ya.
The following restaurants were added to our Openings Guide before the Shelter-In-Place order went into effect. As the current situation is constantly changing, we encourage you to call before visiting.
There’s a new trailer on Rainey Street from the people behind Better Half called Bummer Burrito, and it’s conveniently parked right next to their tiny all-day cafe/bar Little Brother. As you might guess from the name, the trailer serves burritos, including a breakfast burrito, and one with chili cheese Fritos and nacho cheese.
Just north of campus, Sip Pho is a new fast-casual Vietnamese restaurant in an impressive new space with vaulted ceilings. It’s by the same people who run Pho Please on East Riverside, and they’re serving dishes like pho, bun bo hue, vermicelli bowls, and banh mi.
The latest project to open in the new Austin Proper Hotel downtown - The Mockingbird - is from the people behind restaurants like June’s, Elizabeth Street Cafe, and Swedish Hill. The Mockingbird is a counter-service café serving coffee, pastries, falafel, and rotisserie chicken, a more informal counterpart to The Peacock in the hotel that opened back in January. It’s currently only open for breakfast and lunch.
Reunión 19 is a new Mexican restaurant over on the East Side. The chef is from Los Angeles, and the menu reads more West-Coast-inspired than most Mexican spots in town, with dishes like aguachile, tuna tostadas, and mulitas. They’re also really committing to tacos, as you can tell from their phone number - (512) 455-TACO (8226) - and the very subtle #TACOLOVER light fixture in the dining room.
LoLo is a new wine bar on East 6th St. Technically it’s Austin’s first wine bar totally dedicated to natural wine, and it’s from the people behind Hotel Vegas and Volstead Lounge. Part of the bar is a bottle shop for purchase to go, and the wine list is affordable, with glasses starting at $10 and bottles starting in the $30s. There’s a big backyard patio with picnic tables.
We checked out LoLo and added it to our Hit List.
Located in the shady backyard of Batch Craft Beer & Kolaches is Taco Bronco, a new food truck from the team behind Micklethwait Craft Meats, one of the best barbecue spots in town. It’s a taco truck with a barbecue bent, so homemade corn and flour tortillas meet brisket, smoked boar sausage, carnitas, and barbacoa. Batch’s brewhouse is nearly up-and-running, and they’ve already started serving their own beers.
We checked out Taco Bronco and added it to our Hit List.
The next time you need a quick thing that’s also healthy, remember there’s a new location of the fast-casual grain bowl restaurant Honest Mary’s in Central Austin (the first was out in the Arboretum). You can choose your components in a Chipotle-like method, or if you’re paralyzed by choice like some of us are, there are “signature bowls” where everything is picked out for you. Most everything is locally-sourced, and there’s cold brew, beer, wine, and kombucha, all on tap.
Down on the corner of South Lamar and Oltorf is Bouldin Acres, a beer garden with food trucks (including a new location of one of Austin’s best taco trucks, Pueblo Viejo. Formerly a two-acre car dealership, it’s basically an adult amusement park, with live music, two pickleball courts, and every backyard bar game imaginable, including corn hole, giant chess, giant Jenga, and giant Connect 4. It’s pet-friendly and kid-friendly.
Out in the Hill Country – and literally down the road from Jester King – is the new brewery Beerburg Brewing Company. The founder used to be the head brewer at the now-shuttered Uncle Billy’s. There’s a beer hall with a full kitchen serving tacos, sandwiches, and more, as well as a fenced-in dog park.
Tenten is a sleek-looking sushi restaurant downtown from the people behind the recently-opened lounge Devil May Care. There’s also sake, cocktails, and grilled meats and vegetables.
After a very extensive year-long remodel, the North Lamar location of the always-busy Mexican/Tex-Mex diner Taqueria Guadalajara finally reopened. Give the Rundberg Running Man (the guy often found on the corner of Rundberg and Lamar running, rapping, and dancing) a high-five on your way out.
Little Deli, the popular Crestview pizza restaurant and sandwich shop, opened a new location in the very pizza-starved neighborhood of Windsor Park.
There’s a new addition to north Austin’s brewery district: Hopsquad Brewing Co. Located in a former warehouse with rollup windows up on Braker Lane, the huge brewery space is full of beer garden tables and, as a bonus, it’s super dog-friendly, inside and out. Beers on tap include Austin-themed varieties including Comtesse De Duval Saison and Dutchess of Oltorf Roggenbier. Also outside is the new food truck Tsuke Honten.
In Hopsquad Brewing Co.’s parking lot, you’ll find the food truck Tsuke Honten with Japanese-style bites. Sort of in a soft launch, they’re currently serving small dishes like garlic chicken wings, chili prawns, and short rib skewers. Soon they plan on launching an 11-course/$29 per person omakase.
The people behind June’s, Elizabeth Street Cafe, and Swedish Hill are rolling out a series of projects in the new Austin Proper Hotel downtown. Up first is The Peacock Mediterranean Grill, an all-day Israeli and Turkish-inspired restaurant and bar. There’s also Goldie’s Sunken Bar, but that’s for hotel guests only at the moment.
We checked out The Peacock and added it to our Hit List.
After drawing crowds at farmers markets all over Austin, there’s now a Julie Myrtille Bakery brick-and-mortar over in the East Austin development Springdale General. There are pastries, cookies, and macarons, as well as more lunch-y type options like croissant sandwiches and super-butter quiches. the hours are limited for now, 10am-12pm.
Hestia is a new restaurant downtown from the people behind Emmer & Rye, with a menu primarily focused on stuff coming off the grill. Other than larger grilled dishes, there are also crudos and a separate snack menu with small dishes ranging from $3-$16.
We checked out Hestia and added it to our Hit List.
Beer and barbecue are a pretty perfect combo. John Mueller of the Mueller barbecue dynasty opened up shop at Granger City Brewing Company. Order a flight of beers alongside all the smoked meats, including his epic beef ribs, and maybe most importantly, his legendary cheesy squash.
Housed in a historic warehouse space, Central Machine Works is a massive new beer hall, brewery, and live music venue in East Austin. There’s also an enormous outdoor beer garden and a full bar. The menu is simple, beer-friendly food like pretzels, cheeseburgers, and pizza.
The Meteor is a lot of things: it’s a bike shop, an all-day cafe, a Roman-style pizzeria in which you pay by the pound, and a natural wine shop, all in a charming space on South Congress.