Don’t let the new signage fool you. Not much has changed at one of Central Austin’s longest-running Italian restaurants.

Jay McBride has been firing pizzas in Central Austin for two decades under the banner Brick Oven on 35th. Now he’s ready to make his own name. The restaurateur has ended his franchisee relationship with Brick Oven pizza and is now operating his restaurant at 1608 W. 35th St. at Cucina on 35th.

Cucina has added some new wood-fired pizzas, pastas, entrees, salads, sandwiches and desserts to its roster of favorites.

McBride said in a release that going out on his own would allow him to make independent business operation decisions, add more of his wife’s favorite family recipes and specialties to the menu, and more effectively pivot the business to the carry-out/delivery-dominant service during the pandemic.

The restaurant will also continue its Buy a Nurse a Meal promotion that it started in March. The program allows customers to buy meals for area nurses for $8. The restaurant was inspired to create the program after one of its servers who works for Dell Children’s during the day explained how the hospital staff was working long hours and sometimes didn’t get a chance to eat. Cucina on 35th general manager Honor Campbell says the restaurant has donated more than150 meals to frontline workers at Seton Ascension, St. David’s, Dell Seton, and Dell Children’s hospitals.

"We have been here supporting the community since 2000, and continue to do so during the pandemic," McBride said. "Most importantly, we’ve not yet had to furlough any employees. I want to make sure we can take care of our customers, our employees and our community, and this decision allows us to do just that."

Cucina on 35th currently offers curbside pickup and limited dine-in and intends to add catering in the coming months.

McBride had operated the Brick Oven location near the Medical Center since 2000. The original Brick Oven, which opened on Red River Street in 1982, closed in March, while the 10710 US 183 location remains in operation.