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20 restaurants opening in Austin and Central Texas in 2022

Matthew Odam
Austin American-Statesman
Pasta|Bar will be located in downtown Austin.

Update: The entry on the proposed Spring Fed concession at Zilker Park has been updated. The City of Austin Planning Commission denied the proposed vendor's request for a conditional use permit to sell alcohol at the concession. There is no set opening date for Spring Fed.   

Two celebrated Los Angeles-area chefs who entered the Austin market a year ago for what they thought would be only a brief run are committing themselves to the area for the long haul. They'll have plenty of company in 2022.

Scratch Restaurants chef-owners Phillip Frankland Lee, Margarita Kallas-Lee and their partners intended to open Sushi|Bar, an extension of their Los Angeles-based brand, as a brief pop-up in East Austin a year ago. But the incredible success of the theatrical omakase led them to keep the intimate restaurant — located inside Bento Picnic and fueled by social media love from the likes of Joe Rogan — up and running. 

The success at the Austin outpost led the married chefs to buy out their restaurant group partners. The deal left the chefs’ partners in control of the Austin Sushi|Bar, but it has also inspired the couple to open two more restaurants in the Austin area. 

Chef Phillip Frankland Lee and wife/partner chef Margarita Kallas-Lee, center, have had success in the Los Angeles area with intimate tasting menu experiences.

Lee and Kallas-Lee intend to open a downtown Austin location of their Pasta|Bar in March. The tasting menu restaurant will put a local spin on dishes inspired by the Italian coast, serving 10 guests in an intimate space that has not yet been announced. Their original Pasta|Bar location, opened in 2020 in the Los Angeles area, earned a Michelin star after its first year in business. 

The entrepreneurial chefs, whose restaurant group is built on “experientially driven fine dining,” according to their website, will also continue their pursuit of creative sushi, with plans to open the omakase restaurant Shokunin in the Fitzhugh Road area near Dripping Springs in summer 2022. 

“Since starting out, we’ve never had a chance to completely feel like what we were doing was for us, as we always felt the pressure of needing to satisfy shareholders,” Lee said in a statement. “Having the freedom to now take the reins on our future means we get to do what feels right to us from here on out and for that alone we could not be more grateful.”

More restaurants slated to open in Austin and Central Texas in 2022

As the hospitality industry slowly crawls out from underneath the weight of the pandemic and weathers continuing challenges like the omicron variant, the year ahead presents quite a bit of promise. Some long-gestating projects look to be finally ready to take flight; successful operators are adding new locations and introducing brand new projects; and small towns beyond Austin's city limits are attracting new-to-the-area talent. 

New restaurants in Downtown Austin

Grey Diner Bar and Grey Market

Location: 506 San Jacinto Blvd. inside the Thompson Austin hotel 

Principals: Chef Mashama Bailey and John Morisano

Concept: Celebrated Savannah chef Bailey, whose restaurant the Grey has earned loads of national praise, will operate the Grey Diner Bar, which will have a more cohesive dining experience than the original in Savannah, according to the chef. The restaurant serves snacks like Hoppin' John and fried chicken. The partners have long described their Grey Market as a North-meets-South hybrid of a bodega/lunch counter. 

Expected opening: January/February

More information: Famed Georgia chef Mashama Bailey opening Grey Diner Bar and Grey Market at new Thompson Hotel in Austin

Local Foods

Location: 454 W. Second St.

Principals: Owner Benjy Levit, partner/culinary director Dylan Murray and partner Martin Berson (an Austinite and founder of Snap Kitchen). 

Concept: First Austin location of the Houston-based counter-service restaurant serving fresh, seasonal, chef-driven entrees, salads and sandwiches.

Expected opening: Spring

Uchibā  

Location: 601 W. Second St.

Principals: Chef Tyson Cole of Hai Hospitality

Concept: Japanese whisky bar with a small-bites food menu that includes yakitori grill items and Uchi classics. The original opened as a sister concept in Dallas. 

Estimated opening: Fall

A team led by Hot Luck founders Aaron Franklin and James Moody are reintroducing the Uptown Sports Club on East Sixth Street as an all-day bar and restaurant.

New restaurants in East Austin

Cosmic Saltillo 

Location: 1300 and 1302 E. Fourth St., inside the preserved Texas Oil Co./Texaco depot

Principals: Owner Paul Oveisi, Jason Stevens and Patrick Dean

Concept: The operators of Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden bring their indoor-outdoor coffee, beer and cocktail bar and courtyard concept to East Austin, along with a taqueria, Cosmic Tacos, inspired by the owners' experiences in Southern New Mexico, El Paso/Juarez and San Diego/Tijuana. 

Expected opening: Summer

Este 

Location: 2113 Manor Road, in the old Eastside Cafe space 

Principals: Suerte’s Sam Hellman-Mass (owner) and Fermín Núñez (executive chef) 

Concept: Mexican-inspired seafood restaurant featuring a charcoal grill from the team behind one of the best Mexican restaurants in Texas. 

Expected opening: Spring

Mi Trailita y Mas

Location: 5706 Manor Road

Principals: David Salinas and his mother, Maria Santos Rodriguez

Concept: The operators of one of the city's best taco trucks is expanding with a brick-and-mortar spot near their original mobile operation, serving tacos, gorditas, quesadillas and more.  

Expected opening: January

More information: facebook.com/mitrailitaymas

Uptown Sports Club

Location: 1200 E. Sixth St. 

Principals: Aaron Franklin, James Moody, Michael Hsu, Tenaya Hills and Jason Jones

Concept: The hospitality-all-star team led by Hot Luck founders Franklin and Moody will reintroduce East Austin to the historic East Sixth Street building, which will now serve as an all-day bar and restaurant with a food menu that will include gumbo, po'boys (fried shrimp, roast beef debris) and other Louisiana-inspired dishes. 

Expected opening: Fall

More information: All-star hospitality team that includes Aaron Franklin to revive historic Uptown Sports Club 

Gabriela's Group, co-founded by Gabriela Bucio, brought its colorful take on the taqueria, Taquero Mucho, to North Austin this month.

New restaurants in North Austin

Taquero Mucho

Location: 11101 Burnet Road

Principals: Gabriela's Restaurant Group (Gabriela's, Seareinas)

Concept: Second location of the taqueria that got its start in the old Frank & Angie's spot in the western end of town, serving a menu that includes tacos, enchiladas, ceviche and cocktails. 

Opened: In January

More information: taqueromuchoaustin.com

New restaurants in Northwest Austin

Mama Betty's Tex-Mex y Cantina

Location: 9900 W. Parmer Lane, Suite 220

Principal: Jason Carrier (Dizzy Rooster, Chuggin' Monkey and Dogwood)

Concept: Tex-Mex restaurant specializing in homemade tortillas, fajitas and margaritas, like the Houston restaurant Ninfa's, for which Carrier and his mother, the eponymous Betty, both worked for years. 

Expected opening: Spring

New restaurants in South Austin

Lou's

Location: 1608 Barton Springs Road

Principals: McGuire Moorman Lambert Hospitality

Concept: Family-friendly Americana roadside restaurant serving burgers, chicken tenders, Soft Serv and pitchers of beer.

Expected opening: Spring

Spring Fed

Location: Barton Springs Concessions (2131 William Barton Drive)

Principal: Chef Shawn Cirkiel of Parkside Projects (Parkside, Backspace, Olive & June) 

Concept: Austin-inspired snack bar serving burgers, tacos, salads, beer and wine just steps from Barton Springs Pool.

Jan. 14 update: The City of Austin Planning Commission denied the request for a permit to sell alcohol at Spring Fed. "On October 26, 2021, the Planning Commission voted against the Conditional Use Permit for Parks and Recreation Services (Special) Use for the sale of beer and wine at the Zilker Cafe at Zilker Park," according to a spokesperson for the City of Austin parks and recreation department. "PARD is currently negotiating with the vendor on an amended agreement. The negotiations have been ongoing for a couple months and we're still working out details. Any start date would be dependent on coming to an amended agreement with the vendor."

Tacodeli

Location: 5701 W. Slaughter Lane, Suite B-150

Principals: Co-founders Roberto Espinosa and Eric Wilkerson

Concept: Tacodeli expands into South Austin with its familiar menu of tacos and more. The space will feature interior design by Lilianne Steckel. 

Expected opening: Jan. 22

New restaurants in Southwest Austin

Ling Wu Asian Restaurant

Location: Lantana development on Southwest Parkway

Principals: Chef Ling Qi Wu

Concept: The chef behind Qi, which earned a spot on our 2021 list of best new restaurants in Central Texas, will bring her popular takes on Chinese classics, along with some "grandmother recipes" to her third area restaurant, joining Qi and Lin Asian Bar + Kitchen. 

New restaurants in Fredericksburg

Alla Campagna 

Location: 342 W. Main St.

Principals: Side Street Hospitality, John Washburne

Concept: Modern German restaurant Otto’s in Fredericksburg has been one of the Hill Country’s best restaurants for almost a decade. The hospitality team behind that restaurant will open a rustic Italian restaurant with a menu of pizzas, pastas, rotating seasonal dishes and Italian wines. 

Expected opening: Fall 

New restaurants in Wimberley

Hildee's Texas Dine-Inn 

Location: 14111 Winters Mill Parkway

Principal: Chef Ryan Hildebrand

Concept: Former Houston chef Hildebrand, who had success running restaurants FM Kitchen & Bar and Triniti, is opening a casual Hill Country restaurant that fits into the broadly defined Texas bistro category. The restaurant, which will have a smokehouse component, but is by no means a barbecue restaurant, will feature a menu with dishes like brisket burnt end Rangoons; confit tomato pie with farmer's cheese; and smoked salmon with black pepper biscuits.

Expected opening: First quarter

More information:hildeeswimberley.com

New restaurants in Dripping Springs

Unnamed food hall and bar concept 

Location: 3799 U.S. 290

Principals: Austin Java and Southside Flying Pizza 

Concept: Austin Java, which previously occupied this space, has teamed with Southside Flying Pizza for a food hall that will include barbecue, taco, craft beer and dessert concepts. 

Expected opening: Spring

New restaurants in Round Rock

Buddy's

Location: Corner of Old Settlers Boulevard and Sunrise Road

Principals: Twin siblings Zain and Isha Fidai, and their cousin, Saad

Concept: Second location of the affordable drive-thru smashburger-and-shakes concept that made our 2021 list of best new restaurants in Central Texas

Expected opening: Fall