Winebelly

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During Ryan Fulmer’s 25-year residence in Austin, he said he has seen many original neighborhood restaurants fall victim to the city’s changing tides.

Those are the same restaurants that helped make Austin a “foodie” city in the first place, Fulmer said. That is why he and four business partners decided to open Winebelly two years ago at an unassuming location on Oltorf Street.

He said he recognizes the restaurant’s spot—nestled between a gas station pizza place and check-cashing store—might keep expectations low for newcomers, but he warns customers not to judge a book by its cover.

“We’re not flashy and not trying to do the newest tricks,” Fulmer said. “By design we wanted to have a restaurant that’s very ‘South Austin’ and has a very ‘South Austin feel.’ You go to other places down the road, and you don’t have that same feeling.”

Fulmer, a 15-year Bouldin Creek neighborhood resident, said the majority of his business comes from South Austinites.

“Every so often, you don’t want to go downtown, have to wait, pay valet and pay more than you would at a neighborhood spot,” he said, estimating the longest wait is typically 15 minutes.

Wine Enthusiast Magazine recently named Winebelly a top 20 wine bar nationally, an honor Fulmer said validates his and his team’s efforts to offer affordable wine in a neighborhood setting where rent is also more affordable.

“I’ll put my wine prices up against anybody,” he said.

The early success has Fulmer and Winebelly co-owners—chef Buulinh Liu, Quang Chow, and Eric and Robert Tran—contemplating a second location in the next year.

But for now, Fulmer’s focus following the restaurant’s two-year anniversary is on improving service for Winebelly’s returning customers, which he said makes up roughly 90 percent of all patrons.

“It’s been better than we thought. The first year was great, and the second year was even better,” he said. “We’ve had more business than we thought we would this soon.”

Pan-seared scallops

Winebelly

Two scallops sit on parsnip purée and snow pea tendrils and are topped with pancetta breadcrumbs. (via Joe Lanane/Community Impact Newspaper)

Winebelly is known for its tapas, or small plates. Pan-seared scallops ($21) are among multiple seafood dishes on the tapas menu. Two scallops sit on parsnip purée and snow pea tendrils and are topped with pancetta breadcrumbs.

 

Brick Chicken

Winebelly

The Brick Chicken combines a dark-meat cut of chicken with baby kale panzanella, polenta croutons, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and pickled red onions. (via Joe Lanane/Community Impact Newspaper)

Another item from the tapas menu, the Brick Chicken ($13) combines a dark-meat cut of chicken with baby kale panzanella, polenta croutons, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and pickled red onions.

 

Roasted beets salad

Winebelly

Winebelly also serves an heirloom tomato salad that includes peaches, balsamic, mint and pine nuts. (via Joe Lanane/Community Impact Newspaper)

Multiple salads are on the menu, including the roasted beets ($9), which are served with honey labneh, frisee and pistachio pesto. Winebelly also serves an heirloom tomato salad that includes peaches, balsamic, mint and pine nuts.

Winebelly

519 W. Oltorf St.
512-487-1569
www.austinwinebelly.com

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Joe Lanane
Joe Lanane’s career is rooted in community journalism, having worked for a variety of Midwest-area publications before landing south of the Mason-Dixon line in 2011 as the Stillwater News-Press news editor. He arrived at Community Impact Newspaper in 2012, gaining experience as editor of the company’s second-oldest publication in Leander/Cedar Park. He eventually became Central Austin editor, covering City Hall and the urban core of the city. Lanane leveraged that experience to become Austin managing editor in 2016. He managed eight Central Texas editions from Georgetown to San Marcos. Working from company headquarters, Lanane also became heavily involved in enacting corporate-wide editorial improvements. In 2017, Lanane was promoted to executive editor, overseeing editorial operations throughout the company. The Illinois native received his bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University and his journalism master’s degree from Ball State University.
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