Every month, Community Impact Newspaper features a locally owned and operated restaurant. In our spotlights, we look to share the story of how every restaurant came to open its doors and what inspires the vision of its kitchen masters.
As 2019 comes to a close, Community Impact Newspaper would like to revisit those features. Here is every restaurant our Northwest Austin edition wrote about over the past twelve months.
Don Don Express
Don Don Express’ menu ranges from fried rice to don or rice bowls, ramen and a type of Japanese omelet stuffed with fried rice called omurice. Although owner Jerry Lai finds inspiration from Japanese food and other Asian cuisines, he said he also likes to experiment by putting his own spin on classic dishes. His creations include a curry-based ramen, a kimchi-based ramen and his “cheese ramen,” which incorporates Spam.
Crawfish Shack & Oyster Bar
Besides using fresh seafood that owner Hiep Nguyen’s brother supplies from the Gulf, the Crawfish Shack also focuses on its secret blend of spices to add a depth of flavor in the crawfish, Nguyen said.
*Red’s Porch closed the last of its Austin locations in October.
Red’s Porch owner Davis Tucker said the restaurant’s menu reflects his childhood in South Texas with Tex-Mex and Southern influences. Popular dishes include a street taco platter with smoked brisket, shrimp and pork; chicken-fried chicken with gravy and mashed potatoes; and hamburgers made from Angus chuck, brisket and short rib.
Conan's Pizza has been serving deep-pan and thin-crust pizzas to the Austin community since 1976. Its North Austin store off Burnet Road is celebrating 40 years in business in 2019.
Moonie’s Burger House
Every month, Moonie’s owner Jay Roush and his staff roll out a new burger with loads of different ingredients. In May, Moonie’s served up its Italian Stallion burger, made with a ground beef and pork patty, a house-made ricotta spread and other Italian staples. Two months prior, the restaurant rolled out an Irish burger topped with Dubliner cheddar cheese, corned beef, sauerkraut and Russian dressing on a pretzel bun.
Shandeez Grill & Elisa Pastry
Shandeez Grill is one of just a few restaurants in Austin serving Persian cuisine. The restaurant’s menu, which was greatly expanded a handful of years ago by Ellie Meschi, features classic Iranian dishes, such as khoresht ghormeh sabzi, a popular stew.
Oakwood BBQ & Beer Garden
“We just wanted to have a good home feel to our location but also be somewhere people could come drink in the backyard and hang out [and] have amazing barbecue at the same time,” Oakwood BBQ owner Lyndsie Delong said. “People will travel for good barbecue.”
Brama’s menu is rounded out with a roster of authentic ethnic dishes. Head chef Tim Muench introduced to the menu his grandmother’s Hungarian goulash a rich, brothy stew made of prime chuck beef and root vegetables, all seasoned with paprika and caraway.
Monitos Mexican Grill & Cantina
Customers return for Monitos’ signature “Austin’s best” enchiladas, owners David and Velinda Hertwig said. The menu offers a half-dozen variations of enchiladas for diners, including enchiladas bandera, which feature enchiladas covered in red, white and green sauces to emulate the Mexican flag.
Now just over a year old, Himalaya Kosheli dishes out cultural cuisine from owner Devi Bhetuwal’s native Nepal. Bhetuwal opened the restaurant alongside his longtime friend and compatriot Bhim Limbu, who has taken over as head chef after a decade of experience cooking at other local Indian cuisine establishments, Saffron and Bombay Bistro.
Garden Spot Cafe
After more than two decades of service, Garden Spot Cafe owners Raymond and Cindy Choi decided the old deli could use something new: breakfast.