January: Pizzeria Grata
Pizzeria Grata’s brick oven, small kitchen and a few bar seats are tucked into the back of Beatniks Market & Cafe on Menchaca Road in South Austin. Owner Diego Batista said in the last year since opening in December 2019, neighborhood residents have not only found the pizzeria, but they have also helped it thrive in a time when most restaurants are going through extreme challenges.
April: Quack's Bakery
Quack’s Bakery has been an Austin institution since 1983, when Captain Quackenbush’s Intergalactic Dessert Co. and Espresso Cafe opened on Guadalupe Street near The Drag.
May: Thai Taste
Thai Taste manager Sumitra Buasuwan said many Thai restaurants offer food that is Thai-inspired but more American or a fusion with another cuisine. Her family’s goal is to give Southwest Austin customers a chance to taste exactly what they would find if visiting Thailand.
June: Pinthouse Pizza
The genesis of Pinthouse Pizza began with a passion for craft beer shared by friends long before the restaurant opened.
July: Kerbey Lane Cafe
That "coming home" feeling turns literal when stepping through the doors of the original Central Austin location on Kerbey Lane, marketing manager Ellen Gruber said. The location is a renovated 1930s house that opened in 1980 and is the longest-standing location. The original owners, David Ayer and Patricia Atkinson, lived in an apartment behind the cafe with their son Mason Ayer, who is now the CEO.
August: Le Vacher
Lauren Weeks, marketing manager for Le Vacher, calls the restaurant her brother’s baby. Her brother, Jacob Euler, dreamed of opening a restaurant with high-quality French food in a casual, country atmosphere roughly five years before Le Vacher opened its doors in Dripping Springs in August 2020.
Each of their sandwiches exemplifies one of the family’s dogs. The bread is baked daily at a San Marcos bakery. The meat and cheese are sliced in-house. They also sell pizza, Amy’s Ice Creams and cookies from The Bearded Baking Co., another South Austin business.
October: Lebowski's Grill
The eatery is named for “The Big Lebowski,” a cult classic film from 1998 starring Jeff Bridges, set partially in a bowling alley.
Alger opened the first location at Highland Lanes 12 years ago with her friend Gabriel King, who frequented the business and noticed when the alley’s grill was vacant. Alger had young kids at the time, and was hesitant to make a move; she had owned restaurants before and knew how difficult it could be, but she also said she grew up in a family that owned restaurants and has a passion for the business.
Regional feature: House of Three Gorges
House of Three Gorges’ menu is filled out with authentic dishes from the Sichuan province of China. Members of the Li family, who own the restaurant, come from the adjacent Three Gorges region, and many of the restaurant’s dishes are served in houses along the Yangtze River, [co-owner Jim] Li said.
To close out the year, reporter Maggie Quinlan stopped by the Austin brewery Suds Monkey. An online version of the dining profile will be published this week, and an e-edition of the newspaper featuring the profile may be viewed here.