As far as I know, there aren’t currently any Cuban restaurant concepts in downtown Austin proper. Well, there WASN’T before this week, anyway. There’s a new one popping up in the warehouse district, where the now defunct Stack Burger Bar used to be (one of the restaurant concepts owned by the now infamous Yassine Enterprises).
Jude and I ride the Amtrak Texas Eagle from Austin to Little Rock at least once a year to visit my family.
We get a private cabin and find train travel to be a great alternative to the hassle of air travel – the slower pace IS the luxury. We bring several books and just enjoy a relaxing day of reading and appreciating the scenery.
But, DAAAAAAMMMMNNN! – Now that I’ve seen Patron Billionaire John Paul DeJoria’s private passenger railcar up close and personal, while enjoying sips of $600/bottle Patrón Burdeos and noshing on delicious tex-mex cuisine, every single other travel experience I’ve ever had pales in comparison. Shout out to Michael Tashnick (local hero and owner of the best Austin sports bar) for extending the invite to us.
The railcar, originally built in the 1920s and owned by DeJoria since 1996, has been lodged at the Amtrak station just to the west of downtown Austin since last week (if you live at The Spring Condos in downtown Austin and face west – you may have seen it through your window), and last night Patrón held a special, intimate gathering to promote their fine, fine liquor and show off The Patrón Tequila Express. I ate to my heart’s content, took a ton of pictures (including one with the billionaire himself – I die!), and reveled in all the cool stuff (special things happening all the time, that don’t make it to the mainstream) that happens in Downtown Austin!
I think the pictures speak for themselves! (Many thinks to friend and Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association President Mitchell McGovern for sharing some of his pics, too!). Just FYI, this was pretty much Jude and I’s reaction faces the whole time we were in the train:
Gallery after the jump…. [Read more...]
I’ve been watching 87 Rainey for some time, and I’ve been anxiously awaiting to try No Va Kitchen and Bar since I first saw the TABC notice on the door in May 2012.
Well, it’s finally open, and I had the chance to try it last night. Despite the name, the restaurant / bar concept is a definite go.
So many things to like! First off, there’s a celebrity chef component (Brad Sorenson of The Next Food Network Star fame), AND he’s really friendly! Second, more FOOD on Rainey (which, as a Rainey resident, is very near and dear to my heart and stomach). The food is tasty and not crazy expensive!
Named after the touches of Copper decorating the interior of the bar, CU-29 is the latest craft cocktail bar to hit the downtown Austin scene. Located near Brazos Place Condos and across the street from the Omni, this little gem is a great place to order a fancy cocktail after a long day at work. Prices run from about $10 (and up) per drink AND people who live or work downtown ALWAYS get 20% off!
Agora is closed.
It was a rocky start and a quick ending to the sports bar on East Ave. Agora’s massive footprint, copious parking, and out-of-place architecture raised questions about what the concept would be really be. “Is it a strip club?” was an all-to-common refrain.
Turns out it really was just a sports bar, albeit one out of place in downtown Austin’s burgeoning Rainey Street neighborhood.
Perhaps the final blow to the struggling venue was last month’s decision by the City of Austin Music Division to revoke Agora’s Outdoor Music Venue permit, after receiving too many noise complaints.
What’s next? Our intel has it that the 18,000 sf CBD-zoned site is now for sale.
UPDATE 8/31/2013: No Va is OPEN for Business! Check out pics and my review HERE.
UPDATE 7/1/2013: Just got a note from Brad Sorenson with an update on what is going on with NO VA -
Things are getting really close now. Construction is pretty close to complete with inspections taking place and little odds and ends being finished. I have started hiring for the kitchen and we should be training with in a couple weeks. I don’t want to make a guess on when an opening date will be until we have set it in stone on our end.
Remember that mega post I did on what’s happening on Rainey Street? In the post, I talked about 87 Rainey Street located in the Rainey Street District of Downtown Austin, and how I had not heard any updates on just what exactly was going on in that space. Well, that must have hit Brad Sorenson‘s (the head chef of the new concept, perhaps more widely known for his stint on The Next Food Network’s Star) Google Alerts, because he promptly posted a comment on the Blog saying things were still a go for the restaurant concept.
Which was great, but I wanted more info – so I emailed him and asked if we could meet. I was actually very surprised when he said okay.
So we met. Last week. And, let me just say this – the guy OOZES affability. He’s also real, real tall.
I was absolutely charmed, I will admit – but not only by him as a person, but also by what he told me about NO VA.
First off, NO VA is the name (there’s a space in between “O” and “V”, 2 words), not NOVA, as it’s previously been reported. There’s actually a cute little story behind the name, too, Brad tells me. ”No va” is what the owner of the business said when he looked at the house at 87 Rainey Street when he initially purchased it, in late 2009. He said “No va”, because, at the time, [Read more...]
I have been honored to have served on the host committee for Goodwill Industries of Central Texas’ 2012 Ghoulwill Ball event, being held at The W Hotel in downtown Austin tomorrow evening. Helping promote a very worthy cause (GICT’s mission is to generate lifelong connections to work) has been rewarding. All proceeds of this event will go to GICT. Free food, free drinks, a killer DJ, at one of the swankiest downtown hot-spots, AND you get to dress up in a Halloween costume. I couldn’t think of a better time!
And, if you live in The Residences at The W – you can literally just stumble home after the party.
Buy your tickets here.