87 Rainey Street Downtown Austin Update: NO VA (not NOVA) to Open End of 2012 (Hopefully).

87 Rainey Street Downtown Austin Update: NO VA (not NOVA) to Open End of 2012 (Hopefully).

nova-rainey-austin-tx

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…]





The Rainey Street Rundown: A MEGA Post of (Almost) Everything That’s Happening in the Rainey District

The Rainey Street Rundown: A MEGA Post of (Almost) Everything That’s Happening in the Rainey District

79-rainey-street-bangers-austin

The Rainey Street District in downtown Austin has been a hotbed of activity lately, from new apartment high rises, to an influx of new bars – things are really happening in Rainey.  So, we thought it helpful to put together a property-by-property guide about all that’s going on.  Everything we know about Rainey Street to date [mostly] in one place – this post!

This picture of the Rainey Street has each lot numbered with its numerical address. Look below to the corresponding number to see the skinny on the lot.

51 Rainey Street, Austin (address not shown on map, across from the Milago Condos), Austin Skyhouse apartments

The ABJ reported on the imminent ground-breaking of the Austin Skyhouse Apartments last month.  Being built by Novare-Andrews Urban, the same group behind the successful 360 condos, the 20,000 feet of ground floor retail is rumored to include a Royal Blue Grocery.

[Read more…]





G’Raj Mahal Cafe Will Expand Onto Rainey Street Proper

G’Raj Mahal Cafe Will Expand Onto Rainey Street Proper

73-Rainey-Graj-Mahal-Austin

One of our favorite Rainey Street restaurants, G’Raj Mahal, yesterday publicly announced plans that they would be setting up a second location at 73 Rainey Street.

From their Facebook Page (link) announcement:

The Graj is sooo excited to announce a second site in progress. The trailer remains but we have long out-grown our kitchen demands and plan to expand just down the street on Rainey. It’ll mean faster service!!! and we will get to finally cook up some new things, too!

Below is a picture of the property they are expanding into.  It’s on the east side of Rainey Street, next to the leaning house, two doors north of Javalina.

We’re wondering if they are going to end up moving all of their operations to 73 Rainey, and if the existing 91 Red River (at Davis Street) will be assembled into a larger development. That’s just us speculating. Most importantly, I would love to see the Austin Bike Zoo remain part of the vibe.

We asked Sidney Roberts, owner of G’raj Mahal, if they were going to rehab the house at 73 Rainey and if they were going to use an interior kitchen.  She responded, and also gave some insight into how service will work at the new location:

the house on 73 will be adapted so we are actually going to have a built-in trailer of sorts facing the interior of the house but “parked” in the graj…that meets city standards for restaurants…the majority of seating will remain outdoor though with improved cooling and heating capacity and we will have a small amount of indoor seating, a wine/beer bar, and indoor bathrooms…byob will still remain at the current space and we can cater parties that wish to to that…the trailer will have a simplified menu and will operate as a more standard trailer…walk-up service, but the seating and other accommodations will be there

Sidney also said that, depending upon city approvals and funding, they hope to have the new location up and running by the new year.

For a detailed review of the original location, including more pictures, the menu, and other important information about eating at G’Raj Mahal, be sure to checkout DAB’s review of G’Raj Mahal in Austin.





ZOMG – Topfer Theatre at ZACH Theatre Brings Austin Theatre Back to the Forefront of Austin Culture

ZOMG – Topfer Theatre at ZACH Theatre Brings Austin Theatre Back to the Forefront of Austin Culture

Be on the lookout for performance of famous balcony scenes to happen at this exterior, front-facing balcony of the theatre.  I'm also told that the balcony will actually end up being made of glass, rather than the metal pictured here.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a personal tour of ZACH Theatre’s new mainstage, The Topfer (pronounced top-fur) Theatre earlier this week.  This theatre allows ZACH to truly make the jump from a small professional theatre to premiere regional theatre by providing a new, state of the art performance facility as part of downtown Austin’s already growing culture and arts scene. Downtown Austin needs a real regional theatre, and this structure and the excitement it will bring to the theatre and arts community is a huge step in the right direction.

Per an article in the Austin Chronicle (link) – ZACH Theatre had been contemplating building a third theatre in its complex as early at 1985, when they held over some funds from that year’s bond election to help fund building a third theatre.  In 2000, the economy stalled, putting the project on hold, but,  through a kick-start of funding of $10 million through the 2006 City of Austin bond election, and then fueled by direct private donation – the project was revived in 2007.  Overall, it’s a $22 million project, and they still need to raise about $2 million for completion.

The ZACH Theatre compound falls within the Zilker Neighborhood Association, but it is easily accessible to downtown Austin condos and homes and, really, feels like a part of downtown to many. I was told the ZNA was supportive the variances Zach Scott needed to build the Topfer Theatre.

As a college Theatre Major and all around theatre nerd, I was soooooo impressed with the Topfer Theatre and Kuykendall Stage.

Some tidbits:

  1. Celebrated Austin actress Karen Kuykendall has her ashes kept under the stage, isn’t that crazy?! (What’s even crazier is that there are no “r”s in “Kuykendall”!)
  2. The Topfer Theatre has a LEED Silver Certification
  3. Over 70 new parking spots have been added to the ZACH Theatre compound
  4. 40 new trees were added to the lot, as well
  5. The AC and other mechanical components of the theatre have a separate foundation from the stage – this is to minimize any possibility of noise and rumbling during performances.
  6. The theatre’s design is taken from the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago (the house is a little narrower)
  7. The theatre house seats ~420
  8. The theatre was designed by the same architects who did The W – Andersson-Wise Architects
Now, for the good stuff – the pictures (please note that the theatre is still having final touches done to it – not fully finished yet)!

For more incredible pictures and theatre fun facts – check out Bryan Kosarek’s Gay in Austin Texas Blog.

—————————————

Interested in searching for Austin homes for sale in or near Downtown Austin?  Be sure to check out our property search to view Austin homes for sale.

Additionally, here are some condominiums in Downtown Austin that are near the theatre – to learn more about these individual buildings, visit their pages:

 





Banger’s in Rainey Street District Downtown Austin – MENU, Review, Video, Pics

Banger’s in Rainey Street District Downtown Austin – MENU, Review, Video, Pics

BangersHouse

Today was the grand opening of Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden in the Rainey Street District of Downtown Austin.  Our office at the The Shore Condos is just a stone’s throw away, so we wanted to support one of the most anticipated venues coming to the ‘hood. We went, had a beer and some grub, and really just enjoyed the perfectly chill vibe, despite the crazy, terrible, make-me-want-to-stab-my-eyes-out heat.

Some will say this is Rainey Street’s answer to  [Read more…]





The Best Pedicure in Austin (that I’ve had so far….)

The Best Pedicure in Austin (that I’ve had so far….)

Hiatus Spa Austin

This past Sunday, I had the best manicure / pedicure that I’ve ever had.  I had the service at Hiatus Spa + Retreat, a spa concept headquartered in Dallas, but with a location on the ground floor of the Gables on West 5th – just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from Downtown Austin.

The whole experience there is top-notch from beginning to end, actually – but the actual service is just different enough from the other places that I think it deserves to be called the best.

There are two things that make it different than any other manicure / pedicure I’ve every had.  The first thing is [Read more…]





Glee. (Indirectly) Making Downtown Austin a Little More Environmentally Friendly

Glee. (Indirectly) Making Downtown Austin a Little More Environmentally Friendly

St. David's should totally enter the O. Henry Pun Off

Oh, Glee.  I  sometimes enjoy you, but often I am overcome with shame for watching you.  But, last week –  you actually accomplished something useful.  Because of you, Glee, I finally recycled my big ol’ bag o’ batteries.

Okay, let me explain. See, up until last week, I had been keeping this huge Ziploc bag stuffed with used up AA batteries under my kitchen sink.  I didn’t know where to take them and I always seemed to forget to Google a nearby location. So, the bag o’ batteries just kept getting bigger.

And then I started seeing this Glee PSA about recycling batteries.  Over. And over. And over again. [Read more…]





New Oil & Vinegar Retail Concept Opening Across from The W in Downtown Austin

New Oil & Vinegar Retail Concept Opening Across from The W in Downtown Austin

Owners Jeff & Tabatha Conarko

A unique boutique is opening its second location on May 10th, 2012, right across the street from The W Hotel and Residences on Lavaca (the first location is in The Arboretum, and opened in 2009) in Downtown Austin.  No, it’s not another fancy dress store or whimsical gift shop.  This time, it’s a niche [Read more…]