The Barriers Are Down @ W Hotel Residences

I walk or bike past this construction area several times a week, yet only a few days ago I noticed the obvious… the pedestrian walkways are gone, as is the temporary sales center.  Of course, this is now old news, but this is still a positive signal that the building is approaching completion of the exterior – which will be great news for 2nd Street District!

As we reported back in April, the contractor is expected to hand the keys over to the hotel portion in September/October.  The doors won’t be open, but that should be the time when the hotel can begin to furnish everything.  The Austin City Limits venue and residential condos will be ready in Q1 of 2011.

2nd Street: New Violet Crown Renderings

2nd Street: New Violet Crown Renderings

Remember the announcement in April about another downtown Austin movie theater – Violet Crown? Since then, How Do You Roll has moved in, Z Pizza has moved out, and we now have a rendering of what the half-block could look like in upcoming months.

Thanks to Mike McGill for the heads up!


You are the Sushi Chef (Sort Of) at How Do You Roll Maki Sushi Bar in Downtown Austin – **MENU

You are the Sushi Chef (Sort Of) at How Do You Roll Maki Sushi Bar in Downtown Austin – **MENU

**No Substitutions**

This is a pretty commonplace statement on most sushi menus.  It’s a phrase that is representative of a little bit of rigidity, and, in my opinion, perhaps a statement even laced with a little vanity from the Itamae.

Well, How Do You Roll Make Sushi Bar on 2nd and San Jacinto in Downtown Austin made **me** feel like the the sushi chef. My sense, from their concept and their overall vibe was that they are focused on taking the pretension out of the sushi without sacrificing the taste.  Sushi – the Austin way.

How Do You Roll Storefront

So, my first visit was a little “Grand Opening” shindig they threw on Monday (Memorial Day).  I walked in, and was promptly greeted by:

You had me at sake bomb, How Do You Roll....

sake bombs!  Yay!  My experience was off to a great start.  While I was, ahem, **sipping** on my sake bomb(s), I got a little insight into the way things work at How Do You Roll.

The ordering system is set up semi-cafeteria style, where patrons stand in line in front of a “deli-style” selection of sushi goodies:

Sushi Deli

You then customize your maki roll, letting the preparer know what veggies (they also had some fruits – super cool!) and meats (for those who don’t do raw fish – they also have a selection of cooked chicken/beef meats that you can put in your roll) and sauces/spices YOU want in your roll. Completely customizable.

Then, right before your eyes, your special roll is prepared and cut and presented to you:

Made Right Before Your Eyes! Magical!

And THEN, in a matter of mere minutes, you are ready to eat fresh, delicious sushi. Yum!

I had a roll with fresh salmon, sprouts, cucumber, avocado, and spicy mayo. And it was good.

I liked it, folks.  I especially liked the price-point.  My 10 peice maki would have only been $6.45 plus tax.  Not too shabby.

And the vibe of the joint is fun.  They aren’t QUITE done with the decor, but it’s shaping up nicely.  Some pics:

Maki Inspired Lighting 🙂

Lots of Windows and Natural Light

Bright Colors Enhance the Overall Light/Fun Vibe

Yuen Yung (the CEO of the franchise location) and Myself

I would definitely recommend this place for lunch.  Good price point, quick & easy, and delicious sushi.  Also good for casual dates! Go support a local business that is trying to do something a little fun and a little different!

The Menu (double click once to get to the image screen, double click image again in that screen to make larger):

Downtown Austin Location: 454 W Second Street (San Antonio is cross street)

Just a word of advice, though.  Don’t mistake the wasabi for guacamole:

Art House Movie Theater Coming To 2nd Street District.

The Violet Crown art house theater is under construction, opening in December

At the west end of the 2nd Street District, directly above the soon-to-open How Do You Roll sushi restaurant, will soon be downtown Austin’s latest cinema – The Violet Crown. We reported back in January that 2nd Street District was getting a new movie theater. The Statesman’s Chris Garcia gets the latest info on The Violet Crown. Scheduled to have four screens, with bar/lounge, and opening in December.

The construction will actually expand the mezzanine level by a couple of feet over the sidewalk.

The Violet Crown should make a great addition to the district. At first glance it would appear they are taking on the Alamo Drafthouse head on. However, the Violet Crown might take on a more refined lounge-like experience, trading high ball glasses for buckets of beer.

The removal of the W Hotel’s street barricades this summer will unclog the pedestrian experience in the 2nd Street District, but will be especially welcome to the 400 block that includes BoConcept and La Condessa.