- Matthew Odam American-Statesman Staff
The barbecue spot with the country vibe is getting an address in the heart of the city. Rudy’s “Country Store” & Bar-B-Q is slated to open in late spring at 3918 N. Lamar Blvd. in the space occupied for 22 years by EZ’s Brick Oven and Grill.
It will be the fifth Austin-area location, and first in the center of town, from local restaurateurs Ken Schiller and Brian Nolen, whose K&N Management is the licensed area developer for Rudy’s. Schiller and Nolen opened the first Austin-area Rudy’s in 1994. The restaurant will serve the same barbecue and breakfast taco menu as the other Austin-area locations, blend the familiar meat-market ambience with some nostalgic design elements from the building’s past and offer 81 parking spaces.
The new restaurant, which will also incorporate the adjacent building that is currently home to Banzai Sushi & Grill, will be designed in collaboration by architect Morris Hoover and builder John King, who intend to “create a distinctive space that fits the neighborhood,” according to the owners.
There were 14 finalists for the hot and highly visible property that has a storied history dating back to 2-J’s in 1954. The property owners, the Moton Crockett Jr. family, chose K&N Management, which also owns Mighty Fine Burgers, Fries & Shakes, due in part to Moton Crockett Jr.’s great-grandson’s love for both Mighty Fine and Rudy’s, according to a news release.
“We are pleased to be working with the Crockett family, who embodies our commitment to supporting the local community,” Schiller said. “We are proud and honored to be able to bring Rudy’s to Central Austin.”
The original Rudy’s opened in Leon Springs in 1989, and there are now 32 locations in Texas, two each in Oklahoma, Colorado and Arizona, and three in New Mexico.
EZ’s closed in January 2016 following a fire that did an estimated $400,000 in damage.
Chef Paul Qui closed his East Austin restaurant Kuneho last weekend after less than a year in business.
“Not quite sure what the future will hold for that space,” Qui said, adding that he hopes to remain in the building where he still holds a lease.
The James Beard award winner and former “Top Chef” winner originally opened the restaurant at 1600 E. Sixth St. in 2013 under the name Qui. He closed that restaurant in the summer of 2016, after he had been arrested in March and charged with assaulting his girlfriend, and reopened as Kuneho at the beginning of this year. Kuneho found the chef shifting his focus back to sushi and the “perfect bites” he crafted during his tenure at Uchi and Uchiko. The restaurant struggled to garner the excitement of Qui’s original venture and had some uneven spots but was strong enough to earn the No. 23 spot in this year’s Austin360 Dining Guide.
Qui, who operates Pao by Paul Qui at the Faena luxury hotel in Miami Beach, continued looking outside the Austin market earlier this year, opening wood-and-wok concept Aqui in Houston this summer.
Ready to hang out with celebrity chefs, learn how to make homemade pasta and get drunk with celebrity chef Tim Love while singeing your eyebrows? Well, now you’ve got a weekend to circle on your calendar.
The Austin Food & Wine Festival will take place April 27-29. More details on tickets, talent and more in the weeks and months to come (the lineup and tickets were released in January for this year’s festival).
Honors and event
Industry publication StarChefs has returned its focus to the Austin-San Antonio corridor for the first time in five years, handing out its Rising Stars awards to local culinary talent.
This year’s crop of winners includes Tatsu Aikawa of Kemuri Tatsu-Ya; Adam Brick, the former Apis chef who recently announced he has joined as a partner at the soon-to-change Vino Vino; former Counter 357 executive chef Damien Brockway; Michael Fojtasek of Olamaie; and Max Snyder of Pitchfork Pretty.
To celebrate the newly named Rising Stars, StarChefs will host an awards ceremony and tasting event Dec. 13 at Fair Market in East Austin. The event will feature tastings from all the honored chefs as well as pastry chef winners Tavel Bristol-Joseph (Emmer & Rye) and Daniela Herrera (Counter 357) and other winners in the artisan and beverage categories. For the evening’s complete menu, visit starchefs.com.
Tickets cost $85 ($125 for VIP tickets) and can be purchased online at starchefs.com. Proceeds from the event will benefit Austin Food & Wine Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering awareness and innovation in the Central Texas culinary community.