More Details on Paul Qui’s Austin Restaurant

The Top Chef winner tells Eater about his "flagship" restaurant, as well as plans for two new East Side Kings, including one near the University of Texas.
Tue August 7, 2012 8:50 pm
Mike Hess | Bravotv.com

Last week, Serious Eats had an initial report about Top Chef champion and 2011 James Beard Award winner Paul Qui’s plan for his own restaurant in Austin, in which Qui was quoted as saying “I just signed a lease on South Lamar,” the same street where Qui’s one-time base of Uchi is located.

But it turns out that Qui’s “flagship” restaurant will actually be on East 6th Street. Qui corrected himself in  an interview  with Eater’s Gabe Ulla that includes a lot of other details on his plans.

“Yeah! I must have been talking really fast and running back to the kitchen,” Qui said. “Or I might have been nervous when I was speaking.”

Qui’s place has no name or opening date yet, but it apparently will have 74 seats total: a fifty-seat no-reservations main room, a twelve-seat “sushi-style” bar and a twelve-seat “library” that will feature a tasting menu of “composed dishes and composed bites.” Qui says he’s after something similar to sushi, which is always “going for that perfect bite—or two bites—and that’s what inspires me.”

Qui also told Ulla about plans for a major expansion of his East Side King empire, which currently serves up different menus out of trailers at the Liberty Bar, the Shangri-La, and the Grackle, all of which are also on East 6th Street. (The Grackle ESK is closed right now–the actual trailer is being physically replaced, and will have a larger kitchen with a new menu of what Qui calls ” Japanese street food that isn’t that popular.”)

East Side King will also be expanding to South Lamar in six to eight months, and inside of hallowed UT campus hangout and music venue Hole in the Wall. That location will serve the same menu as Liberty Bar for now. Beet home fries after the Horns game, anyone?

Qui will also continue to consult at Tyson Cole’s Uchiko until his own restaurant opens. 

Andrea Grimes of Eater Austin actually parsed much of this in a post last week, but read the rest of Ulla’s  story to see his further comments about his time working for Cole, why he loves cooking in Austin, and where he has been eating around the world lately. 

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