Located at the ground floor of the brand new IBC Bank Tower on 5th and Nueces in downtown Austin, Texas, progressive Southern restauran, Fixe will open for business Wednesday, Dec. 24.
The long anticipated project from Austin culinary veterans James Robert (executive chef/co-owner) and Keith House (director of operations/co-owner) will open for Sunday supper-style dining, seven nights a week.
Bringing to life familiar tastes imagined in progressive ways, the restaurant opens at 4 p.m. for the Daily Social (Fixe’s version of happy hour) with dinner following. The 250-seat restaurant also has on-site valet available.
Fourteen years, almost to the day, after opening their first project together (at that time serving as executive chef and general manager at prominent Austin seafood restaurant, Eddie V’s) Robert and House are excited to welcome guests to their very own restaurant.
Their Southern house concept comes to life in many forms: with service that’s based on the notion of Southern hospitality; a menu that pays homage to Chef Robert’s Louisiana roots and, in many instances, is a re-imagined take on his family’s own recipes; and with the traditional South in the physical space itself.
“Growing up in small town Louisiana, food was a very big part of my life. With cooks on both sides of my family tree, I saw early on that food has a way of bringing people together,” Chef Robert says. “This menu showcases familiar tastes and dishes that I grew up with—you’ll see a section dedicated to an heirloom variety of grits, biscuits, boudin, and more—but each with an element of surprise. The familiar is definitely there, we’ve just re-imagined how it all comes together for the guest.”
Much about the downtown dining destination is a family affair. In addition to the recipes and nostalgia-inducing dishes, Robert and House’s longstanding working relationship is rounded out by chef de cuisine Zach Hunter. Before spending time in great kitchens such as Mugaritz in San Sebastian, Spain, Michelin-starred Atera in New York, and culinary powerhouses Uchi, Uchiko, and Qui in Austin, Hunter found his first mentor in Robert.
For him, it was always a part of the plan to come to Austin and be a part of Robert’s own concept. Hunter pulls from his experiences to add some of the progressive surprise to the traditional southern fare at Fixe.
The seasonal and local menu, celebrates the soul of the South and will change based on the season and what’s available. With six dedicated sections, the menu will offer snacks, chilled, and small plates perfect for sharing, as well as an entire section dedicated to grits. From there, guests will have a number of mains entrées to choose as well.
Designed by local architectural firm Nelson Partners, the warm and spirited space feels like a home, though this house has, much like the menu, been re-imagined with some twists. Mixing new and old, found vintage pieces with commissioned art, Texas based EDG Design successfully marries bold masculine elements like the end grain mesquite bar and Chef’s pass table (which extends the reach of the open kitchen, providing a chef table-esque experience in the dining room) with lighter, more whimsical touches throughout.
Other design elements include a welcome bar out front that provides access to Fixe’s craft cocktail options before arriving at the restaurant’s proper bar. It also ties into the concept of Southern hospitality, essentially greeting guests with a welcome drin” as they enter.
In the center of the restaurant, a porch has been configured to further establish the charm of an old Southern estate, and also slightly sections off guests in the front banquets and bar.
For guests wanting to actually dine outside, Fixe’s terrace, located on 5th Street, provides the option. The restaurant also features three private dining spaces, accommodating 24, 12, and eight diners that are fully equipped with AV capabilities. The front PDR, called the parlor, feels like a formal Southern dining room and actually has anthropomorphized formal portraits of the owners’ dogs, commissioned by a local artist.
Finally, dropped plaster ceilings with classic moldings are base to more modern light fixtures. Wall coverings vary from room to room, with beautiful textured wallpaper leading rough plastered walls richly infused with blue color and patina. Floors transitions to red and white oak floor boards on inside of the restaurant’s interior porch.
“The process of conceptualizing and building our own restaurant has been a dream come true. And we were really fortunate to find great local partners who understood our vision for the restaurant,” House says.
“We are thrilled to open our doors and share our finally complete home with guests. But what’s more, we are excited put our years of experience on the floor and in the kitchen back in action. For us it’s always been about the best hospitality experience and we are excited to finally deliver that with Fixe.”