AUSTIN, TX — The acclaimed Chicago-based Mediterranean restaurant Aba is coming to Austin in marking its entry into Texas, company officials announced on Tuesday.
The new eatery is slated to open on Thursday, Oct. 1, at Music Lane along South Congress, with service starting at 4 p.m., officials said in an emailed news release. The expansion into Austin marks Chicago-based Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ first restaurant opening in Texas and Aba’s second location, officials noted.
Created by Executive Partner and Divisional President Marc Jacobs and Chef Partner CJ Jacobson, Aba incorporates a lighter style of cooking with influences from around the Mediterranean, restaurant officials described.
“Traveling to Austin over the years, I have always admired the city for being a compelling food destination, one that continues to grow and incorporate a variety of flavors and influences,” Lettuce Entertain You Executive Partner and Divisional President Marc Jacobs said in a prepared statement. “We are excited to bring Aba’s cooking style and service to the Austin community.”
Hebrew for “father,” Aba pays homage to Chef CJ’s culinary roots in California while drawing inspiration for its cuisine from Israel, Lebanon, Turkey and Greece, according to the news advisory. Austin residents now will be able to call the Mediterranean favorite their own and experience a selection of prime and humble cuts, meat and seafood kebabs, house-made hummus and spreads, and hot and cold mezze, officials added.
Signature dishes include Crispy Short Rib Hummus, Muhammara, Tamarind Braised Short Rib, Shawarma Spiced Skirt Steak and Orange Blossom Crème Brulee Pie. Weekend brunch highlights include the Jerusalem Bagel with Smoked Salmon Spread and Labneh, Khachapuri with Cremini Mushroom and Bougatsa with Blueberry Compote.
“I’ve always loved Austin, and I am so excited to open Aba here,” Chef Partner CJ Jacobson said in a prepared statement. “I especially am looking forward to working with local farmers, meeting chefs and finding the best expression for our food.”
The bar program at Aba Austin is crafted by Lead Mixologist Liz Pearce and will showcase cocktails with Mediterranean-inspired spirits and Middle Eastern ingredients. Cocktail favorites include the Frozen Pina Express, Aloe, It’s Me and Green Harissa Bloody Mary. Aba Austin will also feature a zero-proof beverage program including the Gazoz With a Kick and the Fruit Coupe. The wine list, curated by Sommelier Alex Augustine, features rare finds from Morocco, Israel, Greece and The Canary Islands, with traditional old and new world selections from California, Italy and Spain.
The interior design of the Austin location takes inspiration from the original Chicago space, officials said, while creating its own personality and character. The restaurant was designed, curated and executed by Executive Partner and Divisional President Marc Jacobs, LEYE Senior Designer Avril Zayas, along with Variant Collaborative, a boutique design firm from Chicago.
Aba officials described the architecture and inside spaces of the new restaurant:
“The multi-level outdoor patio and terrace accommodates up to 130 guests and lives under the canopy of a 100+ year old native Heritage Oak tree, studded with glass and metal lanterns from Morocco and the Middle East. The patio features a semi-private raised deck, with a vibrant living plant wall and a 10-seat outdoor bar with a white plaster finish to evoke a Mediterranean look and feel. The indoor dining room has seating for up to 86 guests and features a warm and earthy color palette, locally fabricated custom millwork and stone surfaces, wood beams with climbing ivy and foliage, an indoor trellis, and a curated collection of decorative lighting with influence from the Middle East, Mediterranean and Eastern European cultures.”
Since Aba’s first location in Chicago’s historic Fulton Market District opened in June 2018, the restaurant has been named one of “Chicago’s Best New Restaurants” by the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Magazine, one of the “Most Beautiful Chicago Restaurants” by Eater Chicago, and it was a nominee for Boutique Design’s “Gold Key Award for Excellence in Hospitality Design.”
Aba will be open for dinner Monday through Friday, brunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday, delivery and carry-out options daily, with lunch service and curbside pick-up to follow. Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday from 4 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from 10 a.m. to Midnight. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Aba Austin is located in Music Lane at 1011 S Congress Ave., Building 2, Suite 180. The restaurant will also validate parking for the first two hours for patrons using the Music Lane garage.
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises is currently hiring for various positions at Aba Austin. To apply, click here. For more information on the restaurant or to make a reservation, please visit: https://www.abarestaurants.com/austin/. Health and safety are a top priority for Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, and Aba is following all CDC guidelines and implementing new standards such as QR Code menus and administering temperature checks for vendors and staff. Be sure to follow along on Aba’s Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
About Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc.
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc. (LEYE) is an independent, family-owned restaurant group based in Chicago that owns, manages and licenses more than 130 establishments in Illinois, Minnesota, Maryland, Nevada, California, Virginia and Washington D.C. We were founded in June 1971 by Richard Melman and Jerry A. Orzoff with the opening of R.J. Grunts and today, thanks to the creativity of our partners, we proudly service guests at more than 60 concepts ranging from fast casual restaurants like M Burger to fine dining, Michelin-starred establishment, Everest.