As less formal eateries keep grabbing market share, some full-service spots are responding with a one-two punch: two brands under one roof. These split concepts help court traffic during off-peak hours, as well as offer a relaxed, less expensive option to win new guests. Steakhouse chain Smith & Wollensky did it in Chicago with Wollensky’s Grill, a pub space with high tops and TVs. Now, other high-end concepts are following suit.
Boiler Nine | Deck Nine | The Boiler Room
After seeing success with a split format at its upscale Second Bar + Kitchen, the team behind Boiler Nine transferred that idea to its latest Austin spot. Boiler Nine’s three levels are home to three separate concepts with different aesthetics: a high-end restaurant focused on wood-fired cooking, an approachable rooftop bar and a basement cocktail hotspot.
Each section is distinct by virtue of being separated by a staircase or elevator, but there is some crossover, Director of Operations Laura Shearer notes. For example, staff rotate between all three areas, although no one does so within the same shift. Select menu items also are carried throughout the 10,000-square-foot space, such as the housemade sausage that’s the star of a platter at Boiler Nine and The Boiler Room and used as a hot dog at the Deck Nine rooftop. And draft cocktails served on the deck are partially prepared in the basement before upstairs customers add their choice of spirits in a “booze your own adventure” twist.
Boiler Nine Bar + Grill
Upscale restaurant with dining room and loft seating for 30.
Deck Nine Observatory Bar
Rooftop with carnival-style food such as popcorn and Frito pies.
The Boiler Room
Basement bar with a ’60s vibe.
Cala | Tacos Cala
Mexican restaurant Cala is dinner-only on weekdays, but its on-site taqueria fills in the gaps. Serving a small list of tacos and aguas fresca in a standing room-only space accessible via a back alley, Tacos Cala—which runs during lunch only—gives diners a taste of the concept’s culinary POV without full-tilt operations.
The Butcher’s Table | Butcher Shop
This 10,000-square-foot space is a butcher shop, sandwich counter, raw bar, cocktail bar and upscale steakhouse, says proprietor Kurt Dammeier. Selling salads and sandwiches as well as raw meats for retail, the concept appeals to the many ways guests might want to dine—at home, on the go or in a sit-down atmosphere.
Smyth | The Loyalist
This two-story concept in the growing West Loop appeals to the area’s disparate audiences—tourists and business types seeking fine dining (Smyth’s eight-course dinner is $135), and the influx of residents jonesing for a neighborhood joint, to whom The Loyalist caters with a section set aside just for walk-ins.