“Most people think I’m nuts”
Two questions for Shawn Cirkiel on Chavez:
Three multidisciplinary Austin powerhouses—restaurateur Shawn Cirkiel, architect Michael Hsu, and FÖDA Studio’s Jett Butler—have been quietly working together on a new restaurant project in an unexpected location: what was formerly a TGI Fridays inside the downtown Radisson Hotel & Suites. chavez, described as a “contemporary Southwestern restaurant,” is slated to open late this month. We caught up with Cirkiel to get a few details.
1. How did everyone involved come together for this project?
Working with Jett & FÖDA is a first for us. All the work they do is just incredibly smart… I have worked with Michael from when he was back with Dick Clark many years ago. He has been a part of all of our projects. What I like so much about dealing with him and his team is he listens to process and knows how and what to prioritize… I think my favorite thing is how he doesn’t think I’m crazy when I bring all my different ideas and locations to him. Most people think I’m nuts.
2. You describe the concept of the restaurant as "Southwestern," and "What it means to be from Austin and Texas." Can you tell me some specific dishes that personify this combination of geography and nostalgia?
We are doing a shared plate of biscuits, tortillas, and whipped lardo—which is a perfect definition of who and what we are. We take simple good things and make them ourselves. From the raw bar we are going to do a play on classic ceviche but vegan, utilizing textures and flavors to mimic and play in an unexpected way. Growing up vegetarian, it has always been important to me to use local farms (and to feed my mom who is still a vegetarian). I also love fried oysters and we are making gorditos and stuffing them with fried oysters and an avocado crema.
Your Own Private Park.
Kinda. Austin residents have until January 20 to name their own park.
A 1.6-acre plot, located on Del Curto Road near South Lamar, was recently obtained through a donation and one-acre city land purchase. The South Lamar Neighborhood Association proposed naming the space, which includes a basketball half-court, a public pavilion, a playscape, and an internal trail system, the Del Curto Neighborhood Park, but applications are open for it to be called something a little more…interesting. City ordinance allows for parkland to be named after an individual (alive or dead), place, or “natural feature.” Applications are available at: austintexas.gov/department/parks-and-recreation
Ed Ruscha's notes relatedto "Twentysix Gasoline Stations."
In November, the Harry Ransom Center acquired the archives of artist Ed Ruscha, whose collection reveals Ruscha’s creative process and the details behind many of his renowned projects, including this handwritten note from the making of “Twentysix Gasoline Stations.” The influential project, which was Ruscha’s first artist’s book, depicts a personal roadside journey through the American West, as shown through images of 26 filling stations alongside captions telling their brand and location.
Refresh, Reset, Renew
January this, January that. Maybe it’s that it is month #1. Or maybe it’s just the marketing. Whatever it is about this month that feels like a chance to start anew, taking the time to clear out your head—and body—is never a bad idea. With that, we asked Shauna Martin, creator of Austin-based Daily Greens to develop a green juice recipe just for TRIBEZA.
Photography by: Courtesy of Shawn Cirkiel
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