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DEE DEE and Veracruz Partner Up for a New Culinary Project: Leona Botanical Café & Bar

This new restaurant with a botanical garden is set to open in South Austin in early 2025

Leona partners Reyna and Maritza Vazquez (right) and Lakana and Justin Trubiana (left) at groundbreaking. (Photo courtesy of Leona Botanical Cafe & Bar)

Austin is about to get a new addition to its vibrant culinary scene with Leona Botanical Café & Bar, scheduled to open its doors in early 2025. Nestled in South Austin’s Sunset Valley at 6405 Brodie Lane, this project is the brainchild of the esteemed teams behind two of Austin’s beloved food trucks, DEE DEE and Veracruz All Natural.

Led by wife and husband duo Lakana and Justin Trubiana and sisters Reyna and Maritza, this new venture represents a fusion of cultural heritage, culinary passion, and environmental stewardship. The 5-acre space includes an outdoor botanical garden, a main café and bar, a pavilion, and three restaurants. This new venture is DEE DEE’s first brick-and-mortar establishment, a new location for Veracruz All Natural and the third restaurant has yet to be identified.

Lakana and the Vazquez sisters began their culinary journeys with food trucks in Austin, drawing inspiration from their backgrounds in Thai and Veracruz cuisine. Chef Lakana’s mastery of Northeastern-style Thai dishes, infused with fresh herbs and vegetables from her garden, reflects her deep-rooted connection to her upbringing on a farm in Thailand.

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Likewise, Reyna and Maritza’s passion for fresh, natural ingredients shines through in their menu offerings at Veracruz All Natural, inspired by the flavors of their hometown in Mexico. Their commitment to authenticity and quality has propelled Veracruz All Natural from a humble food truck to a thriving culinary enterprise with multiple locations across the city.

“Our goal with this project is to create a beautiful space that stays true to our cultures and highlights our upbringing by sharing the traditions we learned from our mothers and grandmothers. We want people to experience a part of our homes,” Chef Lakana of DEE DEE stated. “I have so much respect and appreciation for all the hard work that Reyna and Maritza have put into creating Veracruz All Natural. It’s inspiring to work with like-minded entrepreneurs with similar backgrounds, and I’m thrilled to open this new vision of ours together.”

Leona’s exterior (Rendering by Clayton Korte)

Leona’s design and botanical outdoor space

The design team comprises renowned local firms such as Clayton Korte, an esteemed architecture firm, alongside Campbell Landscape Architecture and MIGL Engineering. Handling the construction and landscaping are G Creek and X Scapes Environmental, serving as the general contractor and landscape contractor. 

Leona’s botanical element will showcase more than 80 species across 7,000 individual plants, paying homage to the natural beauty of the Texas Hill Country. More than 90 mature trees are being conserved on the property to uphold the existing shade and habitat as well as an additional 70 trees will be planted to highlight the seasonal allure of the Texas Hill Country.

The site was previously owned by the late World War II veteran and philanthropist Betty Grubbs, known for her community support and pioneering work for women’s causes, including significant philanthropy for the University of Texas Women’s Athletics. Leona partners honor Betty’s legacy by supporting women-owned businesses and plans to host an annual fundraiser for the Betty Grubbs Endowed Scholarship Program for the University of Texas Women’s Athletics upon opening.

“Over the years, we’ve formed a friendship with Lakana, and our shared vision for this project is nearly here,” Chef Reyna shared. “Witnessing it come to life here in South Austin is truly a dream come true and shows what can happen when women come together and support each other in this industry. We can’t wait to share this special place with the Austin community.”

Stay tuned for updates on their website and social media at @leonacafebar.