Ember Kitchen & Subterra Agave Bar to Open in Seaholm Power Plant
The multi-level space will serve live fire-inspired Latin American food and funky takes on traditional cocktails
Ember Kitchen & Subterra Agave Bar will open its doors to the public on Feb. 15 in the historic Seaholm Power Plant.
The culinary team behind Ember Kitchen is led by Executive Chef Nayely Castillo, who draws inspiration from her grandmother’s cooking as she melds Latin American elements with more traditional steakhouse flavors. María Mercedes Grubb, the first woman in Puerto Rico’s food industry to be nominated for a James Beard Award, has contributed to Ember Kitchen as a consulting chef.
The restaurant’s centerpiece is a coal-fired Josper oven imported from Spain, which deeply influences the eatery’s live-fire menu. Standout fire-inspired food items include the Salpicon de Pulpo, featuring octopus with burned salsa and avocado; Caviar Bites, tiny sopes piped with crema and topped with caviar, and a Josper-grilled Chili Relleno.
“Austin is very much a casual city, which reflects in its restaurant service,” says Mychael Flores, general manager for the entire venue. “At Ember and Subterra, we are looking forward to executing a more elevated hospitality experience that will be engaging and memorable, yet still approachable for local patrons.”
The expansive dining area is located on the building’s main floor, and guests can head downstairs to find Subterra Agave Bar, a moody bar serving up a variety of agave-based beverages and innovative versions of classic cocktails.
Mixologist Chris San Andres steers the 65-seat lounge’s bar program, creating drinks like the Mestizo Negroni, a Raicilla-based negroni, and the Martini Sabrosa, made with blanco tequila, sherry and aromatics like cardamom and celery. In spring 2023, the upper level of the building will open as a rooftop bar.
Egyptian architect and designer Fathy Ibrahim, of Insignia Design Group, worked with the restaurant’s team to craft a bright space that balances the factory-esque look of the building, while designer and project manager Meera Crow turned the downstairs Subterra into an intimate, moody room.
“The industrial nature of the building gave us a very bold, almost masculine foundation for the design,” explains Crow. “So for Ember Kitchen and Subterra Agave Bar, we introduced warm woods, lush greenery and dramatic curves in our lighting to contrast the cool steel beams and ductwork with something softer, more feminine.”
Austin-based hospitality startup inKind, which provides non-dilutive funding and marketing support to restaurants across the country, is a key operating partner in this venture. Ember and Subterra will serve as testing grounds for inKind’s operational services, partnership integrations and more. The company will offer benefits like priority reservations and exclusive access to experiential events to House Account and inKind Pass holders.
Ember Kitchen & Subterra Agave Bar is located at 800 West Cesar Chavez St., Suite PP110. Ember Kitchen is open from 5 to 11 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, and Subterra Agave Bar will be open from 5 p.m. to midnight Thursday through Sundays during opening. For more information, visit emberatx.com.