Eater Austin Announces Tanuki Austin

Aspen Asian-Southern Restaurant Is Moving to Austin

Tanuki is taking over West Fifth sports bar Basecamp

by Nadia Chaudhury  Oct 26, 2018, 1:46pm CDT

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Crispy Chinese chicken and bubble waffles

Tanuki/Facebook

Aspen-based Asian-Southern restaurant House of the Rising Tanuki-San (aka Tanuki) is moving into Austin starting on Tuesday, November 6. The fusion restaurant is taking over downtown sports bar Basecamp at 120 West 5th Street, which will close this weekend.

Co-founding chefs Jonathan Leichliter and Adam Norwig describe Tanuki as a combination of call deep Southern and East Asian foods and flavors. The Asian street-style dishes will include cashew noodles (udon noodles, smoked cashew butter), Thai shrimp and cheesy grits (served with tamarind-coconut curry sauce and andouille sausage), crispy Chinese chicken and bubble waffles, and brisket-based Kung Pao.

There are desserts planned as well, like matcha egg cream custards. Leichliter and Norwig will also offer a five-course tasting menu. The beverage menu will feature Asian-inspired cocktails, like potentially a hibiscus tea mojito, as well emphasize tequila. Plus there will be beer, wine, and sake.

The chefs began Tanuki as a pop-up restaurant at nightclub Bootsy Bellows in Aspen because they couldn’t find good takeout or late-night options. They stuck with what they knew best, Asian street food, and the “Southern-influences worked really well with what we were doing,” Leichliter said.

Leichliter worked at Aspen restaurant Justice Snow’s. Norwig worked as a private chef, as well as Burger Bar and Fish and Buchi Tavern at Snowmass Base Village

They decided to move to Austin because they realized a lot of Austin people frequented the Aspen pop-up, and they wanted a change. There was an opportunity to open in Lake Travis, but they decided to pass on it. The Basecamp space was attractive because of its downtown location, and so their relocation was finalized.

Tanuki’s lunch service, which will be offered in the front dining area, will be counter-service with an emphasis on takeout. Dinner, available throughout the restaurant space, will switch over to table-service, with options for takeout too.

When it opens, Tanuki’s hours will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for weekday lunch and then from 4 to 10 p.m. for weekday dinner, and then 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday with brunch too. There will be happy hour too from 4 to 6 p.m. on the weekdays.

In the beginning, everything on Tanuki’s menu will be half-off for several weeks. There are also plans to pop up at bars and farmers markets to test out food during its early stages.

Sports bar Basecamp opened in April 2016 under Summit Roof owner Chad Barrett, Dan Wyman, and former Uchi chef Eric Kuypers. The exact last date over the weekend hasn’t been set yet.

Similarly, “Tex-Asian pub” Anthem, which offers bar food with Latin and Asian influences, recently opened on Rainey Street.


Kirra Sherman