Another Austin pop-up is turning into a physical restaurant this year. This time, it’s New American-leaning pop-up Elementary that’s opening a restaurant in Zilker at 2026 South Lamar Boulevard starting in mid-July.
The pop-up focuses on what co-owners Colter Peck, Chris Arial, and Allan Bautista describe as combining flavors and cuisines in interesting ways. This means dishes like al pastor tortellini served with mole, a white bean puree, manchego cheese, and crispy sweet potatoes; a banh mi eclair where the halved pastry will sandwich pate, cucumbers, crispy carnitas, and serrano peppers; and birria soup dumplings.
Arial tells Eater back in October 2022 that Elementary in restaurant form is meant to showcase “the intersection of elevated and experimental food and beverage [in a] casual ambiance.” Or, in other words, “Fine dining that feels comforting,” he writes, He cites Austin restaurants Mexican spot Suerte and New American wine restaurant Birdie’s as their inspirations.
Peck is Elementary’s chef; he previously worked at Portland restaurants including French spot Le Pigeon and Australian cafe Proud Mary (which actually also expanded into Austin in 2022). Arial oversees Elementary’s drinks program, and he will work on the restaurant’s branding and general designs; he also worked at Austin brunch restaurant Paperboy and wine bar Golden Hour and worked on music licensing at Warner Bros. And then Bautista will manage Elementary’s operations; he had worked at Seattle restaurant RN74, and, in Austin, Japanese restaurant Fukumoto, Nashville hot chicken mini-chain Tumble 22, and Italian restaurant Red Ash.
The trio met while working at the Austin location of the New York-based Australian cafe Two Hands, and started their pop-up in 2021. And since then, they’ve been popping up around Austin (Midnight in the Garden) and other cities like Los Angeles, Orange County, and Denver. There’s a forthcoming pop-up at Paperboy on Friday, June 2 (most seatings have already sold out) with a summery five-course menu.
Elementary’s future table-service restaurant space will feature a Bauhaus design theme with primary colors. The group found this location after doing a pop-up at the nearby restaurant Aviary in November 2022. “We had been fairly frustrated and defeated from looking around the city not finding any luck with the physical space,” a rep shared from the trio, when they saw a lease sign outside of the shuttered 8-Bit Pizza restaurant, which seemingly closed last summer. The address also had previously been a location of Texas chain Brooklyn Pizza and beloved wine and cheese shop Henri’s.
While they won’t host Elementary pop-ups in the traditional sense when the restaurant opens, they still plan on participating in events as well as having visiting chefs take over the kitchen. When the restaurant opens, there will be nightly dinner and weekend brunch services.
2023 seems to be the year of Austin food pop-ups opening physical locations. There’s Ramen Del Barrio in February, barbecue pop-up Barbs B Q’s Lockhart restaurant, the soon-to-be physical bakery of Comadre Panadería, role-playing gaming and dining experience Tiny Minotaur’s permanent location, and the forthcoming omakase restaurant of Tare.