A Houston-based restaurant aims to bring good food to the community in Austin

Local Foods, a Houston-based restaurant that sources its made-from-scratch dishes from Texas farms, ranches, and other local vendors, has just opened its doors in downtown Austin.

The new two-story restaurant on the corner of San Antonio and West Second Streets has floor-to-ceiling windows, ample outdoor patio space, and earthy interior colors. The natural décor and plant-filled botanicals are an extension of the farm-to-table plant-friendly kitchen spirit.

said Nikki Delray, assistant general manager of Local Foods in Austin. She said she wanted the restaurant to be a place where Austinians would feel at home and eat good food.

Founded in 2011 by chef Dylan Murray, restaurateur Benji Levitt and partner Martin Pearson, Local Foods grew to four locations in Houston before making the leap to the Austin Market—first in 2021 before opening a downtown store last month. The brick and mortar site in the Second Street District has been under construction for over a year to retrofit the space for the new restaurant.

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Local Food Executive Chef Zach Sutton said local vendors are part of the inspiration behind the restaurant’s offerings. Using Farm to Table Texas, a distributor of locally grown produce, the Austin location receives bread from Slow Dough Bakery, dairy from Antonelli’s cheese, and homemade yogurt from Ruthie’s.

“It’s an endless supply of local vendors,” Sutton said.

For Sutton, having worked in the restaurant industry most of his life, working at Local Foods was a refreshing change. Sutton cited the longevity of employee retention at Local Foods as making a difference in his business.

“The people behind the company were my selling point,” he said. “This company is what sets itself apart from other employers. When I was in Houston, I met employees who had been with the company for 10-20 years. You don’t see that in restaurants very often.”

‘Creative Freedom’

Local Foods has a varied menu: from a crunchy chicken sandwich with crumbled chicken breast with walnut seeds, to an Asian chicken salad topped with oranges and homemade chips, there’s something for everyone.

Since moving to Austin means using different local vendors, Sutton said they find it an exciting challenge to recreate the menu to fit Austin’s local ingredients.

“There’s a lot of creative freedom on our menu,” Sutton said, “The ingredients we get here in Austin are different from those in Houston, so this is unique.”

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Local Foods is best known for serving Houston-based vendors like Katz’s Coffee. With its new location, Local Foods has expanded its partnerships to include vendors in the Austin area and is looking to expand its menu.

According to a press release, “The team always welcomes introductions to other local farmers and vendors in order to continue to grow its partnership base.”

Chef and partner Dylan Murray has worked with the Local Food Menu since it opened in 2011 and said he looks forward to building relationships with more local vendors in Austin.

“We believe that sustainable sourcing practices equal better quality offerings and strengthen relationships with our community,” Murray said in a press release. “Bringing this longtime favorite Houston to Austin reinforces our goal and commitment to supporting local residents in a friendly neighborhood environment.”

The new restaurant hosted its grand opening on June 25. The restaurant is open daily from 11 am to 8:30 pm For menu and other offerings, visit their website.

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