Polynesian cocktails and more: What’s trending on Austin’s food scene?


Curious where Austin’s insiders are eating and drinking? It’s easy to spot lines out the door, but some underlying trends are harder to see.

We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp and SafeGraph, a dataset of commercial points of interest and their visitor patterns, to discover which eateries have been in the spotlight this month.

To find out who made the list, we first looked at Austin businesses on Yelp by category and counted how many reviews each received. Rather than compare them based on number of reviews alone, we calculated a percentage increase in reviews over the past month, and tracked businesses that consistently increased their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance. Then we analyzed foot traffic data from SafeGraph to validate the trends.

Read on to see which spots are on a hot streak this autumn.

Ebisu Japanese Restaurant

Photo: michel f./Yelp

Open since August, this sushi bar and Japanese spot is trending compared to other businesses categorized as “Sushi Bars” on Yelp.

Citywide, sushi bars saw a median 1.4% increase in new reviews over the past month, but Ebisu Japanese Restaurant saw an impressive 430% increase, maintaining a strong 4.5-star rating throughout.

It’s not the only trending outlier in the sushi bar category: Thai, How Are You? has seen an 8.6% increase in reviews, and Raku Sushi and Asian Bistro has seen a 7.1% bump.

Located at 13376 N. Highway 183, Suite 400, Ebisu Japanese Restaurant offers sashimi, sushi, rice bowls and more. Start with steamed edamame or sake macaroni and cheese. Then for sashimi and sushi, choose between tuna, yellowtail, salmon, freshwater eel and more. The spot also offers specialty rolls, as well as sake, wine and beer. 

Ebisu Japanese Restaurant is open from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5 –10 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m.–9 p.m. on Sunday.

Carpenters Hall

Photo: carpenters hall/Yelp

Whether or not you’ve been hearing buzz about Zilker’s Carpenters Hall, the New American spot is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.

While businesses categorized as “American (New)” on Yelp saw a median 1.6% increase in new reviews over the past month, Carpenters Hall bagged a 19% increase in new reviews within that time frame, maintaining a convincing four-star rating. It significantly outperformed the previous month by gaining 4.0 times more reviews than expected based on its past performance.

There’s more that’s trending on Austin’s New American scene: Twin Peaks has seen a 9.5% increase in reviews, and Garrison has seen a 12.5% bump.

Open at 400 Josephine St. since 2018, Carpenters Hall offers chopped salads, turkey sandwiches, hamburgers and more. For brunch, doughnuts, waffles and fried egg sandwiches are also available.

Carpenters Hall is open from 7 a.m.–midnight daily.

The Lost Lei

Photo: wade n./Yelp

Downtown Austin’s The Lost Lei is the city’s buzziest cocktail bar by the numbers.

The tiki bar, cocktail bar and event space, which opened at 117 W. Fourth St., Suite 101A, in March, increased its new review count by 22.7% over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 3.3% for the Yelp category “Cocktail Bars.”

The Lost Lei offers classic cocktails, like a lemon drop martini, a cosmopolitan and a Moscow mule, as well as signature drinks, like the Caribbean, with rum, orange, lime and tiki bitters. 

The Lost Lei is open from 4 p.m.–2 a.m. on weekdays and 2 p.m.–2 a.m. on weekends.

This story was created automatically using local business data, then reviewed and augmented by an editor. Click here for more about what we’re doing. Got thoughts? Go here to share your feedback.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here