A Modern Mexican Restaurant in Austin Created by a Team of Locals

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By Michele Koh Morollo
Though this modern, ground-floor restaurant may look like a shop or lobby from the street, inside, it's a light and airy dining destination that stands out from many of the other Mexican eateries in downtown Austin.

Designed by Austin-based practice Michael Hsu Office of ArchitectureATX Cocina is a commodious and lofty restaurant that features floor-to-ceiling windows and a greenhouse-like atmosphere. It's where Austenite’s can enjoy margaritas and chef Kevin Taylor’s modern Mexican cuisine. 

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A vaulted ceiling made of hemlock and pine gently arches over the bright dining areas and open kitchen. 

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The floors and tabletops are made of warm pecan wood. 

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Vetiver green-wire mesh, blackened-steel cabinetry, copper accents, and peppery reds from fabrics by Knoll and Carnegie add contrast to the raw wood found throughout. Art by local woodwork artist Aaron Michalovic is featured. 

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Hsu collaborated with Austin designers and builders to bring his ideas to fruition, including design and fabrication studio Drophouse Design, lighting studio Warbach, and designer Brandon Mike

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Drophouse custom-built most of the wood and metal features, including a kitchen partition and steel-and-pine cabinet with copper infills. He also specially built the banquettes, shelves, doors, planters, and bathroom vanities.

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Warbach, who designed and custom-made some of the light fixtures, teamed up with local designer Brandon Mike to create the concrete light pendants that hang above the partitioned dining areas. 

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Project Credits: 

- Architecture and Interior Design: Michael Hsu, Michael Hsu Office of Architecture 

- Builder: Fey Carroll, IE2 Construction

- Structural Engineering: Adam Antosh, Structural Consultants Associates, Inc. 

- Landscape Design: Garrett Hinze, Texas Landscape Creations 

- Lighting Design: Kimberly Doerle, Spectrum Lighting 

- Custom Lighting Design and Manufacturer: Nathan Warner, Warbach Lighting 

- Cabinetry Design and Installation: Christian Klein, Drophouse Design