Hungry, hungry hippos in the Hutto area may soon be munching on “exceptional Mexican cuisine,” curated by one of the Austin-area’s longtime restaurateurs specializing in authentic carne asada, fajitas and some perfectly strong margaritas.
Jaime Fernandez – the owner and operator of traditional Mexican restaurants Jalisco’s Restaurant & Bar in Austin and Buda, and Tequila Bar & Grill in Round Rock – will open a new restaurant concept at the Co-Op District in Hutto, the new 35-acre mix – use development off the US highway. 79.
The as-yet-unnamed new Mexican restaurant is slated to open in late 2022 and is expected to create 40 to 60 jobs in the community.
The restaurant will offer a Jalisco-like menu that includes authentic, artisanal Mexican cuisine. The concept will also host live music performances and offer an outdoor terrace and bar area that will be perfect for sipping a signature frozen margarita while socializing with friends and watching sporting events on multiple large screens.
“We are thrilled that this much-loved family restaurant has chosen Hutto and our cooperative neighborhood for its new location, where residents can enjoy truly authentic and exceptional Mexican cuisine,” says Wyatt Henderson, co-founder and director of MA Partners, the Co-Op District developer.
The new Mexican food spot will join neighboring tenants in the Cooperative District, including Southside Market & Barbecue, aka Texas’ oldest barbecue restaurant, Hutto City Hall and Library, and local love Top Notch Hamburgers.
High-density residential, commercial and entertainment components are yet to come, as well as a hotel, amphitheater, cinema and other restaurants.
The sprawling mixed-use Cooperative District, built to be a walkable business, commercial, entertainment and residential destination, is located on the site of the original Hutto Cooperative, built in 1937.
In 2004, the owners of approximately 18 acres on the property, Hutto Co-Op Gin and Hutto Co-Op Grainery, sold their property and structures to the Town of Hutto, paving the way for new development and heralding a transformation into the former quiet town of Williamson County.
In deference to this history, the Co-Op District includes four towering grain elevators that have been preserved and anchor the development as visual symbols of the community’s agricultural past.
For Fernandez, who opened the first Jalisco restaurant in Austin in 1994, the Co-Op District appealed as a community gathering place with strong local roots.
“We’ve been looking for a prime location for a restaurant in Hutto for years because of the genuine, down-to-earth residents and the town’s continued growth and opportunity,” says Fernandez. “When we first heard about the Co-Op District, we were immediately interested. The development is more than just a commercial property, and it’s clear that the developers care about the vibe of the development and make it a community gathering destination for the city.