Austin artisans make new restaurant truly local



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Posted on June 23, 2013 at 10:59 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 25 at 7:50 AM

AUSTIN -- Chances are most of the restaurants on the food frontier otherwise known as Austin, Texas, don't have a custom-made bicycle rack out back.

"We're always looking for interesting projects," said Aaron Goeth, co-owner of Windmill Bicycles.

A few months ago, Goeth got involved in a plan to help build qui restaurant on East 6th Street and bring Austin's creative community closer together.

"It's all about Paul being like, 'Hey make it nuts, make it not look like anything else in town," said Goeth.

Long time Austin resident Paul Qui wanted his first brick and mortar restaurant to do more than attract diners with discerning tastes.

"It's making these connections with different people, and it's slowly building the community from the inside out, ya know," Qui said.

The winner of Bravo's "Top Chef" and a James Beard Award also wanted to draw in area artisans to make his 50-seat space unique.

"The more we get experience with doing this, the stronger our bonds will be, and the more people we will attract," Qui said.

Local businesses contributed to more than just the outside elements at qui. Designers helped Paul create things in the dining room like the plates diners will eat from and the aprons worn by staff.

"Austin is a pretty small community, and I don't think you're ever one or two steps away from meeting someone whose work you admire," said Keith Kreeger.

When qui came calling late last year, Kreeger jumped at the chance to be a part of it, designing a line of pottery. He hopes his contribution will inspire more than just the diners.

"I think if the creative and the restaurant community are kind of guiding the growth of Austin, I think we're in a good spot," Kreeger said.

It's a philosophy Kreeger's new friend Goeth believes has been part of the city all along.

"You just kinda make what you want, and if people like it, cool, and if we've done a good job, it will get used well, and that's important," said Goeth.

qui opened June 20.