new food in the tunnels

New downtown food hall's soft opening serves up pasta and burgers

New downtown food hall's soft opening serves up pasta and burgers

Understory food hall Flip n Patties stand
Flip 'n Patties is now open at Understory. Courtesy of Understory
Mona Italian Food pasta with meatball
Find freshly made pasta at Mona. Photo by Becca Wright
Understory food hall Mona Fresh Italian food
Office workers lining up for Mona. Courtesy of Understory
Flip N Patties burger
The Flip 'n Patties burger features a cheese-stuffed portabello mushroom. Photo by Eric Sandler
Understory food hall Flip n Patties stand
Mona Italian Food pasta with meatball
Understory food hall Mona Fresh Italian food
Flip N Patties burger

Downtown's newest food hall has begun its soft opening. Two vendors at Understory — Flip 'n Patties and Mona Fresh Italian Food — are only serving lunch for now, but their hours will expand soon.

“We are pleased to announce that our first tastemakers, Flip ‘n Patties and Mona Fresh Italian Food, are now open in Understory at our premier Bank of America Tower development," Matt Damborsky, executive vice president for Skanska USA Commercial Development in Houston, said in a statement. "We expect Understory’s full range of dynamic chef-driven concepts to open in July and look forward to exploring additional retail opportunities for this vibrant community hub in the coming months."

Flip 'n Patties is the food truck-turned-restaurant best known for its Filipino-inspired fare and decadent, over-the-top burgers. For example, the signature Flip 'n Patties burger features an akaushi beef patty topped with a cheese-stuffed portabello mushroom, cheddar, bacon, and two sauces.

Mona Fresh Italian is chef Sidney Degaine's fast casual follow-up to Cafe Azur, the French restaurant he sold last year. The restaurant offers an update on the pasta bar concept, giving diners the opportunity to choose their toppings (fresh vegetables as well as prepared items like roasted eggplant and roasted zucchini), sauce (alfredo, pomodoro, etc.), and proteins (meatball, Italian sausage, etc).

Located in the Bank of America Tower (formerly the Capitol Tower), Understory features several elements that should make it a compelling destination. For downtown office workers, it offers five points of access to the tunnels, making it easy to get to during the lunch rush. Murals and design elements overseen by Austin’s Michael Hsu Office of Architecture should make it appealing to look at.

The rest of the culinary lineup includes EaDo favorite SeaSide Poké, a third location of Boomtown Coffee, Dallas-based sandwich shop East Hampton Sandwich Co., and Mama Ninfa's Tacos y Tortas, a new fast casual concept from the chef and owners of The Original Ninfa's on Navigation.