Galaxy Cafe set for February opening in Steiner

Steiner Ranch will be home to the fourth Galaxy Cafe like this one in South Austin at 9911 Brodie Lane.

Austin chain to be kid- and dog-friendly

By LESLEE BASSMAN, Four Points News

Although Four Points residents will have to wait about seven months for its opening, Galaxy Cafe co-founder and co-owner Jay Bunda is banking on the eatery being worth the wait.

The Austin-based institution is set to open mid-February in the Quinlan Crossing Shopping Center at 5145 RM 620, Building C, Austin, the former site of Zack’s American Bistro that closed March 9.

Bunda said he is partnering with Chris Courtney for the fourth location of the casual eatery that has sites on West Lynn and in Northwest Hills and South Austin. The Steiner Ranch location will replace Galaxy Cafe’s site in the Triangle area of Austin that closed April 15.

The Steiner Ranch Galaxy Cafe will offer the same breakfast, lunch and dinner menu items as its other sites including wraps, soups, salads, sandwiches, hamburgers, meatloaf, tacos, pasta and grilled salmon plates, Bunda said. Bowl meals — including Magnolia Buddha Bowl with seasoned ground beef, sauteed vegetables and brown rice pilaf — have become very popular with diners after the dishes were added to the menu last year, he said.

A kid’s menu and gluten-free options are also available.

“One of my business partners had heard from a friend of his who lives in Steiner Ranch that there was a location there that, as it turns out, was Zack’s American Bistro and we should take a look at it,” Bunda said. “We did and it was perfect for us.”

He said the interior of the current standalone building will be “completely redesigned.”

“None of our Galaxies look exactly the same; that’s kind of our thing,” Bunda said. “We try to avoid the cookie cutter look so when you walk into any one of our restaurants, while they will look different from each other, they still look like a restaurant you would call Galaxy Cafe.”

However, the outdoor playscape featured in the local location is an accessory not found in the other Galaxy Cafe sites, he said. Dog-friendly dining will also be featured at the Steiner Ranch restaurant together with an area where the dogs can run free but not interfere with the children’s playscape, he said.

Plans include outdoor seating on the patio that may double the entire capacity of the restaurant’s interior, Bunda said.

Bunda and Courtney, who became acquainted while working at Chuy’s, collaborated on the Galaxy Cafe restaurants after each left his local job — with Courtney as General Manager of The Shady Grove and Bunda as General Manager of the original Chuy’s on Barton Springs, Bunda said. The first Galaxy Cafe at 9911 Brodie Lane opened in January 2004, he said. The partners also own Zocalo Cafe and Top Notch Hamburger restaurants, an entity Bunda said the group is seeking to expand once he and Courtney open the Steiner Ranch Galaxy Cafe.

“As opposed to a destination restaurant or a restaurant where someone goes to do big celebrations, we’re just kind of that everyday place, that consistent place where you go to lunch and you bring friends to breakfast on the weekends,” Bunda said of the Galaxy Cafe.