This article first appeared in Texas Lifestyle Magazine on January 25, 2019.
Nestled in the Millennium development on downtown Rainey Street, Anthem is giving Austin one of its newest and most diverse menus yet.
Since opening its doors last September, Rainey Street’s newest addition, Anthem, has been named America’s Best New Restaurant for 2018 by USA Today, having been the only Texas restaurant to make the publication’s Top 10 List.
Anthem is the newest concept of Anthony Hitchcock, an original Austinite, and Houston-native Tony Gentile. The two have been expanding their love of food for over 16 years through the development of multiple restaurant concepts, but Anthem is the first in Austin.
“I want Anthem to be a gathering place where we can all rally around food, drink, and community,” says Anthony Hitchcock
The inspiration for Anthem comes from Hitchcock’s childhood in Austin and the eclectic, diverse culture and food that surrounded him while growing up. Together with Gentile, they brought Hitchcock’s childhood experiences to life through a celebration of food, friendship, and culture. The food is thoroughly American but mixed with Asian ingredients, like a sprinkling of togarashi on the fries or sake-braised onion on the burger that takes them to the next level.
There’s a cozy, welcoming atmosphere to the restaurant, while the eclectic decor and attention to detail help you realize the careful thought and planning Hitchcock and Gentile put into making Anthem a quintessential Austin experience.
The retro-style booths lined with green velvet help create the eclectic ambiance that Hitchcock originally envisioned. The Hawaiian tikis throughout Anthem add a touch of aloha with the free-spirit found in Austin making this newest eatery such a hit!
With dishes meant for sharing, the extensive, creative menu includes Brisket Rangoons, Freaky Tiki Taquitos, Thai Hippie Tofu, and the Aloha Burger, to name a few. The menu options also include many vegetarian dishes as well as those that are gluten-free upon request, so there’s something that everyone will find and enjoy.
The choice was tough, but I opted for the Hapa Chicken Sandwich for my entree and the Sweet Potato Waffle Fries with truffle yuzu and miso aioli as a side, but I began my Anthem experience with the vegetarian appetizer, Shishito Pepper Queso. It combines fire-roasted shishito peppers and veggies with melted white queso that rivals any queso I’ve ever eaten. Texans know good queso, and this dish should surely not be missed.
The Hapa Chicken is a karaage chicken thigh served on an onion bun with spicy cherry pepper and cucumber sunomono relish and Chinese grain mustard aioli. Every bite was more delicious than the next. With that being said, my all-time new favorite is the waffle fries with miso aioli. You have never experienced the goodness of a sweet potato fry until it is dipped in creamy miso sauce. WARNING: The truffle yuzu and miso sauce is highly addicting and comes with almost every dish!
Anthem’s extensive drink menu is tiki-inspired and includes classic cocktails like Island Mule and Mai Tai, but also the Magnum, P.I. that combines pineapple-infused Cruzan rum, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, and lime. In addition, the bar includes 40 beer taps, red and white wine, sake and shochu bombs, and cocktails.
Anthem is about coming together with friends and family while sharing in an Austin meal experience. My daughter came along with me to Anthem for lunch, and we certainly shared a few laughs, a lot of secrets, and the best food we’ve eaten in quite some time.