An interview with Nicholas Yanes, owner and executive chef of Austin’s Juniper restaurant.
Cigars & Leisure: What was your motivation behind opening Juniper?
Nicholas Yanes: I wanted to conceptualize, into a menu, my vision of Italian food as it relates to Central Texas. It was important to me to use local ingredients within the dishes but also be reminiscent of the love, care, and thoughtfulness one would receive while at a genuine food and drink experience in Italy.
What sets Juniper apart from other restaurants in Austin?
Juniper was built on a foundation of what we believe are the four pillars of a good restaurant: food, beverage, ambiance, and, most importantly, service. The strength, execution, forward-thinking, and consistency of all four of these at the same time is what we believe sets us apart.
What makes Austin such a great place for a restaurant like Juniper?
Austin has a genuine love for chefs and our craft. As such, there is so much local support, interest, and appreciation for our offerings—it’s been truly amazing to be part of this culinary landscape.
For someone visiting Austin, what are some must-have food experiences?
Besides Juniper, Uchi is a local staple and so much fun; Franklin BBQ is worth the wait; Roosevelt Room for drinks; Alamo Drafthouse Ritz for a movie; Perla’s for great people-watching.
Food aside, what makes Austin such a great city to visit?
Austin has such a wide range of things to do, from outdoor activities to an incredible culture of nightlife. The Hill Country is an incredible place to live, but even for a short visit, it has a lot of natural beauty to appreciate. It has been exciting to watch Austin continue to grow as a contender for a top U.S. destination. The influx of visitors, events, and residents is a key qualifier for this and why this city is so incredible.