Austin/ Food & Drinks
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Published on April 23, 2024
Lao'd Bar Brings Laotian-American Fusion Cuisine to East Austin with Chef Bob Somsith at the HelmSource: Google Street View

Austin's culinary landscape welcomes a new member with the opening of Lao'd Bar, a modern Laotian American eatery serving up a fusion of Southeast Asian flavors with American classics, situated at 9909 Farm-to-Market Road 969, Building 4 on the far east side of the city. The much-talked-about spot is set to open its doors on Wednesday, April 24, inviting patrons to explore an intriguing blend of cultures through its diverse menu offerings, as reported by Eater Austin.

The man behind the venture is Chef Bob Somsith, a Dallas-raised Laotian American, whose gastronomic roots reach back to a successful food truck originally known as SXSE and later renamed Sek-sē•Füd•Kō, the launch pad that set the stage for this new brick-and-mortar ambition; his food truck's closure in March paved the way for the establishment of Lao'd Bar where Somsith plans to showcase a menu that includes a smash burger with a Laotian pork sausage patty and a coconut escolar ceviche, among other unique creations that blend Southern comfort with Southeast Asian zing, according to Eater Austin.

Regulars of the previous food truck can expect some continuity with items like rib-eye skewers and pork bao buns, but new additions to the lineup include a lab-seasoned poke bowl, indicative of Somsith's commitment to staying true to his personal culinary experiences over strict traditionalism, as per Austin American-Statesman, "It’s just the way I grew up." Beer enthusiasts and cocktail aficionados will not be disappointed either, as the beverage program features an array of offerings including a signature Beerlao, the jasmine rice lager, and innovative cocktails like the mango sticky rice-inspired Muang Royale.

True to the market-style ambiance Somsith envisions, Lao'd Bar sports garage doors and string lights against a backdrop of colorful murals and upcycled decor, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of a Laotian night market; with bars made from salvaged goods, it nods to Austin's eclectic charm while additionally offering popular local beers like those from Vacancy Brewing and Zilker Brewing, as detailed by Eater Austin.