AUSTIN (KXAN) — After a mention this week from The New York Times, people are going to have a hard time booking a reservation anytime soon at the east Austin restaurant Canje.
Owner Tavel Bristol-Joseph said there are now no more openings until November since the Times included Canje in its list of the 50 restaurants it’s most excited about right now in America. That distinction — on top of Bon Appétit naming Canje as one of the best new restaurants of 2022 — drummed up even much interest in the eatery located on East Sixth Street near Chicon Street.
“Honestly, I am like on cloud nine. My team is on cloud nine,” Bristol-Joseph said during an interview Wednesday. “You know, reservations have been going crazy. We’re booked up all the way until November, and it’s just been, it’s just been beautiful, man.”
The menu includes delicious food with ties to his home country of Guyana, like the popular wild boar pepper pot, and different Caribbean nations. Because the flavors have that connection, Bristol-Joseph said all the success that Canje is experiencing right now makes it even more personal.
“I’ll put it this way: everything that I’ve been able to achieve in my career up until this point, it was basically based on my training. I went to New York Restaurant School, and everything basically started from the time I was 17 to this point, so we’re making French desserts. I’m making Italian desserts, and we’re really focused on those techniques and those styles of cooking,” Bristol-Joseph said. “With Canje, it basically represents everything from 17 backwards, right? So all the food that I grew up with, all the food that I saw my aunts and uncles preparing. Those are the things that now it’s kind of like showcasing on this menu, and that’s what makes it really special because it’s basically the representation of Tavel before, you know, pastry chef extraordinaire — let’s put it that way.”
As co-owner of the Emmer & Rye Hospitality Group, he helps oversee a total of seven restaurants in Austin and now in San Antonio. The majority of those spaces are in Austin, and he explained why it’s been such a successful place to grow business roots.
“The chef community here is amazing, very welcoming,” Bristol-Joseph explained. “It’s the most welcoming community that I’ve been a part of. When we talk about agriculture and we talk about local farm and sustainability, those are things that are very important to us, and we were able to come to Austin and actually make true connections with everyone that are doing amazing work out here in our food system.”