Photo by Amy Denney
Opening a restaurant in the neighborhood Doug Young grew up in leads to frequent visits from his mother’s friends.
“The lady that just came in is friends with my mom,” he said on an afternoon in late July. “[Her friends] still all live over there in the Balcones, Spicewood area.”
But owning a place where neighbors can meet up for dinner, drinks or the big game is exactly what Young and co-owner Matt Dodson, also a native North Austinite, had in mind for Cover 2, which opened in March as a scaled-down version of Cover 3.
“This is a great neighborhood, great area, but it’s very underserved [by] restaurants,” Dodson said. “There’s so many people moving to this area and it’s growing, but the restaurant population isn’t keeping up with the actual population.”
Dodson and Young opened Cover 3 in November 2008 on West Anderson Lane near Burnet Road. Both Cover 2 and Cover 3 are named after different types of defensive coverages in football.
Their goal was to create a sports bar that would appeal to women and offer an upscale menu. For their second restaurant, they shifted away from the darker atmosphere at Cover 3 and worked with the existing site’s numerous windows.
Cover 2 has 26 big-screen televisions, and Dodson and Young recently installed equipment that syncs to a free smartphone application called Audio Air. A customer can download the mobile application and listen to any TV in the restaurant. Cover 2 also supplies free headphones.
“It’s just another added benefit,” Young said.
The restaurant’s laid-back vibe is what drew Jon Cannon and several friends for after-work drinks and flatbread pizzas. Cannon said the atmosphere is sophisticated without being pretentious.
“I’ve been here multiple times,” he said. “I work down the road from here and used to live by Cover 3. Even when [Cover 2] is crowded, you can usually get in pretty quickly.”
Although Cover 2 offers some Cover 3 customer favorites, it has its own special items. Dodson and Young wanted to offer wings at Cover 3, but they had not quite perfected the recipe. After three years of tweaking their brining, steaming and cooking methods, Dodson said the wings now deserve a place on Cover 2’s menu. For $9.95, patrons get 10 wings available in four flavors, such as buffalo and ranch.
Dodson’s namesake menu item is Matt’s Chili ($7), which is made by steeping whole chiles in beef stock and using chuck beef instead of ground beef.
“It’s not a super hot chili. It just has a super slow burn to it,” Dodson said.
Young’s favorite sandwich is not hard to guess as it bears his name: Doug’s Certified Reuben ($9). The corned beef sandwich comes on marble rye bread made at a local bakery and has a house-made Thousand Island sauce with a kick.
“We love what we do,” Young said. “We love to eat and drink and have fun, and we’ve always loved sports. It’s kind of a dream job.”
The Dougie is a hip-hop dance that involves a lot of shimmying and swaying from side to side. At Cover 2, it is also a margarita topped with a mini Corona ($9). The 7 oz. beer, called a Coronita, is held in place with a special holder. Co-owner Doug Young said he is not quite sure how the margarita’s name came to be.
“I might have been doing the Dougie,” he said, laughing.
Some specialties on Cover 2’s cocktail list are the strawberry basil lemonade ($8.95) made with Ketel One Citroen Vodka and Patron Citronge, and the citrus mint mojito ($8) made with Smirnoff citrus vodka and apple juice.
“Everything we do with our cocktails is fresh: fresh strawberries, mint, cucumber,” co-owner Matt Dodson said.
Cover 2’s signature menu item is its flatbread pizzas, which are available in three flavors, including roasted mushroom and caramelized onion ($8.95).
“We wanted to do a bar with more shareable food,” co-owner Doug Young said.
On Sundays, Cover 2 promotes its flatbreads with Sunday Funday specials from 4–11 p.m. featuring $5 flatbreads and $3 draft beers.
Cover 2, 13701 Research Blvd., 506-9935, www.cover-2.com
Hours: Sun.–Thu. 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–midnight