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When last we checked in with Eric Ziebold — to hear him defend the name of his latest project, South by Southwest, which is actually a restaurant, not an excuse to get drunk in Austin — the esteemed chef said the Southern-minded operation would open in early summer.

Scratch that.

During a phone conversation yesterday, Ziebold said that South by Southwest, which replaces Cafe MoZU at the Mandarin Oriental, wouldn’t open until September. The problem, Ziebold said, is that the original designer envisioned a “bold, bright” space. Unfortunately, that wasn’t Ziebold’s vision.

“We were looking to make a statement by not making a statement. You know what I mean?” Ziebold told Y&H. “I’m a less-is-more kind of person…It wasn’t going in that direction.”

But it took the SXSW team six weeks to pull the plug on the first designer, Ziebold said. The new designer, based in Los Angeles, is working out far better, helping put together a space that doesn’t feel so designed, the chef added.

Still, the new designers have run into delays, too, whether learning that the curtain fabric they originally wanted was no longer in production or trying to design custom-made china for South by Southwest. The china maker is apparently based in Colombia, Ziebold said. “So the process of getting samples is not exactly efficient,” he deadpans.

Photo courtesy of the Mandarin Oriental