Editor's note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the what’s what and who’s who of Austin food. But we have you covered with our roundup of the freshest Austin restaurant news.
Ling Qi Wu, the force behind Wu Chow’s wildly popular Shanghai soup dumplings, is opening a new dim sum restaurant and bar in the former home of Rounder’s Pizza in Clarksville. According to a placeholder website, Lin will open in March.
Hot on the heels of the opening of H-Mart’s new Asian supermarket and food hall, California-based 99 Ranch finally announced an opening date for their similar concept at Airport and North Lamar boulevards. This food hall will feature a juice bar, Chinese food from Asian Gourmet Kitchen, and pastries and bread from BF Bakery and Cafe.
The Draft Pick in the Amli South Shore building at 1620 E. Riverside Dr. has shuttered. According to a Reddit user, a notice on the door said the closing was due to a nonpayment of more than $60,000 in back rent.
Recently named James Beard Award semifinalist Kevin Fink and his team at Emmer & Rye are launching a guest chef dinner series with a twist. Instead of a ticketed dinner, the series will offer an a la carte menu so guests can eat as much — or as little — as they want. Kicking things off on February 22 is ex-Noma and The Catbird Seat chef Trevor Moran, and Anna Posey and David Posey of Michelin-starred Elske in Chicago. Future editions will include Mathew Peters, the first American chef to win the coveted Bocuse d’Or; 2017 Food & Wine Best New Chef Jay Blackington of Hogstone & Aelder near Seattle; 2016 James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year Daniela Soto-Innes of New York City’s Cosme and Atla; and Fink's fellow 2018 James Beard semifinalists Diego Galicia and Rico Torres of San Antonio’s Mixtli.
Speaking of superstar chefs, Sustainable Food Center has released the lineup for the 11th annual Farm to Plate fundraiser. This year’s event will feature an A-to-Z of Austin culinary talent including Thomas Calhoun from Aviary Wine + Kitchen, Andrew Curren from Italic, Anthony Sobotik from Lick Honest Ice Creams, Nicholas Yanes of Juniper, and Ashley Whitmore of the upcoming Sour Duck. Score tickets and see the full list of participating chefs here.
Long-running sports bar and restaurant The Tavern has found a new owner. Esther’s Follies co-founders Shannon Sedwick and Michael Shelton, who ran the bar for a brief time in the late ’70s and early ’80s, bought the operation from previous owners Ellis Winstanley and Austin Winstanley. The menu will be revamped with comfort food favorites from Three Little Pigs chef Raymond Tatum.
Austin Eastciders have added another cider to their portfolio: ruby red grapefruit. Get a first taste of it at a launch party at Hotel Vegas on February 24 at 7 pm, or party February 25 at the brand’s “collaboratory” at 979 Springdale Rd., where they will offer live music and food from Ginger Armadillo and Garbo’s Fresh Maine Lobster.
On February 8, the Austin Food & Wine Alliance announced the winners of $50,000 in grants — the highest ever for the nonprofit. Winners this year include Snodgrass Farms, a Georgetown operation that helps wounded veterans; FOND Bone Broth, teaching farm Hills of Milk & Honey Farm, vegan bakery Skull & Cakebones, culinary incubator The Cook’s Nook, barbecue truck LeRoy & Lewis, food community nonprofit Austin Farmshare, and backyard gardener support organization Yard to Market Cooperative.