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Funky North Loop favorite fights for survival and more Austin restaurant news

North Loop favorite fights for survival and more Austin food news

Phara's interior
The owner of Phara's is asking for help in saving her business. Phara's/ Facebook

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 regular roundup of the freshest Austin restaurant news.

Funky North Loop mainstay Phara’s Mediterranean Restaurant is in danger of closing. According to owner Jeanette Friedmann (aka Phara), the restaurant suffered a loss of business due to this winter's bad weather. The popular back courtyard has remained relatively empty thanks in part to a slate of cancellations on this year's snowy New Year’s Eve, typically one of the busiest days of the season. Fans can donate to the restaurant directly via a GoFundMe page or find reservation info here.

South Austin’s Red Shed Tavern quietly closed on March 31, according to a Facebook post. Owners Meranda Tillmon, Kelly Hudson, and Andrew Hudson said they did not sign on for a new lease because “circumstances are such it doesn’t make sense for us to renew.” The bar at 8504 South Congress Ave. had been in business for nine years.

Mexic-Arte Museum has released the lineup for the annual Taste of Mexico fundraiser, featuring bites and sips from over 40 eateries and beverage brands. The restaurants include upscale hot spots like ATX Cocina and Grizzeldas; newbies like Dai Due Taquería; food trucks including Mellizoz Tacos and Hay Elotes; and Tex-Mex classics like Curra’s Grill, Maudie’s, and Sazón. Score tickets to the annual event here.

In other lineup news, Cochon555 has announced the competitors of its annual pork-centric event on May 20 at the Four Seasons. Ben Runkle of Salt & Time, Fiore Tedesco of L’Oca d’Oro, Abril Galindo and James Flowers of Trio, Gabriel Erales of Dai Due Taquería, and Nathan Lemley and Sarah Heard of Foreign & Domestic will each be given a whole heritage pig which they then cook up into six dishes and present to a panel of judges. The event will also include a cocktail competition for the VIP ticket holders and a pop-up butcher shop from Salt & Time’s Bryan Butler.

Locally owned fermented foods purveyor Hat Creek Provisions has rebranded as it looks to expand past Austin into a national market. The new name, Barrel Creek Provisions, marks a path away from Hat Creek Burgers as both seek to grow the businesses.

Austin water company Clean Cause has branched out to yerba mate. The new energy drink comes in four flavors: blackberry, lemon-lime, raspberry, and peach, and is now available on shelves at Central Market, Fresh Plus, H-E-B, and Royal Blue Grocery. A portion of the proceeds goes towards helping those in drug and alcohol recovery.

Although most of the baskets have sold out in anticipation of Waller Creek Conservancy's annual fundraiser, Waller Creek Picnic, the organizers encourage the Austin community to bring their own basket to join in the fun. For those who don’t feel like cooking for the April 14 event, there are still some packages available from Henbit, Lucky Lime, Uchi, and Wu Chow, or you can get some ideas from our guide to the best grab-and-go spots in Austin.

Lambert’s is having a big shindig to celebrate founding Eater Austin editor Paula Forbes' new The Austin Cookbook on April 12. The party will feature some of the dishes highlighted in the book, including Lamberts' ribeye, Lucy’s fried chicken, Matt’s El Rancho Bob Armstrong dip, and La Condesa chayote slaw.

Sway is celebrating the Thai New Year with a limited-time Songkran menu featuring dishes like tempura-battered alligator, red snapper, and panna cotta — as well as a makrut lime-infused sake and cherry juice punch. The menu will be offered for dinner until April 15.

Austin Eastciders has collaborated with Treaty Oak Distilling for a special tapping available at the company’s “collaboratory” at 979 Springdale Rd. The cider uses bittersweet and bitter-sharp apples before being aged in a rum barrel to give an oaky finish.

The Alamo Drafthouse is celebrating the Austin opening of documentary Ramen Heads with a Q&A before the 7 pm screening on April 13. The panel will feature local noodle experts Eric Silverstein (The Peached Tortilla) and Andrew Dangerfield (Daruma Ramen) with moderator Mia Khalifa. The Peached Tortilla will also be offering a discount on ramen during its Thursday ramen night to anyone who brings a ticket stub.