News you can eat

Austin adds 4 new restaurants, Whole Foods debuts fresh look, plus more food news

Austin adds 4 new restaurants, Whole Foods' fresh look, plus more news

Lotus + Cleaver
Lotus + Cleaver has launched a new lunch menu. Lotus + Cleaver

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.

Chihuahua, Mexico-based fast casual chain Woko Loco is opening its first U.S. store at 1201 Barbara Jordan Blvd. in the Mueller development this fall. The restaurant is yet another “Chipotle of” concept, this time allowing customers to build their own noodle bowls from a variety of veggies, meats, and sauces.

Lubbock franchise Bahama Buck’s is moving into 105 E. Stassney Ln. on May 29. The shop focuses on acai bowls, fruit cups, smoothies, shaved ice, and frozen coffee drinks — many made without sugar or dairy to accommodate specialty diets.

Hi Wings Chicken House is now open at 2525 W. Anderson Ln. in Northcross Mall. The menu features all sorts of things to make your cardiologist nervous, including fried macaroni, mozzarella sticks, fried pickles, jalapeño poppers, Korean fried chicken, and fried wings.

Construction on beloved institution Tacodeli has begun at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Along with an Einstein Bros. Bagels, the taco joint will replace the Austin Java and a newsstand near Gate 14 in the Barbara Jordan Terminal. The renovation, which should be complete by late 2018, also includes a live music venue and stage.

A mixed beverage permit has been filed for a new concept called She’s Not Here at 440 W. Second St., the former home of tapas bar Malaga. According to LinkedIn, one of the partners is Ben Cachila, also a partner in Old Thousand and the newly opened 40 North. CultureMap has reached out to company reps for details.

With its new Northwest-style pale ale, Thirsty Planet Brewing Co. is getting into the music business — sort of. To celebrate, the brewery is releasing a six-track flexi-vinyl recording of production sounds on May 26 at End of an Ear, which will no doubt be sampled in an EDM banger years from now.

Whole Foods Market has completely revamped its Gateway location at 9607 Research Blvd. In addition to adding tons of new products, there is now a self serve pizza station, a larger hot bar, a new bulk department, and a new wine department with 60 new sparkling wines (perfect for toasting the renovation). See the new features yourself May 18 and enjoy 10 percent off purchases on $75 or more.

We may never know what went down with VOX Table’s sudden shutter, but we do now know what happened to its talented chef. Joe Anguiano has joined the Kerbey Lane team as executive chef and will spearhead the creation of future seasonal menus.

The upcoming Bird Bird Biscuit is hosting one last pop-up on May 19 in preparation for a June opening. The party at the Thunderbird Coffee on 2200 Manor Rd. will feature its Dough Dough biscuit doughnut holes from 9 am until sold out.

Following the ageless advice of Huey Lewis, Cane Rosso has decided it’s hip to be square. The pizzeria has introduced Sicilian-style square pies during dinner to go with its Neapolitan offerings.

Lotus + Cleaver in the Domain Northside has launched a new lunch service allowing customers to build their own bowls from a variety of bases, veggies, and proteins. Sides like avocado toast will also be available, as well as fresh juices and teas.

Legendary winemaker Jean-Michel Cazes, a 1960 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, will return to town May 22-23 for two special appearances. First up is a free meet-and-greet and bottle signing at the 4001. S. Lamar Blvd. location of Twin Liquors on May 22, followed by a decidedly not free wine dinner at Jeffrey’s on May 23. The latter will feature a lavish four-course dinner from chef Mark McCain.

Act now to score the last few tickets available for Cochon 555 on May 20, the annual heritage pig cooking competition featuring some of Austin’s best chefs. This competitors showing their (pork) chops this year are Abril Galindo Lopez and James Flowers of Trio, Ben Runkle and Louis Ciola of Salt & Time, Fiore Tedesco of L’Oca d’Oro, Gabriel Erales of Dai Due Taqueria, and Nathan Lemley and Sarah Heard of Foreign & Domestic.

Imbibe Magazine and Campari are once again inviting Austinites to see red for Negroni Week, the annual fundraising promotion that invites bars and restaurants around the city to mix for a good cause. Participants this year include Holy Roller, Odd Duck, The Townsend, Via 313, Half Step, Gelateria Gemelli, and a whole lot more. Find the full list of local participants here.