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.
Garbo’s Fresh Maine Lobster is taking the plunge into Whole Foods Market. The latest location of the seafood favorite will be settling into the Draft Shack beer bar inside the Domain location on September 24 with a menu that includes its signature lobster rolls, spicy crab rolls, lobster Cobb salad, and a grilled brisket and sirloin burger. The upscale grocer has increasingly looked to outside vendors to provide prepared foods in its stores. Cult Oregon mini-chain Next Level Burgers will be moving into Whole Foods' downtown flagship this fall.
For the first time in its almost 70 year existence, Tex-Mex landmark Cisco’s is serving dinner. Early in September, the restaurant launched extended hours until 10 pm daily with a menu that includes migas, huevos rancheros, fajitas, enchiladas, and the eatery’s famous biscuits. The bar menu has also been refreshed to include local craft beer on tap.
Sixth Street bar Aquarium has undergone major renovations and relaunched on September 19 as The Aquarium on Sixth. The newly designed watering hole now has actual fish tanks, a two-story slide, and a whole new sleek look. The drink menu will keep the aquatic theme going with shareable fish bowl drinks available in three sizes. The grand opening party is scheduled for October 3.
On September 18, the Austin Food & Wine Alliance announced that applications are open for nonprofit’s culinary innovation grants. This year, $60,000 will be available, which encompasses several new grants including $5,000 from Willie Nelson’s Luck ranch, $2,500 provided by former winners Texas Keeper Cider and Two Hives Honey, and $2,500 in honor of late Con’ Olio Oils & Vinegars owner Jeff Conarko. Find full details about all of the grants here.
Paperboy’s Texas hash was one of four American breakfast dishes chosen to refresh the morning menu at Washington, D.C.’s historic Watergate Hotel (yes, that Watergate). Homesick Texans can get their fill starting September 26 at the onsite restaurant, Kingbird.
Downtown Southern eatery Fixe has revamped its happy hour menu for fall. New dishes include pimento cheese with pickled green tomato on beef fat focaccia and three seafood offerings: Cajun spiced peel and eat shrimp, tuna tartare with butternut squash and pumpkin seed, and a Gulf seafood chopped salad with shrimp and blue crab. The menu is available 4:30-7 pm Monday-Saturday and 2 pm-close on Sunday.
In other sweet news, downtown brasserie Le Politique launched a patisserie happy hour in early September. From 3-4 pm daily, baked treats like macarons, croissants, and cookies are all half off.
Funky Congress Avenue eatery Swift’s Attic announced the lineup for its fall Big-Ass Burger specials. Each Monday, the restaurant pulls out all the stops for a $10 burger special starting at 9 pm. Guests are encouraged to arrive early for juicy offerings like a steak tartare burger on September 24, the Sloppiest Joe on October 18, and the You Drive Me Caprese on November 11. Follow the restaurant on social media to find each week’s deal.
AFS Cinema has introduced two new cocktails inspired by films screening in September. The rye-based Manhattan Project riffs off the classic Manhattan with orange, cherry, and Angostura bitters in honor of '80s cult film The Atomic Cafe. Infinitea, named after art documentary Kusama-Infinity combines matcha cold brew, Tito’s vodka, simple syrup, and sparkling water for a refreshing drink garnished with boozy strawberry boba. Both will be available through the end of the month.
Help fight food insecurity in September by purchasing a buttermilk toffee shake at Mighty Fine Burgers. The Austin-based restaurant will donate 50 cents from every sale of the frosty special to nonprofit No Kid Hungry.
Texas Hill Country distillery Garrison Brothers is celebrating its latest libation with a party in Hye on September 21. Cowboy Bourbon is a cask-strength, uncut, and unfiltered spirit with notes of “still-smoking branded leather, caramel, and chili powder,” according to the release.