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Prolific Austin chef dreams up new Middle Eastern restaurant, and more food news

Austin chef dreams up Middle Eastern restaurant, plus more food news

Roya Austin kabobs
Upcoming restaurant Roya will be giving guests a sneak peak at its Middle Eastern fare during a kabob pop-up. Photo by Courtney Pierce

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.

Amir Hajimaleki, the chef and co-owner of popular neighborhood eateries District Kitchen + Cocktails and Oasthouse Kitchen + Bar, is opening a new restaurant inspired by his Persian roots. Details are scant about the upcoming Roya (the name translates to “dream”), but diners can get a sneak peak at the menu during a kabob pop-up held at Eden East Farm on October 25. Proceeds from the one-night affair will benefit Austin Food & Wine Alliance’s Culinary Grant Program.

The wait is over for the first area location of cult Oregon eatery Next Level Burger. The plant-based purveyor will be up and running at the flagship Whole Foods Market on October 12 with a menu including loaded fries, hot dogs, salads, and herbivore sandwiches. After the ribbon cutting at 10:45 am, the first 50 guests in line will receive a limited edition Austin NLB T-shirt, which may come in handy if they choose to tackle the chain’s Animal burger, a messy beast with sausage-style patties, tempeh bacon, crinkle cut fries, sautéed onion, vegan cheese, and two sauces.

While renovating their shop at 4631 Airport Blvd., Sweet Ritual is joining downtown'sx Toy Joy for a pop-up. The vegan ice cream parlor will be temporarily housed in Second Street shop until construction is finished sometime in November.

In more frosty news, Lick Honest Ice Creams have opened a truck — nicknamed Barb — at its company headquarters at 2000 Windy Terr. in Cedar Park. The outpost, which opened October 6, is a mini version of the shops with a menu of scoops, ice cream sandwiches, and half pints. 

The James Beard Foundation has released the menu for the Austin stop of its Taste America Tour gala dinner. Highlights include fall squash barbecue with apple-saison marmalade, sunchoke cream, and candied seeds and grains from The Brewer’s Table’s Zach Hunter; little gem lettuce with roasted tomatoes, grapefruit, and sheep’s milk feta from Sarah Hymanson and Sara Kramer of Kismet in Los Angeles; and dark chocolate mousse with a milk chocolate and Texas pecan mole from Emmer & Rye’s Tavel Bristol-Joseph. See full list of participants and purchase tickets here.

The Houston Barbecue Festival is bringing the second annual HOU-ATX BBQ Throwdown to Friends & Allies Brewing this year. The December 9 event will see LeRoy & Lewis Barbecue defend their championship against rivals including Austin-area favorites Brotherton’s Black Iron Barbecue, Banger’s Sausage House, and Micklethwait Craft Meats; Houston greats Beaver’s, Daddy Duncan’s BBQ, El Burro & the Bull, Harlem Road Texas BBQ, and Victorian’s Barbecue; and wildcard Longview entry Bodacious Bar-B-Q.

Viceland star Matty Matheson is making a stop at Urban Outfitters’ Space 24 Twenty from 6-9 pm on October 15 to promote his new cookbook. Purchase of the appropriately titled A Cookbook gets guests in the door, where they can nab a complimentary Hot Luck bookmark and sample sips and bites from Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ, Topo Chico, and Austin Eastciders.

Acclaimed Italian restaurant L’oca d’Oro is holding a San Gennaro Festival between 11 am-4 pm on October 21. The feast, honoring the patron saint of Naples, will feature Neapolitan street food, beer and wine, fortune telling, face painting, bocce ball, and live music from The Lucky Strikes.