Thanks to top local talent and national cable television companies like BRAVO and the Travel Channel taking a keen interest in our city, Austin has dramatically elevated its culinary profile over the last several years.
2012 saw the industrious rise of Paul Qui and the quiet fall of BBQ pitmaster John Mueller, as well as other announcements impacting the city's fabric, like the long-awaited development of a Trader Joe's in downtown Austin.
We asked you, our readers, to vote on what you considered the "biggest" food-related story of the year. According to the news that came in throughout the year, as well as your response to it, it would appear that Austinites are quite forward-looking when it comes to culinary development — and ultimately welcome change.
Without further ado, here's how the stories stacked up this year:
1) Paul Qui winning Top Chef Texas took 34% of your votes as the most popular food story of 2012.
2) The news of Trader Joe's arrival in Austin took 22% of the votes. The affordable, fresh grocer was the first confirmed retail tenant of the Seaholm Power Plant mixed-use development. The plan as of spring 2012? Target what the company deemed "urban bohemians."
Update: So far, we're still waiting…
3) The departure of food trailers from a popular downtown corner this summer took 17% of the votes.
Update: The forced relocation is just another mark of Austin's rapid growth; the trailers were booted out to make way for what we now know as the "Monster-Marriott," slated to open in 2015.
4) John Mueller's ousting from J Mueller BBQ came as sheer shock and racked up 14% of the votes.
Update: Mueller allegedly had a falling out with his sister over finances, causing her to take over the reins on the pit.
5) Last, but not least, 11% of readers voted on Austin Food and Wine Festival's dusty start. As C3's first attempt at a food and wine festival, the event received both praise and criticism, but is bound to be a sell-out event in its second year.
Update: C3 considered the feedback and announced expanded ticketing options, larger demo tents and a grander Grand Tasting.
Check back over the next few weeks, as we round up the top stories in Music + Film, Design + Style and other hot headlines.