Queer Eye for the Austin guy — and gal
5 Fab Five-approved local businesses featured on Queer Eye’s new Austin season
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, by now you’ve heard that the Fab Five have left their mark on Austin.
That’s right, the new season of Queer Eye was filmed in our fair city and features 10 episodes highlighting Austinites whose lives were changed by the Fab Five: Jonathan Van Ness, Tan France, Karamo Brown, Bobby Berk, and Antoni Porowski (and Porowski’s Austin Pets Alive!-adopted dog, Neon).
Netflix announced production had begun on the Austin-based sixth season of the show in March 2020, and we all know what happened shortly thereafter. But after some production delays and what felt like a lifetime of waiting patiently, the new season finally premiered on December 31, just in time to fulfill your New Year’s resolution of crying happy tears while glued to a heartwarming television show.
The Fab Five visited many classic and otherwise beloved Austin locales — the Broken Spoke, Austin Motel, Swedish Hill Bakery, Easy Tiger — but they also highlighted a few local businesses off the beaten path that you may not know about.
Here are five cool Austin spots the Fab Five visited that you — and every other diehard Queer Eye fan in town — will definitely want to add to your 2022 must-visit list.
The owner of this East Austin dessert shop, Sarah Lim, is the featured hero in episode nine, “A Legend in the Baking.” And OMG Squee is just as cute as the name implies, offering Asian American desserts like mochi doughnuts, bubble tea, macarons, and more. And it’s all gluten-free. Not only are the desserts delicious, but they’re so cute that you might not even want to eat them. (We said “might,” people.) Just look at this adorable Hello Kitty doughnut!
At one point in the OMG Squee episode, Lim even accompanies Porowski and France to Sour Duck Market to teach them how to decorate baked goods (and teaches us all a lesson in relinquishing control and delegating tasks — because, you know, Queer Eye is all about hiding secret life wisdom in the guise of piping glazed doughnuts to look like cute teddy bears).
As you can imagine, OMG Squee is “busier than ever,” as Lim told Bustle in December, but you can pre-order your tasty baked goods online and pick them up from the store.
Featured in episode six of the new season as hero Jereka Thomas embraces her natural hair, Damn, Glam! is a full-service hair and nail salon in an East Austin studio space you’ll want to hang out in all day long.
Bloomers and Frocks Vintage Store
Bloomers and Frocks is also featured in Sarah Lim’s episode as France teaches the baker how to use sustainable fashion to feel confident in her own skin. The South First Street vintage shop specializes in one-of-a-kind finds from the 1910s to the 1980s, but its specialty is classic dresses from the 1960s and earlier. You can even sell your vintage clothes there, too.
Liberation Barbell Club
Featured in episode two, 22-year-old athlete and Olympic weightlifting coach Angel Flores learns to find confidence as a trans woman with the help of the Fab Five, and by training at Liberation Barbell Club. (Her coach at the gym even nominated her for the show.)
A no-frills strength-training gym in Southeast Austin, Liberation Barbell Club offers powerlifting classes, Olympic weightlifting classes (taught by Flores herself), and open gym hours for both the public and gym members.
You may not have heard of this garden center that opened during the height of the pandemic, in the summer of 2020, but if you’re planning your spring gardening strategy (or if you’re a wannabe plant parent unsure where to start), you’ll want to check out Garden Seventeen.
The garden center not only sells indoor and outdoor plants, but also plans to offer classes for plant enthusiasts (stay tuned to the website for details).
Garden Seventeen was also featured in episode six, when Berk visited with Thomas and her son, Carter, to provide fountains, plants, and pots for her home and medical practice. Garden Seventeen’s sister company, Native Edge, provided landscaping for Thomas’ home.