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Controversial cafe closes, Austin's first scooter death, and more top stories

Controversial cafe closes, Austin's first scooter death, plus more

Blue Cat Cafe exterior mural
Blue Cat Cafe is closed.  Blue Cat Cafe/Facebook

Editor's note: It's tough not to use the weather as a crutch when writing about the top stories every week but ... this weather! Sunburn on Wednesday and frost bite on Friday can only mean one thing — Texas' week of real winter has arrived. Before you bundle up for the brisk weekend ahead, take a look at our most popular stories this week. 

1. East Austin's Blue Cat Cafe closes following years of controversy. East Cesar Chavez's Blue Cat Cafe unceremoniously closed this week following years of backlash. When it opened in 2015, the cafe face scrutiny for renting the former site of Jumpolin, a piñata store that had been razed with most of its merchandise inside.

2. Virgin steers talk of high-speed trains between Austin, San Antonio, and Houston. Richard Branson-led Virgin Trains USA may be speeding into Texas. Last week, the company announced seven potential new routes in North America, including a "transportation in a tube" that would link Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Laredo.

3. Austin records first death of electric scooter driver after downtown crash. A UT exchange student died on February 2 from injuries he sustained while riding a dockless scooter. According to the Austin Police Department, 21-year-old Mark Sands was driving the wrong way when he was struck by an Uber driver. 

4. Gwyneth Paltrow's cult wellness brand plops into Austin with pop-up market. Hollywood star Gwyneth Paltrow is bringing her Goop brand to the South Congress strip this spring. Beginning in March, Paltrow 'n' pals (our term, not theirs) are launching Goop Mrkt, a shop/activation peddling all things wellness. 

5. Sassy East Austin food truck puts new twist on classic soul food. Austin musician and entrepreneur Andrea Dawson is cooking up something very interesting on the east side. Her new trailer, Sassy’s Vegetarian Soul Food, offers just that — veggie versions of down home classics.