NEWS YOU CAN EAT
6 things to know in Austin food right now: Local burger sensation buddies up to the ’burbs
Editor’s note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of Austin’s restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.
Openings and closings
A local drive-thru joint that opened in June 2020 and has since buddied up to Austin burger fanatics is bringing its meaty must-haves to the ’burbs. Buddy’s Burger, the family-owned concept that maintains a wildly popular location at 9001 Cameron Rd. in North Austin, will open a second burger shack at the corner of Sunrise Road and Old Settlers Boulevard in Round Rock. Slated to open in late 2022, the new Buddy’s will serve up the same classic hamburgers and cheeseburgers made with 100 percent Angus beef that have snared Austin eaters, as well as handspun milkshakes, and those super craveable seasoned fries and Smack Sauce. “We’re so grateful for the support we’ve received from the community since opening during the pandemic,” says co-owner Isha Fidai. “This is what has allowed us to successfully expand to a second location and share our family’s fresh, handmade burger recipe with more people. This second location is also a big step towards our overall goal to open multiple locations throughout Central Texas and beyond.”
In other burgers-in-the-’burbs news, a Connecticut-based nostalgia-driven franchise that teased Austin in July with news of a Cedar Park location is finally “moo-ving” ahead. Wayback Burgers, which specializes in cooked-to-order burgers, hand-dipped milkshakes, and a community-focused approach to hospitality, will begin construction on its 1,700-square-foot eatery at 500 W. Whitestone Blvd. on February 1. According to a state filing, construction is expected to be completed by April 1. Wayback currently operates a location in Round Rock, and according to the company’s website, more burger spots are planned for Austin (at 12909 N. I-35), near the Walmart in Killeen, and in Leander, off Highway 183.
Also popping up soon in Cedar Park is another location of ubiquitous coffee shop Starbucks, which, according to a state filing, will open a new 2,390-square-foot location at 1951 Bagdad Rd. Construction is expected to start May 1 and be completed by December 1, just in time for that oh-so-delicious holiday beverage season.
In another-one-bites-the-dust news, a rustic downtown restaurant is the latest to be taken down by the pandemic. Italic, the West Sixth Street Italian eatery from the minds behind Easy Tiger and 24 Diner, has closed permanently after supposedly temporarily shuttering at the onset of the pandemic, in March 2020, according to a report from Eater. Though the Italic website notes it is closed temporarily, its Instagram page hasn’t had a new post since June 2020; its Facebook page seemingly no longer exists; and its Twitter account has been suspended — all indicators the eatery doesn’t have plans to reopen. Eater reports Lonesome Dove will be moving into the Italic space, having closed its Colorado Street restaurant just before Christmas in anticipation of the move.
Other news and notes
If you’re working your way through a Dry January and rebuffing the booze for a month, here’s some news that’s cause for a non-alcoholic toast: Spiritless, the Austin-based non-alcoholic craft cocktail business that launched last summer, was featured in a recent segment on the Today Show. Entitled the Best Drink Alternatives to Enjoy for Dry January, the segment featured hosts Al Roker and Craig Melvin, who are both participating in Dry January, and lifestyle expert Maureen Petrosky, who recommended Spiritless’ Kentucky 74 as a go-to non-alcoholic spirit for bourbon lovers, highlighting the drink’s “smoky, delicious, and interesting” flavor.
If the turn of the new year has you leaning into rather than pulling back from some of your favorite indulgences, this is the time to check out the quirky themed confections from cupcake purveyor Sprinkles, which has a location at Domain Northside. The bakery has partnered with popular astrology app Sanctuary to whip up a cosmic cupcake collaboration that was perhaps written in the stars. Sprinkles’ astrology cupcake series launches Monday, January 24 with Aquarius. Highlighting the “inventive nature and out-of-the-box thinking” of the typical Aquarius, Sprinkles is crafting miso caramel cupcakes in the sign’s honor. Available for a limited time, they’re caramel cakes filled with miso-spiked caramel and finished with cream-cheese frosting. Sprinkles will unveil a new cupcake for each zodiac sign throughout the year, each created by the Sprinkles culinary team alongside Sanctuary astrology experts. The cupcakes will be available at the local Sprinkles for pickup and delivery, and pre-ordering is recommended.