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.
A stylish new cocktail lounge opened January 24 at 12700 Hill Country Blvd. in the Hill Country Galleria. Jules Design Bar, however, isn’t the average neighborhood dive. Owner Julie Smith is also an interior designer and is willing to sell every last fixture, piece of furniture, and highball glass used in the decor.
Independence Fine Foods, the renowned far South Austin diner from former Whole Foods Market chef Casey Livingston, shuttered on January 26. In what has become a familiar refrain in local closure stories, Livingston says the landlord forced the restaurant’s hand when a friendlier lease agreement could not be reached.
Neighborhood eatery Grove Wine Bar & Kitchen is branching out with a new location in Domain Northside in Spring 2019, according to a Facebook post. Once opened, the restaurant will be the fifth outpost for the company, which also runs Lola Savannah Coffee Lounge. Expect an approachable New American menu and a lengthy list of reds, whites, and rosés.
A beer shop, appropriately named Things Beer, is pouring into North Austin at 15112 N. Interstate 35. Although the company does not appear to have a web or social media presence, and application has been filed with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission for a beer retail dealer’s off-premise license and a package store tasting permit.
Speaking of TABC applications, a new spot called Old Rail Coffee Pub is brewing 4607 Bolm Rd. next to Zhi Tea. Again, the web provides no clues to the finalized concept, but we’ll take a wild guess that it will offer beer and caffeine.
South Austin fave Cuba 512 is opening up a second location at 906 Congress Ave. (formerly the home of Planet Sub’s) sometime in 2019, according to a Facebook post. Like the first outpost, it will feature traditional Cuban cuisine like puntas de res and ropa vieja and cocktails like mojitos.
The Line Austin’s flagship restaurant, Arlo Grey, is launching brunch on February 2. Tempting treats include French toast with puffed quinoa, a prosciutto and yol tartine, and baked duck confit hash.
Torchy’s Tacos has gotten into the catering game. As of January 28, guests can order pre-packs that serve 20 or have the chain bring in a taco feast to a wedding or party. Online ordering is coming soon, but for now all orders can be placed with at least 24-hours notice at any Torchy’s location.
The Austin chapter of philanthropic organization Les Dames d’Escoffier is bringing back its star-studded Austin Women in Culinary Dinner on February 20 to raise funds for its scholarship program. The lineup includes some of the Capital City’s best chefs including Eberly’s Jo Chan, Juniper’s Amanda Turner, New Waterloo’s Amanda Rockman, ELM Restaurant Group’s Mary Catherine Curren, and Sarah Heard of Foreign & Domestic. The proceedings kick off at Cedar Tavern at 7 pm and tickets are available now.
Whiskey makers Garrison Brothers Distillery has launched a statewide bartending challenge. To qualify, contestants in Austin, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Dallas, and Houston (hey, those are the CultureMap cities!) must take part in The Bourbon Takeover of Texas, a series of pop-up events devoted to the spirit taking place February 24 through March 10. The winner will get major bragging rights and a $10,000 check.