7 things to know in food right now: Austin burger chain opens in sizzling suburb

7 things to know in Austin food: Burger chain opens in sizzling suburb

P. Terry's Round Rock
It's burger o'clock in Round Rock! Photo courtesy of P. Terry's

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, reopenings, and closings

Here’s some juicy news for burger fanatics in Round Rock: There’s a new moo in town. Austin-based P. Terry’s Burger Stand — which is currently in major growth mode, with plans to grill up new eateries in Kyle, Cedar Park, East Austin, and Bastrop — officially opened its Round Rock restaurant at 2001 N. I-35 on Monday, January 31. “We’re thrilled to serve the Round Rock community as we expand our presence in Central Texas,” says Todd Coerver, CEO of P. Terry’s. “It allows us to provide new jobs, as well as create future opportunities to give back to a community that has welcomed us with open arms.” This marks the first Round Rock location for P. Terry’s, which features its popular menu of fresh-made Angus beef burgers, whole-breast chicken sandwiches, veggies burgers, fresh-cut fries, hand-spun shakes, and breakfast egg burgers. The new P. Terry’s is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night service from 7 am-midnight Monday through Thursday, 7 am-1 am on Fridays, 8 am-1 am on Saturdays, and 8 am-midnight on Sundays.

Long-loved local café Spider House has quietly closed for good. According to Austin360the café, located near the University of Texas campus at 2908 Fruth St., closed in March 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and never reopened. The adjacent Ballroom remains open. Rumors have been circulating about a permanent closure ever since, with the café even making a post on Reddit in late 2020 that offered up free furniture from the coffeehouse. However, founder Conrad Bejarano did not return CultureMap’s calls or emails about the 27-year-old establishment potentially closing for good. “We never announced closure, for the possibility of reopening,” Bejarano told the Austin American-Statesman’s Austin360 earlier this week. According to that report, the café space has been leased to a group that includes the proprietors of Yellow Jacket Social ClubHotel Vegas, and Kinda Tropical.

Coffee and pastries lovers have cause to perk up. Patika, the perfectly weird and wonderful Austin coffee shop, has officially reopened its downtown Patika Luncheonette eatery at 100 Congress Ave., and is serving up “all the coffee and refreshments a downtown worker (or wanderer) could wish for.” Patika’s downtown outpost first opened in 2019, but remained closed during the majority of the pandemic, leaving locals craving the café’s goodies to make the trek to its South Austin location at 2159 S. Lamar Blvd. But now, downtowners are encouraged to pop in, sip some coffee, read the paper, order a hot sandwich, and perhaps chat up the friendly Patika staff. With a menu similar to the South Austin café, the downtown spot serves quality coffee and house-made pastries, as well as lunch noshables like a curried chicken salad wrap, a roast beef sandwich, a farro salad, and an excellent-any-season-of-the-year Thanksgiving sandwich, in addition to an assortment of grab-and-go items, including breakfast tacos, salads, and sandwiches.

Other news and notes

Local followers of award-winning cooking-competition show Top Chef have even more reason to get addicted this season. The show recently revealed the premiere date and cast for its 19th season, which was filmed in Houston and boasts a pretty impressive lineup of chef contestants. Among them is Austin’s own Jo Chan, the delightful and masterful executive chef of Eberly, the South Austin restaurant staple that’s on a mission to “preserve Austin’s soul.” Chan will have her chance to show the television-viewing world her Austin and culinary chops as one of only two Texas chefs to make the chef-testant cut. The other is Houston-based chef Evelyn Garcia of Thai-inspired concept Kin. The new Top Chef season premieres at 7 pm on Thursday, March 3 on Bravo.

In the wake of last week’s fire that destroyed adored Austin eatery Texas French Bread, two other local faves are raising some dough to support the establishment and its owners, Murph and Judy Wilcott. On Sunday, February 6 from 4-7 pm, fellow bakery Easy Tiger and the Austin chapter of culinary-focused nonprofit Les Dames d’Escoffier will host a Baker’s Benefit bake sale at Easy Tiger South, at 3508 S. Lamar Blvd. The sale will feature scrumptious goodies prepared by some of Austin’s most talented pastry chefs and bakers, who will collaborate in an effort to raise funds for the devastated bakery. All proceeds will benefit Texas French Bread.

If you’re in the market for a stellar dining event this month, look no further than Dripping Springs. InterStellar BBQ, recently named No. 2 on Texas Monthly’s list of the state’s top 50 barbecue joints, is partnering up with local wine biz C.L. Butaud for a one-of-a-kind Austin-style feast. On Sunday, February 20, the barbecue joint and vino maker will co-host a culinary pop-up at the Texas AVA tasting room (home of C.L. Butaud and Wine for the People), at 12345 Pauls Valley Rd. in far West Austin near Dripping Springs. The pop-up will offer two seatings — one from 11:30 am-1 pm and another from 1:30-3 pm — and will feature a meaty meal of barbecue duck tacos, brisket and Oaxaca quesadilla, lamb tamale, tallow whipped refried beans, green rice, and beet watercress salad — all paired C.L. Butaud wines. Tickets are only $65 per person, and are very limited. Snag yours here while you still can!

Austin-based Freebirds World Burrito — home of “Texas’ No. 1 burrito” and a highly craveable brand — is getting to the meat of the matter with its latest menu offerings. Freebirds has partnered with cult-favorite Austin brand Siete Family Foods and plant-based protein provider Abbot’s Butcher, out of California, to offer diners two new plant-based options for endless possible combinations of its bowls and burritos. Siete’s excellent grain-free tortillas and Abbot’s Butcher plant-based chorizo are now available at all Freebirds locations. Both new menu options are grain-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and vegan, so regardless of their dietary preferences, customers can get creative when stuffing their faces with a ginormous helping of Freebirds