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
The east side is undergoing a food-truck shakeup. Popular trailer Baton Creole has exited its longtime home at East Austin bar Shangri La to make room for chef/owner Lynzy Moran's expanding fried chicken empire. A new location of Moran’s fried-chicken operation, Tender Thighs, has roosted in the East Sixth Street space, while Baton Creole headed south for honky-tonk Sagebrush. There, it joins the original Tender Thighs trailer, which is expected to reopen March 5. Both Tender Thighs @ Shangri La and Baton Creole @ Sagebrush are open at their respective new homes as of February 9.
If you didn’t have the chance to try Creature Coffee — the eclectic little coffee shop inside Native Hostel — before it closed last year, you’re in luck. The team recently launched its new coffee roasting operation, complete with an online store and delivery service. Local caffeine junkies can choose between locally roasted “easy” coffees (old-school, big-bodied, darker roasts) and the more “playful” roasts, whose tasting notes lean fruity and floral. All of Creature Coffee’s single-origin roasts are available for local delivery on their website.
Other News and Notes
Round Rock Donuts is getting the credit it deserves. Food & Wine has named Round Rock Donuts the best in Texas, celebrating not only its traditional glazed doughnut and massive Texas-sized creation, but also its "beautiful" Bismarks and eclairs. While there's not a location in Austin proper, the iconic shop has a second location in the works, in Cedar Park.
Tiffany Taylor and Leon Chen, the masterminds behind Austin's beloved Tiff's Treats cookie delivery company, have inked a book deal with HarperCollins Publishers, putting their tasty recipes in print for the very first time. According to the duo, the book will also recount their rise from a two-person startup at a college apartment to a bustling, multi-city brand with 1,600-plus employees. Expect to get your hands on the book in early 2022.
Free pizza! Now that we have your attention, one of Austin’s favorite pizza slingers is celebrating 15 years with some delicious deals. On February 9, National Free Pizza Day, Southside Flying Pizza will serve free slices at all of its locations from 3-5 pm (one slice per customer, dine-in only). Also on special are large pepperoni or cheese pizzas for $10, available for takeout and delivery. The pizzeria is also kicking off a year-long offer of $13 “OG Pies,” featuring cult favorites from the original 2006 menu. Bonus: $1 of each OG pizza sold will benefit the Central Texas Food Bank.
In beverage news, Austin Eastciders has added a striking new purple-hued blackberry cider, made with European bittersweet apples and West Coast blackberry juice, to its seasonal lineup. Also up the cidery’s sleeve is a new tropical spiked seltzer, whose crisp flavor comes courtesy of Colombian mango juice and fermented apples. Both offerings are currently available in stores and on draft at their East and South Austin taprooms.
Meanwhile, Topo Chico launched a new Twist of Tangerine flavor on Monday, February 8. Sip it while listening to a specially curated “Ode to Tangerine” Spotify playlist that “provide[s] a sensory sipping experience." The new flavor is available at Sprouts Farmers Markets, with additional distribution to Whole Foods planned for this spring.
This Valentine’s Day, dog park and neighborhood pub Yard Bar is hosting a pop-up for the true love of your life: your dog. Pup parents can reserve a paw-sitively hilarious kissing booth portrait session via a $25 donation to nonprofit Love-A-Bull. Included in the ticket price is a digital photo file, a complimentary wine or Ficks Seltzer, and a grab bag of toys and treats courtesy of Merrick Pet Foods. Portrait sessions will take place Sunday, February 14; reservations are available from 12-4 pm.