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6 things to know in Austin food right now: California breakfast chain cooks up local plans

6 things to know in food: Cali breakfast chain cooks up Austin plans

Huckleberry's Breakfast and Lunch
Huckleberry's menu features Southern comfort-food delicacies from the bayou to the bay. Huckleberry's/Instagram

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

Austin noshers who value comfort food above all will dig into this juicy news. Huckleberry’s Breakfast and Lunch, the 14-year-old West Coast-based restaurant chain known for its “Southern cookin’ with a California twist,” is about to put that slogan to the test when it enters the Austin market. According to RestaurantNews.com, the bayou-to-the-bay eatery is in major national-expansion mode and has plans to open in the Capital City. Though the company has been mum on specific locations, its website does list Austin under its locations that are “coming soon,” and a recent social media post lists the city as one of 10 new locations for Huckleberry’s. Huckleberry’s menu specialties include Mardi Gras beignets, fried green tomatoes, chicken and waffles, stuffed French toast, omelets and skillets, “N’awlins” sandwiches, burgers, and some tasty-looking Mason jar iced teas and Bloody Marys. Follow the brand on Instagram for updates on when this comfort food spot hatches in Austin.

South Austin is about to get even tipsier, thanks to a new wine bar moving in later this summer. According to a state filing, construction for the $325,000 finish out will begin on the 2,951-square-foot Underdog Wine Bar in early April and be completed by August 1. The bar will be located at 1600 S. First St., suite 100, in the Willa development, near neighbor Picnik, which opens its new location in the complex in March. There are several Underdog Wine businesses listed online (including a now-shuttered restaurant in Livermore, California, and a wine shop in Kansas City, Missouri), though it’s unclear whether those have any relation to the South Austin spot. Stay tuned to CultureMap for news about when the new Underdog Wine Bar in Austin pops the cork.

Speaking of boozy joints on the south side, a separate state filing shows a new bar and distillery called Senza Maestro is coming to the nearby community of San Marcos. Construction, which is scheduled to begin April 28 and cost $450,000, includes the remodeling a metal building at 1090 FM 32 to create a new production and tasting room. It should be completed by August 11, according to the filing. Austin-based OPA Design Studio is listed as the design firm. 

Other news and notes

Food Network’s new season of Spring Baking Championship is going to be a whole lot sweeter, as an Austin dessert slinger will compete for the sugary win. Executive pastry chef Dennis Van of Austin’s District Kitchen + Cocktails and Oasthouse Kitchen + Bar will do his best to wow judges Duff Goldman, Kardea Brown, and Nancy Fuller with his sweetest spring-inspired goodies. It may be as simple as taking candy from a baby, as Van already won Netflix’s Sugar Rush competition and boasts an impressive culinary background. Spring Baking Championship premieres on Monday, February 28 at 7 pm on Food Network and is available to stream on Discovery+.

Some celebrated Austin chefs are collaborating on a special dinner event that aims to raise funds for tuna research. On Sunday, March 6, Mongers Market & Kitchen in Hyde Park will host a multicourse meal that will benefit the Gulf of Maine Research Institute as it works to better understand and protect the bluefin tuna population. Chefs Shane Stark of Mongers, Fermin Nunez of Suerte and Este, Julien Hawkins of Hestia, and Bradley Nicholson of Lutie’s will join Yoni Lang of Wolf and the Fox in Dallas and Keper Connell of Gulf of Maine Conservas for the dinner event. The evening will begin with canapes and a welcome cocktail from Still Austin. That will be followed by a six-course dinner created by the participating chefs, with each chef using a different part of the bluefin tuna in their dishes. Tickets, available here, are $125 per person, with beverage pairings available for an additional $60 per person.

As springtime nears and Austin has high hopes that the pandemic will soon subside, our thoughts longingly turn to brunch season. And luckily, one lovely new local eatery is getting into the spirit with its new Sunday brunch offerings. Beginning February 27, Honey Moon Spirit Lounge will launch brunch service, which will be served every Sunday from 10:30 am-3:30 pm. Chef Manuel Rocha will feature such morning must-haves as biscuits and foie gras gravy with duck carnitas and sunny eggs; banh mi kolaches with pate de campagne; French omelets with truffled Boursin cheese; a stupendous seafood tower; and caviar with creme fraiche, chives, boiled eggs, shallots, blinis, and potato chips. Brunch cocktails include classic mimosas, Bellinis, and micheladas, as well as signature cocktails like the Honey Moon Spritzer; the Salty Dog; and the espresso-forward Full Salute. Can’t decide? Opt for the build-your-own Bloody Mary.