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7 things to know in Austin food right now: New Irish pub barrels into lucky suburb

7 things to know in Austin food: Irish pub barrels into lucky suburb

Cork & Barrel Craft Kitchen & Microbrewery Austin
A new Irish pub and microbrewery is opening in Round Rock just in time for St. Paddy's Day. Courtesy of Cork & Barrel/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 and closings
A new Irish pub/beer garden/microbrewery is bringing a touch of “Irish Happy and Texas Friendly” to Round Rock, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Located down the road from the Dell Diamond and Kalahari Resorts Texas at 4000 E. Palm Valley Blvd., Cork & Barrel Craft Kitchen + Microbrewery is helmed by former Driskill Grill chef Josh Watkins, whose offerings include inspired takes on Irish classics like Fig and Pig Pizza, rosemary Irish stew, and a Gruyere-loaded Count of Monte Cristo sandwich. For bevs, Cork & Barrel offers a carefully curated selection of whiskeys, wines, house-made cocktails, and 24 local craft beers on tap — including house brews from the onsite microbrewery. Cork & Barrel kicks off its arrival in Round Rock on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, beginning at 11 am with live-music performances, food and drink specials, photo booths, personalized pint glasses, and more. Following the grand opening celebration, the pub will be open daily from 11 am to 10 pm.

Elsewhere in pressing news, a beloved local food-truck-turned-brick-and-mortar operation is finally expanding into North Austin. Originating in the live-music-fueled food-truck scene of Austin’s Red River Cultural District, Austin Daily Press’ once low-key panini operation has expanded over the years into four locations across South, Central, and East Austin. Led by executive chef Reed Faitak, ADP’s new takeout- and delivery-only operation (located within shared ghost-kitchen compound Kitchen United at 8023 Burnet Rd.) brings North Austinites craveable tacos and nachos, as well as such classic ADP tortas as the lemongrass-pork-stuffed Lucille and the braised chicken Canadian Tuxedo sandwich. ADP’s new North Austin outpost is open daily from 11 am to 9 pm.

After years of carb-loaded night caps and post-SXSW munchies, Rainey Street’s one-stop shop for craft beer and Detroit-style pizza is on the move. The Hunt brothers, the guys behind acclaimed Via 313 established their beloved pizza trailer outside beer bar Craft Pride back in 2014, supplementing the operation’s originating East Sixth Street location and Oak Hill brick-and-mortar outpost. After serving its final pie March 14, the Hunt brothers’ trailer hitched a ride roughly .2 miles down the road to the intersection of Rainey and Driskill streets, where Via 313 resumed operations March 15. Back at Craft Pride, brew fans are waiting with bated breath for the announcement of the bar’s succeeding food-trailer setup, which had been expected to be announced March 15 on the operation’s Twitter page.

Other news and notes
Two of Austin’s faves — Nixta Taqueria and Otoko — are getting together for a two-night fusion collaboration. From 5 to 8 pm on March 23, Nixta will host a taco pop-up with Otoko chef Yoshi Okai and Nixta’s chef Edgar Rico, with featured menu items including a vegetarian taco, a sake mango margarita, and a Mochurro Sandwich, a vegan mochi-churro ice cream sandwich. Then the collaboration will pivot to Otoko April 19, when Rico and Okai will serve up a 10-course vegetarian omakase. Dinner seatings will be at 5:30 and 8 pm.

Thanks to one local health-conscious Mexican food brand, Austinites will soon get a (socially distanced) taste of Mexico’s vibrant market scene. To celebrate its launch of 10 new mercado-themed retail products, Siete Foods will host its drive-thru mercado event March 20 from 11 am to 6 pm in South Austin. Market ticket holders can enjoy two limited-edition street-food-inspired menu items, like jackfruit flautas and cajeta dip, sip hibiscus and citrus aguas frescas, and score a mercado-branded shopping back full of Siete’s newest products, including kettle chips, grain-free churro strips, and chorizo skillet cooking spice. Tickets to this curbside pickup experience (taking place at 3708 Woodbury Dr.) are $15, with proceeds benefiting Good Work Austin’s Community Kitchen program. Reserve a spot via Siete’s online event page.

To celebrate the Persian New Year, local restauranteur and chef Amir Hajimaleki and his brother, Ali, are serving Austinites a taste of their forthcoming elevated Persian dining concept, Roya. March 22 and 23, District Kitchen + Cocktails at Shoal Creek (which Hajimaleki co-owns) will offer a five-course dine-in dinner with traditional Persian offerings like a Royal Egg with beluga caviar and ash reshteh with braised lamb, plus desserts from pastry chef Dennis Van. The chefs will also offer a limited takeout menu both nights, including a four-person meal plus dessert for $160. Finally, the Hajimalekis will tap their other concept, Shortie’s Pizza & Grinders, to serve Persian-inspired pizza Friday through Sunday every weekend in March. Orders for both dine-in and takeout at District Kitchen can be placed here by March 19. Roya is set to materialize with its own brick-and-mortar operation sometime in 2022, with Amir Hajimaleki noting the project has been delayed because of the pandemic and the brothers’ insistence on finding the perfect location, one reminiscent of their grandmother’s home.

Waterloo Sparkling Water is welcoming spring with new orange and pineapple flavors, perfect straight from the can or as a mixer in tropical cocktails. And what’s a tropical cocktail without a little zing of lime? Lime vodka, that is. Rounding out its eight unique flavors currently on store shelves (ruby red, peach, lemon, etc.) Austin’s own Deep Eddy Vodka is going green with a new citrus-forward liquor offering, one made using real lime juice and cane sugar. Waterloo’s orange and pineapple sparkling water are available now at various retailers, including Whole Foods Market, while amateur mixologists can keep an eye out for Deep Eddy’s vodka lime, currently available on liquor-store shelves throughout the city.