7 things to know in Austin food right now: Longtime family fun park rides into new era

7 things to know in Austin food: Family fun park rides into new era

Austin's formerly Austin Park and Pizza
An old Austin favorite gets a new name, but it's all still fun and games.  Do512

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.

We have good news and bad news. Bad news first? Austin’s Park N Pizza — the staple entertainment center that’s defined generations of Austin childhoods — is no more. Good news: It’s been rebranded to Austin’s, a 23-acre entertainment center featuring a new indoor roller coaster, tower ride, virtual-reality rides, expanded laser tag arena, and colossal game room. Of course, the joy of the originating Austin Parks and Pizza location lives on in Austin’s classic go-karting track, two 18-hole mini-golf courses, bowling, rock walls, and much more. Additionally, the property now offers three restaurants and multiple bars, including the new REVL Social Club, a full-service restaurant and sports bar that includes such upscale entertainment options as billiards, darts, pingpong, and even curling courts. Austin’s is located at 16231 N. IH-35, in Pflugerville, and is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 am to 11 pm, and Friday and Saturday 11 am to 1 am.

Other news and notes
Craft fans rejoice. Acclaimed family-owned brewing operation Roughhouse Brewing is releasing a beer that’s more than a year in the making. Introducing Premier, the state’s very first Texas cave ale, a brew that’s been spontaneously fermented entirely within the brewery’s onsite underground limestone cave. Brewed in February 2020 with the help of the brew team from iconic farmhouse beer operation Jester King, this ale is a complex showcase of natural fermentation guided by microbes that are present within the cave. The finished ale is sure to present a unique, one-of-a-kind flavor experience when it’s poured at Roughhouse’s cave ale release party on Saturday, April 10. Those in attendance will be treated to a virtual cave peek and a brewer Q&A with head brewer and Roughhouse founder Davy Pasternak. The event will last from noon to 9 pm, with purchases limited to two bottles of Premier per person.

Driftwood-based Desert Door Texas Sotol, America’s only commercial producer of the agave-based spirit sotol, is launching a new eco-focused nonprofit. Wild Spirits Wild Places will support conservation and land stewardship across Texas, including the land where the Texas sotol plant grows. Through this effort, Desert Door hopes to educate the public on the true ecological and economic value of conserved lands, fund and facilitate research to advance land stewardship, and organize specific actions to help restore weakened and damaged acreage. To oversee the efforts of the organization, Desert Door has appointed Karen Looby — an educator, researcher, and program evaluator with more than 30 years of experience — as CEO of Wild Spirits Wild Places. Certain projects within the foundation will serve as the launching pad for limited releases of Desert Door’s unique spirit, such as the Back Burn variation released last fall, which comes in a specially designed Conservation Series bottle. Visit the nonprofit's website to learn more.

Even if you’re already prepping your summer bod for the sun-tastic season ahead, you may still want to get your buns down to Austin’s adored burger joint. P. Terry’s Burger Stand has debuted a mouthwatering limited-edition menu item: the P.T. Melt, the concept’s take on a classic patty melt featuring two all-natural black Angus beef patties, Swiss cheese, grilled onions, and, of course, special sauce. Guests will find the P.T. Melt available on P. Terry’s menus for $5.25 and $9 for the combo, which includes fresh-cut french fries and a drink. P. Terry’s P.T. Melt is available at all locations (including the company’s recently opened Pflugerville location) and will be offered for only a limited time.

Since the pandemic shut down their job, three former Pitchfork Pretty employees are getting in on the lucrative canned-cocktail game — and they’re using crowdfunding to make it happen. After becoming friends while working together at Pitchfork Pretty, Christian Kolouch and Thomas De La Garza, who led the restaurant’s bar team, joined forces with Pitchfork Pretty’s former general manager, Alexander Dubey, to found the True Story canned cocktail company. The team has already developed three cocktail recipes: one with tequila, one with rum, and one with vodka, all with ingredients like hibiscus, black pepper, thyme, habanero, and ginger. With the funds from their Kickstarter campaign, they’ll be able to get samples into the hands of potential investors and manufacturers that can help scale the recipes and get True Story on Austin shelves. By donating, financial backers can receive items such as scratch ’n’ sniff stickers, koozies, T-shirts, hats, and even the chance to have their face on a True Story canned cocktail when (and if) the product meets its tentative launch date of September 2021.

Let’s keep that booze news flowing. The National Beer of Texas is getting into the seltzer game. Lone Star Brewing is releasing its line of Lone Star Agave Seltzers this month across Texas. Available in six-packs and 19.2-ounce singles, the hard seltzers come in two flavors: agave lime and agave watermelon. The drinks are brewed in Austin, and Lone Star brand manager Daniel Crawford says this is only the beginning of Lone Star’s seltzer “exploration,” adding that fans can expect more flavors and concepts from the company soon. Watch Lone Star’s social media pages for giveaway announcements this summer. In the meantime, let’s grab an agave lime and hit the pool!

It’s hard to believe it’s been three years since Asian smokehouse Loro was launched in South Austin by chef Tyson Cole and pitmaster Aaron Franklin of acclaimed Austin restaurant concepts Uchi and Franklin Barbecue, respectively. To celebrate this momentous occasion, on Tuesday, April 6, Loro is offering $3 cocktails (you heard us right) all day for dine-in guests only. But the fun doesn’t stop there. Also launching on April 6 is Loro’s new Tuesday-Wednesday special: post oak-smoked Creekstone beef ribs, available for $28 starting at 4 pm. The new rib special, which is served with massaman curry, roasted peanuts, coconut salad, and a side of rice, will be available Tuesdays and Wednesdays for both dine-in service and curbside takeout starting April 6.