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.
Beer here! After months of exclusively offering beer to go, one of Austin’s best breweries has officially opened its new Cedar Park beer garden. Helmed by brothers Jonathan and Chris Harris, Hedgehog Brewing features a wide range of brews, including easy-drinking hazy IPAs, hearty stouts, and wild-fermented farmhouse ales. Though the brewery is looking to fill a vacancy for an onsite food truck for Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, Hedgehog currently offers occasional food service from Austin-based fried-chicken trailer Yaadbird, and also allows customers to bring their own food on days with no onsite food tuck option. Families are welcome (and dogs too) on this sun-shaded patio, which is open Fridays 4-9 pm, Saturdays noon-9 pm, and Sundays noon-8 pm. Hedgehog Brewing is located at 3200 Woodall Dr., unit C-1, in Cedar Park.
The recently opened Colton House Hotel is looking to become a South Congress neighborhood favorite thanks to its classy new indoor/outdoor bar space. Located a stone’s throw from the popular SoCo shopping district, Simona’s Coffee + Cocktails boasts a two-story bar space with a sleek design, complete with lush leather couches, stained wooden accents, and stunning chandeliers. Additionally, beside the Colton House pool sits a shaded outdoor patio with an adjacent lawn space offering yard games like bocce ball and croquet. Simona’s cocktail menu showcases the state’s pride through locally themed recipes highlighting distilleries like Deep Eddy, Still Austin, Treaty Oak, Violet Crown, Waterloo, and more. Also available is an assortment of mocktails, boozy coffee drinks, local beers, and wines stored in the bar’s state-of-the-art wine-preservation system. The bar’s coffee selection is presented by family-run St. Louis-based brand Coma Coffee, while Simona’s food menu includes a variety of gourmet sandwiches, salads, and wraps from boutique catering company 2 Dine 4, as well as fresh kolaches, pastries, and breakfast tacos from Moonlight Bakery and Tacodeli, respectively. Simona’s is located at 2510 S. Congress Ave., open seven days a week from 8 am-10 pm, and offers onsite parking.
A new, tasty touch of Austin cool is destined for the nearby town of Lockhart. Coming soon from Travis Tober, the co-owner of acclaimed Austin east side watering hole Nickel City, a new icehouse serving fried chicken and a variety of bottled beers, whiskies, agave spirits, and a limited cocktail menu. Dubbed Old Pal, the new concept will also offer a fried-chicken-forward menu overseen by current Better Half executive chef Rich Riembolt. The menu will include battered and fried potato wedges (known in the Pacific Northwest as “Jojos”), as well as a vintage-inspired grab-and-go food display featuring canned cocktails and prepared fried chicken. Old Pal is set to open in mid-May in the former space of Caracara Brewing Company (which shuttered in September 2019) at 1000 E. Market St. Old Pal will be open 11 am-midnight daily for takeout and dine-in service.
Other news and notes
One popular Hill Country eatery is welcoming some serious talent to its lineup. Dripping Springs venue and event space Camp Lucy recently named award-winning chef Andy Knudson as the new executive chef of the on-property restaurant, Tillie’s. A Texas native, Knudson was previously part of the opening team for DB Brasserie at the Wynn Las Vegas Hotel and would eventually move on to Michelin Star-awarded Restaurant Guy Savoy. He even had a stint as executive sous chef for two of celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s restaurant concepts in Las Vegas and the Bahamas. According to a release, in his new role at Tillie’s, the chef will create a consistently evolving menu that pays homage to the “history, cultures, ranchers, farmers, and so many [others who] work together to create what ends up on [the customer’s] table.” Tillie’s is currently open for dinner Wednesday-Sunday 5-9 pm, and for brunch service Saturday and Sunday, 10 am-2 pm.
Austin’s coffee game is getting a swanky upgrade thanks to the latest in creamer innovation. New from local chef Naomi Seifter’s elevated breakfast brand Picnik: oatmilk adaptogen creamer. Joining Picnik’s other available creamer varieties — keto, vegan, and collagen — this inventive new product brings ashwagandha, cordyceps mushroom extract, lion’s mane mushroom extract, eleuthero root extract, and amino acids to the creamer shelf, pushing the category into progressive new territory. This creamer features 1500 mg of Picnik adaptogen blend, vanilla oatmilk, and grass-fed collagen to promote satiation, relaxation, and mental clarity, especially when combined with coffee. Vanilla oatmilk adaptogen creamer is available in 25-ounce cartons nationwide at Sprouts Farmers Markets, specialty retailers, and online at Amazon and picnikshop.com.
It continues to be a great year for Austin-based dessert delivery company Tiff’s Treats. Fresh off the news of its lucrative recipe-book publishing deal with Harper Horizon (the text is set to hit shelves in late 2022), the husband-and-wife-owned operation has also added a mouthwatering new cookie flavor to its permanent menu: double chocolate chip. (Trust us: You want this!) The first new permanent menu addition in five years, the chocolate cookie with semi-sweet chocolate chips is available for hot-out-of-the-oven delivery from all Tiff’s Treats locations. In addition to the decadent new flavor, Tiff’s Treats’ menu boasts 10 other classic cookie flavors, three luscious brownies, the Tiffwich ice cream sandwich, and the Tiffblitz frozen dessert. Cookie delivery availability and info on the new double chocolate chip cookie can be found on the Tiff’s Treats website.
Elevated lakeside eatery Arlo Grey is extending its popular socially distanced dining experience through May 2. With indoor dining set to return May 5 to the restaurant, which is located within The Line Hotel in downtown Austin, this final series represents diners’ last chance to enjoy what has become known as Arlo Grey’s Yurt Village. A dining experience designed “for these unique times,” Yurt Village presents an intimate outdoor dining experience from chef Kristen Kish for groups of up to eight within their own private, heated yurt on the restaurant’s pool deck. Both weekday and weekend diners of Yurt Village will be treated to a $100 prix fixe menu that includes such delicately prepared dishes as poached halibut, mesquite grilled Texas wagyu ribeye, and duck egg spaghetti carbonara. Interested parties can learn more about Yurt Village (and make reservations) via the Line Hotel’s website.