News you can eat

New deli pops up on east side, GQ brews up praise for Austin, plus more food news

New deli pops up, GQ brews up praise for Austin, plus more food news

Mum Foods Deli sandwich
While Sam Hellman-Mass is busy transforming Eastside Cafe, a new deli has opened on the property. Photo by Holly Postler

Editor's note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the what’s what and who’s who of Austin food. We have you covered with our regular roundup of the freshest Austin restaurant news.

While Austinites speculate on what Suerte owner Sam Hellman-Mass plans to do with the former Eastside Cafe, a temporary concept has popped up on the property. Mum Foods Deli, a partnership between Hellman-Mass and Matti Bills and Geoff Ellis of Mum Foods, opened in the former home of Elaine’s Pork & Pie on April 23. The shop, which will be around until sometime in 2020, carries sandwiches made with locally sourced ingredients from Texas ranchers and Barton Springs Mill, bread from Swedish Hill’s Alex Manley, and pastries from Madison Collins. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10:30 am to 3:30 pm, or until everything sells out.

Omaha-based franchise Scissors & Scotch will open its first Austin location at 7415 Southwest Pkwy. sometime in the fall. Although open to anyone, the barbershop and cocktail bar offers membership programs that include discounts, access to tastings, and guest passes. To keep clients from looking like Skrillex, presumably the booze will be limited to those sitting in the chair.

Austin’s Royal Blue Grocery may have conquered its hometown, but the San Antonio Express-News’ Paul Stephens is less than impressed. In a “Just a Taste” review of the first San Antonio location, the critic praised the grocery selection, but the kind words stopped there. “For those wondering if Royal Blue has invigorated [the neighborhood]'s sparse sandwich scene, it hasn’t,” he wrote. “The hot offerings are limited and largely lackluster.”

GQ gave East Austin’s The Brewer’s Table some props in the May issue, naming the restaurant’s smoked rabbit carnitas one of the best dishes he tried in 2019. In the intro, writer Brett Martin says, “I would have happily had any of the restaurants listed below on my main list of Best New Restaurants,” a list also published in the same issue. Chicago’s Kyōten, from Austin expat chef Otto Phan, did make that list.

Tired of frittering your money away on mortgages and bills? Head to Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in May to get tipsy on a $100 margarita. The ostentatious cocktail is made with Tequila Ocho Extra Anejo La Latilla and Grand Marnier Cuvee du Centenaire served in a Baccarat diamant tumbler garnished with a lime wheel and pineapple leaves cut with pinking shears because zigzags are fancier than straight lines. That $100 would also make an impact as a donation to one of the nonprofit’s listed in our charity guide. Just sayin’.

Briggo, the local company that eases the awkwardness of barista small talk by removing humans altogether, is opening a second “robotic coffee haus” in the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in mid-May. The high-tech kiosk mimics upscale caffeine purveyors by allowing guests to create their own coffee drinks with a variety of syrups and milks by touch screen or app. It is a weirder place for a date, however, than a traditional coffee shop.

Consumer Reports also extended another Austin favorite some love. The consumer advocacy nonprofit named Central Market one of five regional grocery chains to receive top marks for consumer satisfaction. Trader Joe’s, with three Capital City locations, was the only national chain to be named the best of the best.

The James Beard Foundation has named Lucky Robot as Texas’ first Smart Catch Leader. To qualify, eateries must pass a series of assessments and drastically limit serving threatened species designated by the Monterey Seafood Watch Program. “As a sushi restaurant, we rely on the availability of fish for our business,” said Lucky Robot executive chef Jay Huang via release. “Our choice to become fully sustainable is to ensure the fish we eat and serve today will be available for the next generation and the generations after that.”