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 to-go deals
Details on Austin Eastciders’ forthcoming taproom/restaurant operation recently emerged, bringing some refreshingly positive news to Barton Springs Road after a series of shutters. After announcing last fall it was taking over the former Uncle Billy's Smokehouse & Brewery space, Eastciders' new taproom will open “sometime in July," according to Eater. It will feature both the cidery’s flagship and small batch offerings on-tap as well as in cocktails. The location’s menu of elevated comfort fare, overseen by Foxtail Supper Club’s Page Pressley, will include pizzas, sandwiches and — amusingly — cured meats brined in cider.
Elsewhere in the craft world, long awaited brewpub, Hold Out Brewing finally opened for curbside to-go service only at 1208 West Fourth St. behind sister restaurant Better Half. Beginning May 7, the operation began serving six-packs of both its hoppy and easy-going brews from former Real Ale head brewer Brent Stapsead alongside indulgent pub-grub by Better Half executive chef Rick Reimbolt. After selling out of beer early into its first weekend, the operation appears to have adjusted to its weekly Thursday-Sunday schedule, with online-ordering going live starting Wednesday afternoon.
After weeks of solely offering ready-to-cook taco kits, Mexican-inspired restaurant Suerte announced a full-fledged takeout menu from executive chef Fermín Núñez, dubbed Suerte Taqueria. “The Suerte family is excited to start making our version of street tacos and open a takeout taqueria in these uncertain times,” said owner Sam Hellman-Mass. The chef’s ready-made tacos, which can be ordered for same-day pickup on the restaurant's website, are sold four per order, and come filled with either the eatery’s famed suadero, oak-grilled chicken, campechano, or a rotating vegetarian option. Also available are classic Suerte side dishes, desserts and agave-forward cocktail kits, while DIY-minded foodies can still purchase cook-at-home suadero and migas taco meal kits.
It seems popular Clarksville cocktail bar Bar Peached will begin a to-go operation of its own in early June. The cocktail cafe’s sister restaurant, The Peached Tortilla, took to Instagram May 13 to announce a forthcoming menu of “family meals and draft cocktails to-go” from the currently shuttered outpost. Unlike its West Austin counterpart, The Peached Tortilla’s Burnet location has remained operational throughout the pandemic, offering an impressive variety of family meals, snacks, and Japanese sandwiches to-go, as well as hosting regular curbside pickup collaborations with alcoholic boba tea pop-up partners Daijou.
Other news and notes
On May 6, advertising agency R/GA’s Austin office released its charity cookbook, Austin Table: Recipes from Beloved Austin Restaurants. The 55-page digital book features hand-selected recipes from a variety of restaurants and bars greatly impacted by COVID-19 including Sway, Güero's, and Il Brutto. According to a release, the cookbook, which can be purchased from Visit Austin’s online store, is priced at $29.95 with 100 percent of proceeds benefiting featured establishments.
The minds behind Austin Restaurant Weeks, an annual two-week fall dining event benefiting the Central Texas Food Bank, announced a special, off-season initiative: Feed It Forward, aimed at supporting local restaurants and those in need during the pandemic. A release notes that beginning May 8, at-home diners can help the Central Texas Food Bank provide 20 meals to communities in need by adding the $5 “Feed It Forward” donation when online ordering from any participating restaurant. Also, per the release, Tito’s Handmade Vodka is matching all Feed It Forward donations up to $10,000.
The Mike and Sherry Project, a program envisioned by Suerte owner Sam Hellman-Mass to provide accessible mental healthcare to Austin’s service industry, announced via a May 12 press release the opening of its resources to “all members of the Austin bar and restaurant community impacted by COVID-19.” Via funds from the project, Capital Area Counseling is offering low-cost teletherapy services to the city’s bar and restaurant workers regardless of employment status. Interested parties looking for mental health care can arrange appointments or get more information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The project is currently accepting donations.