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9 things to know in Austin food right now: Splendid ice cream shop scoops up new location
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.
In Austin’s food scene, things can change in a snap, especially during a pandemic. The vacant space at 4616 Triangle Avenue that once housed Snap Kitchen (one of 14 such locations to shutter last year in Texas) is now set to be transformed into a sweet spot: the third Austin location of popular Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. The Columbus, Ohio-based operation, known for serving sweet frozen treats with a bright flavor and uniquely smooth, buttercream texture — thanks to an absence of synthetic flavorings, dyes, and off-the-shelf-mixes — opened its first Austin scoop shop (at Rock Rose at Domain Northside) back in late 2019, with the South Congress location following in February 2020. While building permits recently filed with the state have heralded the arrival of the new location, there’s no word yet on when the forthcoming operation will begin serving sweet treats to Triangle residents and shoppers.
To celebrate the opening of South Congress Avenue’s excellent and thoughtfully sourced convenience/grocery store, Tiny Grocer, owner Steph Steele is hosting an outdoor farmers market party. On Saturday, May 29 from 2-5 pm, local brands and makers will convene in Tiny Grocer’s back parking lot to sell and sample their goods and chitchat with customers. Participating operations include Visca Charcuteria, Perennial Pecan, Blenders and Bowls, Sunriser CBD Coffee, and Swoon Lemonade, which will debut its new peach tea flavor at the event. In addition, Burlap and Twine, the coolest mobile flower truck in town, will park its VW in front of the store, helping attendees build bouquets and support local charities with their purchase.
Other news and notes
Latinx small business owners, listen up! To create positive change in the communities that need it most, Austin-based food/snack company Siete Family Foods announced recently it will award $25,000 to one deserving Latinx-owned small business as a part of its new Siete Juntos Fund. Latino/Latina/Latiné-owned food purveyors and related businesses with an annual revenue of less than $500,000 can apply now through Tuesday, June 8 via Siete Food’s website. Applicants can include grocery stores, markets, restaurants, specialty shops, manufacturers, and packaged food producers. The business ultimately awarded the grant must be at least 50 percent Latinx owned.
The ghost kitchen revolution continues in Austin, as Prep ATX, the new 55,000-square-foot commercial kitchen community in North Austin, has got its first members, including a few local faves. Beloved eateries Tiny Pies and Brooklyn Breakfast Shop will utilize Prep ATX in their plans to facilitate growth. Other ghost kitchen members include two concepts specializing in dumplings: Taste of Home Dumpling and Dumpling & Beyond, as well as Tasty AF, the birria-forward eatery. Other Prep ATX concepts include Fresh Fronks and Thanks Danks Jerky, Lulu’s Pie Shop, and prepared meal companies CookUnity and SimpliThai.
Ever had a Fish House Punch? Well, at the Austin Food & Wine Alliance’s forthcoming Fish House Punch competition, you can try four different variations of the rum-heavy beverage as prepared by some of the state’s top bartenders. Presented in partnership with Buffalo Trace Bourbon and Taste Network, the event is set to take place Sunday, June 6 from 3-5:30 pm at Kalimotxo at 607 W. Third St. Four talented barkeeps will create a handcrafted Fish House Punch to reintroduce consumers to the beloved colonial American libation and to score votes from a panel of notable judges. The celebration also includes bourbon from Buffalo Trace, sustainable fish and plant-based bites from top local chefs, and wines from Ribera y Rueda. Tickets to this lively 21-plus event are limited to 100 guests, run $50 each and can be reserved online.
The Domain’s beloved retro-inspired boutique hotel, Lone Star Court, recently welcomed North Carolina native James Wilson as its new executive chef. Wilson, who started cooking in a professional kitchen at the age of 13, brings with him a passion for recipe creation and sustainable cooking learned during his education at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin. His career has taken him across the country, with him cooking for the likes of Morrison Management Specialists, Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol, and ATX Fit Chef. Wilson comes to Lone Star Court from the University of Texas Southwestern, where he worked to elevate the brand’s banquet and catering functions. As the new executive chef at Lone Star Court, Wilson will oversee all of the property’s culinary programs, including its group catering, room-service offerings, and full-service eatery, The Water Trough.
For its first event since 2020 turned the industry upside down, fantastic Hill Country operation Kuhlman Cellars is hosting one humdinger of a food and wine pairing event. In partnership with customized catering operation Feast & Merriment’s supper club, the winery’s collaborative event will take place Friday, June 11 and Saturday, June 12 and includes a five-course menu prepared by chef and owner Ashley Odom that will be served alongside Kuhlman’s most popular wine offerings. From Feast & Merriment’s scenic Hill Country venue (6075 S. Ranch Road 1623), guests can enjoy such pairings as Texas venison sausage noodles with wood-fired asparagus paired with a 2016 reserve merlot. Dinner begins each night at 6:30 pm. Only 36 seats are available per event. Tickets run $150 per person and can be purchased online.
DipDipDip Ice Cream, the outrageous ice cream parlor from Austin’s kings of Japanese-inspired cuisine, Tatsu-Ya, is now serving the people what they want: decadent sundae creations. Fans can now enjoy the Sum Yum Yuzu or Shroom of Doom creations in cup or waffle-cone form. While the indulgent new sundae options are replacing the shop’s savory pop-up-era sandwich options, other sweet treats like the ice cream taco in a panko-fried brioche bun, boozy milkshakes, and assorted ice cream pints will still be available. Guests will be able to order sweet treats via the shop’s QR code or at the service window at 7301 Burnet Rd.
To connect out-of-work restaurant and hospitality workers with employers in need, nonprofit Austin Shift Meal will debut a monthly industry job fair on Tuesday, June 1 from 10:30 am-12:30 pm at North Austin’s pet-friendly Yard Bar at 6700 Burnet Rd. At the event, attendees looking for new professional opportunities can get connected with potential employers in the industry and enjoy select bites from local operations. Participating businesses include W Austin Hotel, Home Slice, Salt & Time, L’Oca d’Oro, Texas Keeper Cider, and more. Sign up for a spot at the event online and get more information about subsequent ASM events and other services.