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 closings
Pokeworks, one of the nation’s largest chains of Hawaii-inspired poke bowl restaurants, opened its first Austin location on June 15. Located at 1920 E. Riverside Dr., the new establishment offers gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan ingredients, as well as cooked or raw protein options, for build your-own-poke bowls, burritos, and salads. In September 2018, the New York-based chain announced plans to eventually open five locations in Austin.
As numerous local businesses feel the effects of a global pandemic, father-son team Austin T. and Austin M. Pittman are launching Blue Norther, a line of locally crafted hard-seltzer beverages. Named after the rapid cold front that moves through the Lone Star State, Blue Norther, which is made with real fruit juice, currently comes in wild blackberry and agave lime flavors, with additional variants and expanded distribution planned for the coming months. Currently, Blue Norther is available at retailers throughout Austin including H-E-B, Bread Basket, Royal Blue Grocery, and Wheatsville Co-op.
Elsewhere in the hard seltzer category, Lone River Beverage company announced last week via press release that its popular Ranch Water — inspired by the classic Texas cocktail of the same name — will finally be made available on store shelves throughout the state. A blend of highly carbonated seltzer water, 100 percent organic agave, natural lime juice, and a gluten-free alcohol base, the canned cocktail has become a favorite of local bar patrons in recent months. The release also reveals that Lone River Beverage company’s portfolio will expand later this summer with the addition of Ranch Water Spicy and Ranch Water Rio Red Grapefruit. The product, marked by its distinctive longhorn can, is currently available at major retailers such as H-E-B, Central Market, Whole Foods Market, Kroger, Albertsons, 7-Eleven, Specs, and Total Wine, as well as hundreds of independent stores across Texas. For more information and to find a location near you, visit loneriverbevco.com.
North Austin’s Circle Brewing Company, which reopened its indoor and patio seating to the public last week, welcomed a new seafood truck to its parking lot on June 13. The first operation of its kind from catering and event company Huckleberry Hospitality, the food truck of the same name specializes in Southern- and Texas-style seafood, including black drum, catfish, and shrimp fried up with Barton Springs Mill corn, as well as unique specialties including a fried green tomato po-boy and caviar fries topped with crema and green onions.
Other news and notes
In a time where almost everything can be delivered to your front door, one Austin-based company is combating the plastic waste that’s often a side effect of delivery services. Launched in May, Trashless brings together local and national purveyors to deliver household staple items such as oils, honey, grains, nuts, flours, coffee, and condiments in multi-use glass and metal containers that are picked up, sanitized, and reused when finished. “It’s a wake-up call when you realize how many resources it takes to produce single-use plastic containers,” said Yogesh Sharma, CEO of Loconomy, Trashless' parent company. “Packaging waste is a serious contributor to climate change and our customers feel good knowing they’re making responsible choices without sacrificing convenience.” Orders are placed online with home deliveries available from Georgetown to Buda on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday each week. Trashless is also offering a Community Support Program, which helps families in need receive groceries at no or reduced cost.
To celebrate Pride month, Bakery Lorraine is launching a rainbow-colored cookie with a cause, available for purchase at its Domain Northside location in addition to four of its San Antonio shops. The cookies will be available throughout the month of June and sold in packs of three for $6, for dine-in or to go. According to a press release, a portion of all proceeds from the new item will be donated to LGBTQ+ organization Thrive Youth Center, a San Antonio nonprofit providing a supportive for homeless LGBTQ youth in the Alamo City.