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Anticipated downtown hotel reveals new bar and restaurant, plus more Austin food news

Downtown hotel reveals bar and restaurant details, plus more food news

Hotel ZaZa Austin Group Therapy
Group Therapy is one of two food and beverage concepts checking into the upcoming Hotel ZaZa Austin. Courtesy rendering

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.

After months of anticipation, the upcoming Hotel ZaZa downtown has revealed its food and beverage concepts, both opening in September. Perfect Strangers will be a lobby level cafe offering smashed avocado toast, flatbread, daily market fish specials, pasta Bolognese, and butter-poached king crab. Seventh floor bar Group Therapy will counsel guests with an assortment of signature cocktails, a curated wine list, and shared plates. The hotel also announced that it had named Asti and Juliet vet Jacob Weaver as the corporate director of food and beverage. An executive chef for the concepts has yet to be announced.

Torchy’s Tacos is officially rolling out its second Round Rock location at 1500 N. I-35 Frontage Rd. on July 3. Before the grand opening day, it is hosting a party from 5-8 pm on July 1. As with all of its new restaurant opening, the popular Austin chain will be giving away free tacos and door prizes.

Three Austin bars have been named top 10 semi-finalists for the 2019 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. First-time nominees Nickel City and Half Step join second-year contender The Roosevelt Room on the short list for the Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar award. Nickel City was also nominated for Best American Bar Team. The list is winnowed down to four finalists on June 24 before the winner is announced in New Orleans on July 20.

Olamaie has introduced a new beverage program to enjoy in the dog days on summer. Highlights include Young Americans with Cocchi Rosa, Bruto Americano, and mate gin; A Love Supreme with mezcal and Luna amara; and the nonalcoholic Blackberry Smash made with mint, lemon, lavender bitters, and Topo Chico.

40 North is back with another menu collaboration, this time with East Austin’s Old Thousand. From June 18-July 18, guests can enjoy a mapo pie made with fermented chili marinara, scallion, fennel pork, cilantro, pickled Gai Lan, chili oil, and porchetta egg rolls. $1 of each map pizza sold benefits the Shoal Creek Conservancy.

Tickets are on sale now for Pay it Forward with Daniel Curtis, the annual foodie benefit for the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation and Easterseals of Central Texas. This year, 20 of the Austin’s most acclaimed restaurants will be participating, including The Carillon, Sixth and Waller, Odd Duck, Loro, and Salt Traders Coastal Kitchen.  

Negroni Week is returning to Austin June 24-30. The boozy annual event, organized by Campari and Imbibe magazine, encourages bars and restaurants to give back to charity through sales of the classic Italian cocktail. Some of the Capital City’s best bars and restaurants are participating this year, including Whisler’s, Rules & Regs, and Bar Peached. See the full list here.