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5 things to know in Austin food right now: Tatsu-Ya team teases new tiki bar and restaurant

5 things to know in Austin food: Tatsu-Ya team teases new tiki bar

Tiki Tatsu-Ya founders
The Tiki Tatsu-Ya beverage team: Michael Phillips, Cory Starr, and Bryan Parsons. Photo by Jane Yun

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 reopenings

Summer vacation may be wrapping up for many of us, but the heat is on and thanks to one new concept (courtesy of the Tatsu-Ya restaurant group and a long time in the works), relaxing island vibes are now available year-round. Introducing Tiki Tatsu-Ya, a bar and restaurant concept that embraces the traditions of tiki culture with creative interpretations of tropical drinks served alongside a food menu of sharable bites. Leading the Tiki Tatsu-Ya beverage program is Cory Star (previously of the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai), who, in addition to Tatsu-Ya beverage director Michael Phillips and Tatsu-Ya Sake sommelier Bryan Masamitsu Parsons, will create an inspired array of extravagant tiki drink standards and wholly original creations. For food, guests can expect a blend of Polynesian and Japanese influences and playful plating styles. Located next door to Ramen Tatsu-Ya on South Lamar Boulevard, Tiki Tatsu-Ya is set to open later this summer and is currently hiring.

After months of extensive renovations, one of Austin’s most exciting new women-owned coffee shops is back and better than ever. Reintroducing Try Hard Coffee Roasters. Since opening for a year-long stint of window service in June 2020, this East 11th Street concept from veteran chefs Angel Medina (previously of Barley Swine and Emmer & Rye) and Cameron Kisel (previously of Vixen’s Wedding) has expanded its menu to include scratch-made breakfast and lunch items like mushroom toast on koji sourdough and a hash bowl served with escabeche and queso fresco. Also new in the beverage department are seasonal drink offerings like the Cubano Libre (with espresso, lime, and Mexican Coke) and the Dream Pop (orange lemon coriander shrub with cold-brew concentrate). The folks at Try Hard also roast their own coffee beans, procured from nearby Georgetown, and has several collaborations in the works with Austin-based artists, including a limited-time roast with local psych rockers The Octopus Project. Try Hard Coffee is open daily from 7 am-3 pm. For more info about the biz (or to listen in one of the café’s many regular live DJ performances via Try Hard’s streaming internet radio service), visit the website.

Other news and notes

Get ready for the best news you’ll hear all week: free cookies! Mark your calendars for Wednesday, August 4 — or, as it’s better known to sweets lovers, National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. To celebrate this most special of occasions, Austin’s own Tiff’s Treats — the cookie-delivery service that’s risen to 65 locations in the Southern U.S. — is giving out free warm chocolate chip cookies in all of its stores. Additionally, the brand is selling its popular freshly baked cookies for just $12 per dozen all day (that’s a savings of $6). Cookie lovers who follow Tiff’s Treats’ social media channels should also stay tuned for a special online code popping up between now and Sunday, August 8. The first 100 followers who redeem the code each day on the Tiff’s Treats website will receive a dozen free cookies. Cookie fans can stop by any Tiff’s Treats store on August 4 to pick up their free chocolate chip cookie, but the deal is limited to one treat per person, so don’t be a cookie monster!

As if we needed another reason to be over-the-top excited for Austin Pride Month this August, one local soup and smoothie outpost has decided to celebrate the occasion with ample amounts of color and flavor. With its first ever Pride-themed smoothie offering, Austin’s The Soup Peddler will help benefit Out Youth, a local nonprofit whose mission is to offer youth of all sexual orientations and gender identities a place where they are loved, acknowledged, and accepted for exactly who they are. The Kitty Girl Smoothie (named after a song by celebrated drag queen RuPaul) is a two-toned pink and purple concoction made up of banana, strawberry, raspberry, dragon fruit, rose water, acai, and rice milk. The colorful new smoothie will be available at all six Soup Peddler locations in an 18-ounce cup for $8. The Kitty Girl will be offered through August 15.

Big, exciting changes continue to unfold behind the scenes at Austin’s beloved local Tex-Mex chain Trudy’s. New to the organization’s team is award-winning chef and San Antonio native Julian Rodarte, who is also a TV personality and a 30 Under 30 chef and restaurateur with years of experience working as a concept chef for national brands. As part of Trudy’s mission to protect and enhance the iconic brand’s legacy for generations to come, chef Rodarte has revamped the restaurant’s menu while preserving old fan favorites like Trudy’s classic queso, Cholula honey chicken fajitas, and Trudy’s famous stuffed avocado. The revitalized Trudy’s menu debuted at the recent reopening of the South Star location, and with its August 2 reopening, is now available at the North Star location as well. Trudy’s is currently undergoing a system-wide schedule of remodeling, rebranding, and renovations, which will be finalized with the reopening of the Texas Star location later this summer.