7 things to know in Austin food right now: Pizza truck rolls into east side food park
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East Austin’s Arbor Food Park is welcoming a new wood-fired pizza operation. Following a well-received collaboration with east side staples Discada and Nixta Taqueria, Dough Boys will permanently park its baby blue food truck at 1108 E. 12th St., joining such popular food trucks as Rosarito and Cuantos Tacos. Using an 800-lb., wood-burning Italian oven, chef Tony Curet — a Culinary Institute of American grad and former Apple campus chef — and business partner Max Tilka sling eight original pies made with locally sourced ingredients. Curet’s menu also includes the Sweet Ritual dessert option, a “doughy-er, gooey-er” play on tiramisu, adorned with a caramelized espresso glaze and topped with a Fernet-infused mascarpone. Doughboy’s soft opening begins Wednesday, August 5, through Thursday, August 6, with its grand opening (featuring a special, off-menu pie from Curet) set for Friday, August 8. Once open, Dough Boy’s operating hours will be 4-10 pm Wednesday-Saturday and noon until sold out on Sunday.
Last week, Houston-based crêperie and cafe Sweet Paris announced its first Austin location will open at the Domain in mid-August. Situated next to the outdoor mall’s Starbucks, the new 2,429-square-foot restaurant, which includes a patio and event area, will feature industrial French decor, and offer Sweet Paris’s usual menu of crepes, waffles, salads, panini, soups, coffee drinks, and brunch beverages. The forthcoming location will also see Sweet Paris partner with the Central Texas Food Bank for its Eat Here, Feed There initiative. When customers purchase any one of three specific crepes (truffle caprese, lemon and sugar, and “Allison’s Parfait”), Sweet Paris will donate one meal to help children in need.
Fat City, an American-style comfort food concept from Peached Tortilla's Eric Silverstein is launching the first of several planned pop-ups at Yard Bar this weekend. Fat City’s menu takes inspiration from iconic fast-food operations like White Castle, featuring hand-dipped chicken fingers, fat stacks (beef or chicken sliders), crinkle fries or tots, and cream-filled sponge cakes. Fat City’s Yard Bar launch pop-up will take place from noon - 9 pm on both Friday, August 8, and Saturday, August 9. In addition to Yard Bar’s regular drink menu of cocktails, beers, and wine, Fat City will offer drinks such as root beer and Dreamsicle floats.
Other news and notes
Lotus Chinese, a Domain eatery known for its inspired take on American-Chinese cuisine, recently launched a new line of frozen dumplings. Characterized by their thicker skin, Lotus’ Northern-style dumplings are offered with pork and cabbage, chicken basil, or vegan sweet potato fillings, and retail for $9.29 for a 12-pack. The pre-cooked offerings come with instructions for heating by boiling, pan-frying, or deep-frying and are available alongside four flavors of dumpling sauces: soy garlic, ultra-spicy dragon, chili oil, and sweet and sour. “Frozen dumplings and sauces were always a dream project for us,” says Lotus Chinese’s co-owner Jessica Wu via press release. “Once COVID began impacting the country and our city started to slow down, we took the opportunity to continue selling takeout and work on developing our retail products.” Frozen dumpling orders can be placed for both takeout and curbside pickup at the restaurant's website.
To help stabilize staff income in the wake of COVID-19, Vinaigrette has introduced a no-tipping policy. The New Mexican-based operation’s owner, Erin Wade, said the decision to eliminate tips means a higher hourly wage for both back and front of house employees as well as higher prices on Vinaigrette menu items. “The only way for Vinaigrette to implement this new no-tipping policy was to raise prices to cover service, which may be a controversial factor for the general public," the company said in a release. "However, the hard work, attention, and care the staff places into making the food should be reflected in their paychecks.”
On August 1, locally-owned Tso Chinese Delivery brought back its #TsoGiving donation service. On the first Saturday of every month, the restaurant will offer free, fresh meals to those in need who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the meals, which include vegetarian and vegan options, recipients can also receive complimentary face masks and Richard’s Rainwater, while supplies last. To date, Tso has donated over $100,000 in food to Austinites via its weekend curbside drive-thrus in April, the #50kForTeachers campaign in May, and the #TsoGiving for Families initiative. Tso’s next donation will be Saturday, September 5, at 9333 Research Blvd. Ste. E402.
Austin favorite Via 313 was bestowed the honor of 2020 Pizzeria of the Year by Pizza Today, an industry publication described as the “leading magazine for pizza professionals." The article chronicles the pizzeria’s journey from a humble, one-truck operation to the booming $12-million-a-year business it is today. “[Thank you] to everyone in Austin who continues to support us day in and day out,” read a message from Via 313’s founders/owners, Brandon and Zane Hunt, on the business’s Instagram page. “We couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this community.”