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5 things to know in Austin food right now: 2 longtime Sixth Street bars shutter

5 things to know in Austin food: 2 longtime Sixth Street bars shutter

Austin photo: Places_Food_BD Riley's_Exterior
B.D. Riley's is closed after 20 years.

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

Two Sixth Street staples called it quits last week, drawing attention to the continuing impact of COVID-19 on Austin’s live music and bar industries. On August 26, after 20 years in operation, Irish pub chain B.D. Riley’s announced via Facebook the closure of its beloved downtown location. (B.D. Riley’s second location in East Austin’s Mueller development remains open for dine-in and takeout.) Two days later, it was popular dive bar/music venue Dirty Dog Bar. “We held on as long as we could even after losing revenue from March though [sic] today and with no end in sight,” said Dirty Dog in its August 28 post. “We have been searching for a new location for some time and hope that when the bar ban and COVID restrictions have eased up we will open a new location."

After months of eager anticipation, Dallas-based Bishop Cider Co. opened its bar/arcade combo on Friday, August 28. The first of its kind in Austin, Bishop Cidercade takes over the former site of Joe’s Crab Shack on Riverside Drive. The 13,000-square-foot space features 40 adult beverages on draft, including cider, beer, and wine, plus a pizza kitchen and outdoor patio seating on the lake. Included in the Cidercade’s $10 price of admission, which applies to guests over 5 years of age, is access to more than 150 arcade games. The space is open to guests all ages until 8 pm, at which time admission switches to 21-plus. The location’s opening comes along with numerous measures in place to assure guest safety, including mandatory face masks for staff and customers, as well as capping restaurant capacity at 33 percent. Cidercade Austin is currently open 10 am-12 am, Sunday – Thursday, and 10 am–1 am, Friday and Saturday. 

South Austin’s Radio Coffee and Beer is receiving a “taste of the swamp,” courtesy of its new onsite food truck Da Boot Po’Boys. A longtime staple of the East Cesar Chavez food trailer scene, Da Boot is helmed by chef/owner Keisha Washington and her partner, Donnie, and offers a wide-ranging menu of Louisiana comfort fare, including 6-inch and 12-inch po’boy sandwiches loaded with fish, shrimp, or softshell crab; burgers; seafood plates; and side “lagniappe” options, including cajun fries, collard greens, and corn hushpuppies. The trailer’s current hours of operation are 11 am-7 pm, Monday through Wednesday; 11 am-8 pm, Thursday and Sunday; and 11 am-9 pm Friday through Saturday.

Other news and notes

Two heavy-hitters of the Austin craft brewing scene are teaming up to take on the world of hard seltzers. Slush Buddies, a forthcoming collaboration between South Austin’s St. Elmo Brewing Co. and the east side’s Zilker Brewing Co., begins at noon on Friday, September 4. From their respective tap-rooms, both operations will offer onsite pours as well as to-go 4-packs of both their collaboration fruit punch and blue raspberry hard seltzers. Also available at both locations will be hard seltzer slushies, mixed with real-fruit purees to be enjoyed at the brewery or sealed in 16-oz. plastic “sipping bags" for to-go orders. “We’re really looking to have a blast with this project,” says St. Elmo co-owner Tim Bullock. “Seltzers are probably a little divisive in the craft beer world, but having fun shouldn’t be.” Online Slush Buddy orders go live on their respective websites at 10:01 pm on Thursday, September 3. Pick-up will begin at noon the following day at both taprooms. 

Mmmpanadas, the Austin-based brand started in 2008 by husband-and-wife duo Cody and Kristen Fields, is now offering local delivery. While the operation’s hearty empanadas, which include such varieties as vegan spicy black bean and cheeseburger, can be purchased frozen at over 300 local grocery stores, customers can get the crust-encased snacks delivered anywhere in the greater Austin area for a $5 fee. Deliveries are available Monday through Saturday from 10 am - 5 pm. Additionally, the brand has partnered with Austin-based company Mom and Pops, whose all-natural frozen paletas treats can be added to any delivery order. Mmmpanadas also announced the reopening of its food truck on the University of Texas campus, outside Gregory Gym on Speedway, on August 26. According to the company’s website, Mmmpanadas’s other food trailer, located outside Barton Springs pool, remains closed until the popular swimming spot reopens.