5 things to know in Austin food right now: Pho-nomenal Asian eatery opens new shop

5 things to know in Austin food: Pho-nomenal Asian spot opens new shop

Simply Pho House
Pho sho, you'll want to check out the new Asian fusion eatery at the Hill Country Galleria. Photo by Thanin Viriyaki Photography

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

Southsiders who have been craving fast and fresh Asian fusion fare for, like, pho-ever, are in luck. Simply Pho House, the locally owned eatery with locations in Lakeway, Marble Falls, and Dripping Springs, is opening a new spot at the Hill Country Galleria in Bee Cave on Thursday, September 23. Located at 12913 Galleria Circle, Simply Pho House, run by husband-and-wife team Sonny Tran and Loan Huynh, previously had a location in Bee Cave at the Shops at the Galleria, but shuttered that spot in anticipation of opening at the Hill Country Galleria. The new location will feature an expanded menu of popular Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese dishes, as well as boba tea drinks, beer, and wine. Simply Pho House plans to offer weekend dim sum service in the future. The new location will be open Monday through Thursday 11 am-8:45 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am-9:45 pm, and Sunday noon-8:45 pm. Get more info on the restaurant’s website.

In an effort to continue beefing up its Central Texas presence, Connecticut-based Wayback Burgers, one of the fastest-growing burger franchises in the country, has announced plans to open its 13th franchised location in Texas, in the Austin suburb of Leander. Slated to open mid-2022, the 1,925-square-foot Wayback Burgers, to be located at 3651 Hwy. 183, will bring with it 30 new jobs and will be operated by local franchisee Bonnie Diwadko. The Leander announcement comes just months after Wayback announced it would open a location in Cedar Park early next year. Menu highlights include cooked-to-order single and double burgers, like its signature Cheeeesy, a burger topped with four slices of melted American cheese, as well as cheesesteaks, chicken sandwiches, veggie burgers, Impossible Burgers, chicken tenders, salads, fries, onion rings, mac and cheese bites, and hand-dipped milkshakes. Follow Wayback on Instagram for updates.

It’s been a long time coming, but finally, one of Austin’s fan-favorite wood-fired pizza joints is reopening its dining room — and adding some tasty seasonal menu items and a new chef to the fold. 40 North, located at 900 W. 10th St., has officially swung the doors back open to its dining room, which closed in March 2020, at the onset of the pandemic. Along with this welcome news, 40 North has expanded its chef team to include co-executive chef Andrew Turner (previously of Pershing), who will work alongside chef and co-owner Clint Elmore to create fresh, seasonal dishes and pizzas to add to the menu. And speaking of tasty collabs, 40 North is teaming up with Hawaiian eatery Salty Cargo to whip up a unique Hawaiian-style pie (pork sausage, compressed fresh pineapples, pepperoni, a cheese blend, Thai basil with Thai basil oil, and Salty Cargo’s signature house-fermented anchovy sambal chili paste) and a Tori Katsu Sando (turmeric- and garlic-brined chicken thigh, fried garlic and nuoc mam aioli, shredded romaine lettuce, and white onions between Texas toast). Sounds like they’d both pair perfectly with 40 North’s new natural wine offerings. The Hawaiian pizza and Tori Katsu Sando will be available on 40 North’s menu from September 28 through the end of October. Visit the 40 North website for more info.

Other news and notes

Today is World Gratitude Day, and Austin’s favorite cookie-delivery service, Tiff’s Treats, is helping locals “Bake It Forward” with an ooey, gooey gifting special meant to help cookie fans show some gratitude to loved ones — for more than just one day. On Tuesday, September 21, the local brand will reward anyone who sends a gift of Tiff’s Treats by gifting the giver with a voucher for a free dozen cookies to send to someone else later this month. There’s a limit of one dozen free cookies per person, which translates into mouthfuls of scrumptious treats. Visit Tiff’s Treats online for more info — and get to work baking it forward!

With the goal of providing land and infrastructure to Austin culinary and beverage professionals so they can grow food for their restaurants, the team behind Urban American Farmer has launched Farm School at Rain Lily Farm in East Austin. The program will guide restaurant teams through the process of growing food, from crop planning and planting, all the way through to harvest, with participating chefs and their staff getting ongoing support during the fall growing season at weekly classes and work sessions led by farmers. Participating Austin restaurants include Assembly, Bufalina, Comedor, Emmer & Rye, Fixe, Southern House, Intero, L’Oca d’Oro, Olamaie, TenTen, and The Well. Chefs have daily farm access for maintenance and harvest, allowing them to bring the freshest ingredients possible to their restaurant diners this fall. For more information on Urban American Farmer and the Farm School program, email And check out Farm School at the inaugural Field Guide Festival October 29-30.