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5 things to know in Austin food right now: Trendy east side diner reopens to the world

5 things to know in Austin food now: Trendy east side diner reopens

Sixth and Waller restaurant Austin
Get your queso Benedict and universally loved French toast here!  Courtesy of East Austin Hotel

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.

Reopenings

Trendsetting Austinites and in-the-know visitors in search of an internationally inspired dining destination on the east side now have a familiar spot to return to. East Austin Hotel’s global diner, Sixth and Waller, which closed last winter when Austin entered Stage 5 COVID-19 risk and later allowed only hotel guests to trickle in for breakfast service, has finally reopened to the public. And since it’s been a long time coming, Sixth and Waller is marking the occasion with a new chef and a revamped menu. New executive chef James Wilson hails from North Carolina, studied at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin, and previously brought his culinary chops to the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol, ATX Fit Chef, and the University of Texas Southwestern. He’s been working to retool the Sixth and Waller menu to include some new items and slightly tweak diners’ favorites. (Don’t worry, the divine queso Benedict is still available!) Sixth and Waller is now open for brunch daily 9 am-3 pm, and dinner service is expected to resume later this year. Visit the website for menus and more info.

Other news and notes

If ever there were a reason to raise a glass in honor of a local culinary legend, now is the time. Jeffrey Weinberger, the founder of legendary Austin neighborhood restaurant Jeffrey’s, died September 22 at the age of 74. After opening his first eatery in Dallas, the ahead-of-his-time restaurateur opened his culinary gem Jeffrey’s in 1975 in Austin’s Clarksville neighborhood. Jeffrey’s excelled at approachable fine dining, particularly at a time when Austin’s restaurant scene was hardly the food mecca it is today, and pretty much any longtime Austinite can recount their many life occasions that panned out and were celebrated at Jeffreys. While Jeffrey’s wasn’t the last restaurant concept Weinberger would launch, it is likely the one for which he will be predominantly remembered. The restaurant was purchased in 2012 by local restaurant-management company McGuire Moorman Hospitality, which still maintains the eatery.      

Turnstile, the coffee, cocktails, and craft-brew hub (a very Austin-y combo), has expanded with a new drive-thru and a full kitchen. Turnstile scooped up the property adjacent to its original location, at 10025 Burnet Rd., giving the business some room to grow. The craft kitchen specializes in chicken, salads, and gourmet burgers, including its signature burger, aptly named The Turnstile, with a Texas grass-fed patty topped with onion jam, bacon, Amish blue cheese, arugula, and hops mayo. The kitchen is currently open for dinner 4-9 pm Tuesday through Saturday for dine-in and pickup service. Breakfast and lunch service will be added soon. Coffee and tea drinks are available all day in the shop and 7:30 am-3:00 pm from the drive-thru. While you’re there, check out Turnstile’s curated menu of craft brews, as well as its draft, signature, and classic cocktail offerings. Visit Turnstile’s website for more info.

Things are bubbling up at the Texas Farmers’ Market at Mueller this October as the organization ushers in the eighth annual Austin Fermentation Festival, a free educational event celebrating all things fermented — from miso and pickled veggies to kimchi and sourdough. From 7-8:30 pm every Monday in October, the Texas Farmers’ Market will host expert-led online workshops featuring some talented Austin food stars (Jam Sanitchat of Thai Fresh, Sheena Moore of Sheena’s Pickles, David Norman of Easy Tiger). Additionally, there will be a silent auction open to the public and running all month long, with proceeds benefiting the Texas Farmers’ Market and TFM’s Ag Producer Support Fund, which supports farmers, ranchers and all producer vendors during times of crisis. While the fest is free and open to all, fermentation fans need to sign up for a ticket for each Zoom workshop. Attendees can also make a $10 suggested donation per person. Check out the speaker schedule and sign up for free tickets here.

One of Texas’ favorite beer brands has brewed up a new reason to celebrate with an icy cold one. The family-owned crafters of iconic Texas beer Shiner Bock have released a new beer honoring its historic 112 years in business. Shiner 1909 is a small-batch lager brewed with heritage ingredients and celebrating the enduring heritage and legacy of the Spoetzl Brewery, where every drop of Shiner beer continues to be brewed and bottled. Shiner 1909, a nod to the brewery’s founding year, is crafted using water from the same artesian well the Shiner founders discovered more than a century ago. A light-bodied lager with a rich malt flavor, Shiner 1909 is now available in stores Texas-wide in six-packs and 12-packs. Visit the Shiner website for more info.