Austin's longtime pizza joint Home Slice is reopening its patios, another important mile marker in a pandemic that has shut down restaurants and bars for seven months. The New York-style pizzeria announced it has reopened patios at both its South Congress and North Loop locations and is rolling out new voting initiatives to help get people to the polls.
Beginning immediately, Home Slice has reopened some outdoor dining, including taking over a handful of parking spots outside its South Congress shop to create a socially distant patio space. At its North Loop locale, outdoor dining is also available, though the ever-popular Astroturf playscape remains closed. (Sorry, parents.) All outdoor spaces are opening with "optimal" COVID restrictions in place, restrooms will be made available, and service is designed to be contactless.
For those not quite ready to dine al fresco with strangers, Home Slice's carryout and third-party delivery service remains in place.
The restaurant also announced a new voting promotion to help get people to the polls this election season. Beginning October 13 (the first day of early voting in Travis County) through Election Day on November 3, Home Slice will offer a free slice of pizza to any guest who shows up to its windows wearing an “I voted” sticker. So make your voting plan, get to the polls, and get yourself a slice a pizza.
“Only 63.8 percent of eligible voters in Travis County cast their ballots in the 2016 presidential election,” said Adam Cooper, partner at Home Slice Pizza in a release. “That means 36.2 percent of Travis County’s eligible voters didn’t vote at all! We hope the new ‘poll perks’ we’re offering will encourage more people to vote this time around.”
As part of its voting initiative, the restaurant is also giving employees paid time off to vote and staff polling locations.
The restaurant has also been busy crafting a new mural following this summer's stunning Black Lives Matter social justice movement. In September, Home Slice partnered with Justice for Javier Ambler, in support with the Austin Justice Coalition, and portrait artist (and Georgetown native) Devon Clarkson to create a piece at the South Congress location.
Ambler was arrested in Austin in 2019 and died will in custody of the Williamson County Sheriff's Department. No one has been arrested in conjunction with his death. Last week, Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody was indicted on a felony evidence-tampering charge for allegedly destroying video evidence of Ambler's arrest.
Clarkson's mural depicts Ambler along with two of his favorite things: Austin and Texas Hold-Em. It can be viewed on the north-facing wall at More Home Slice, at 1421 S. Congress Ave., next to the Mister Rogers mural.
Those would like to show their support can donate to a GoFundMe, which will be used to compensate Clarkson for his work. Additional funds, note the release, will go to Ambler's children.