Rachael Ray pops up in Austin with city's first-ever virtual cafe
From her long-running SXSW showcase to her annual Moxie Made pop-ups, Rachael Ray seems to spend more time in Austin than she does in her native New York. Now, she is becoming the city’s latest restaurateur.
On October 17, the celebrity chef will launch a virtual restaurant in the Capital City through a partnership with Uber Eats. Austin was among only 13 North American cities selected for the innovative new eatery.
Fans hoping to see Ray pour out the EVOO in person will be out of luck since the concept will have no brick-and-mortar presence. Instead, the roughly dozen dishes will be available for delivery through the popular platform.
The promotion is timed around the October 15 release of Ray’s latest cookbook: Rachael Ray 50: Memories and Mealsfrom a Sweet and Savory Life. The recipe collection features comfort food favorites and recollections from the author’s remarkable career.
The virtual restaurant’s menu was mostly pulled from the book, but Ray pulled a few tried-and-true entrees from her file. Diners can expect buffalo pulled chicken chili with smoked blue ranch sauce, a tahini Caesar salad with za’atar croutons, and an egg tagliatelle Bolognese.
Although Uber Eats has not worked such a big name, but it does have a stake in the virtual business model. The company has worked to establish 1,500 so-called dark kitchens in the United States and Canada. Here in Austin, Uber's ex-CEO is working on launching CloudKitchens, which rents kitchens to delivery companies, in the former Baby A's space.
In addition to Austin, the virtual cafe is also popping up in Dallas, Houston, New York City, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chattanooga, and Toronto.
The Rachel Ray cafe, however, will not be a permanent gig for Uber Eats. The pop-up only lasts until the end of December.