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.
Iconic bakery Round Rock Donuts recently applied for a permit to build what’s listed as “a 6,000-square-foot bakery with exterior walk-up and drive-thru ordering” in Cedar Park, as first reported by the Williamson Reporter. An opening date for the operation, located at 1614 E. Whitestone Blvd., has yet to be announced. Round Rock Donuts first opened for business as Lone Star Bakery in 1926 and is today owned and operated by Cathy Guderyahn, daughter of former owners Jan and Dale Cohrs. Though originally opened on Round Rock’s Main Street, the establishment moved to its current location at 106 W. Liberty Ave. in 1970. Round Rock Donuts’ sole brick-and-mortar is open for take-out and drive-thru service from 4:30 am - 6:30 pm, daily.
Other news and notes
Campus-area French gastropub Hopfields is now offering Austinites more than just an impressively curated craft beer tap wall. Via the eatery’s new free school lunch program, Hopfields will be utilizing its newly extended patio to provide a safe, socially distanced outdoor space for school-aged children (under 12 years of age) to use the restaurant’s high-speed internet (plus select school supplies available upon request) and enjoy a free lunch. Complimentary offerings include grilled cheese, PB&J, and buttered noodles plus an Honest Kids juice box. Additionally, Hopfields will provide a free bottomless cup of coffee for accompanying parents. The dine-in only promotion is available Monday through Friday from 11 am – 4 pm until Thanksgiving break, which is scheduled to begin Monday, November 23, for all AISD elementary schools.
What should have been a year of celebration for local grocer Wheatsville Food Co-op has shaped out to be anything but. In a recent email to customers and Co-op owners, the Austin-based retailer reported that even as the grocery industry overall experienced a boom in 2020, Wheatsville’s average sales have dropped 15 percent during its 45th year of operation. The release went on to offer several reasons for Wheatsville’s current financial hardships, including shoppers whho are increasingly opting to patronize big-box stores and that the University of Texas currently operating at less than 50 percent capacity (the student body normally represents a significant portion of Wheatsville’s business). In an appeal to help the grocer survive another 45 years, Wheatsville offered three simple actions that customers can take. “Come on in and shop, tell a friend about us, and keep coming back,” the email says. Additionally, the store is asking patrons with warm memories of Wheatsville to share their stories at firstname.lastname@example.org. Wheatsville has two locations: 3101 Guadalupe St. and 4001 S. Lamar Blvd. Order online, check weekly deals, and more at the website.
A number of Austin restaurants are dipping their toes into the world of weekly and monthly subscription plans, and local foodies are reaping the benefits. Table 22, a new digital platform providing chefs and restaurateurs the tools to build subscription-based revenue streams, local operations are offering pay-as-you-go membership plans, including a $75 a month “Major A La Mode” membership level at Amy’s Ice Creams, which offers five curated pints of ice cream plus free delivery, among other goodies. Also of note is a $32 - $210 a month “Wine Adventurer” subscription from L'Oca d'Oro offering sommelier-curated wine packages to pair with chef Fiore Tedesco’s favorite dishes. Interested parties can learn more and subscribe to their favorite Austin operation’s latest offerings at Table 22's website.
Central Market announced last week its star-studded lineup of food-centric conversations and cooking demonstrations that it will host during this year’s virtual Texas Book Festival. Jam Sanitchat, chef and owner of Thai Fresh and Gati, will take the online stage on Wednesday, November 11, at 10 am to prepare recipes from her new aptly titled cookbook, Thai Fresh: Beloved Recipes from a South Austin Icon. Other notable sessions include a conversation with Texas Monthly Taco Editor, Jose R. Ralat at 2 pm, Saturday, November 7, and a panel with chef and Ugly Delicious host David Chang and pastry chef Lisa Donovan, which will be introduced by actor Gen Padalecki at 10 am, Friday, November 13. Central Market’s sponsored food programming runs November 7-13 and begins at 10 am each day. Texas Book Festival will host all of its live programmings via the broadcasting platform Crowdcast. More information on how to attend and for a full schedule of events can be found on the festival’s website.
Even if it’s not safe to travel this year, the holidays can still be saved. On October 23, Franklin Barbecue announced its award-winning whole smoked briskets are available for delivery nationwide. According to the company’s social media posting, the briskets can be ordered six weeks in advance. The overall cost for a brisket and delivery, a process that is handled by Goldbelly.com, runs $249. Briskets can be ordered at Goldbelly’s website here, but at the time of this writing Franklin’s briskets have — in true Franklin fashion — sold out. The good news for meat fans though is that Goldbelly also offers delivery from a variety of local operations including whole briskets Terry’s Black’s BBQ.