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news you can eat
When things in Austin are always new, new, new, it takes a strong brand to keep excitement up between the announcement and opening day. Some of the events on this list are happening right away, but some of this week's openings were a very long time coming. Still, they're drawing crowds that have been on board since day one.
Openings and closings
Famous barbecue truck LeRoy and Lewis has opened its highly anticipated brick-and-mortar restaurant at 5621 Emerald Forest Dr. in South Austin. The team shared some onboarding slides for new customers — or old customers intent on having a perfect experience — on Instagram. It includes that there will be a wait, but it's all part of the plan; visitors in a hurry can skip the line for ready-to-eat meals and grab-and-go drinks; and the staff is working hard while adjusting to a new space. Hours are Wednesdays to Sundays from 11 am to 9 pm.
Only about two months after the initial announcement, Wine for the People has opened its new Fredericksburg tasting room (113 E. Park St.) in partnership with the famous Hill Country winery William Chris Wine Company. It's hosting some events as it gets service warmed up, including a women in wine talk on International Women's Day, March 8, and a release party for the 10th anniversary edition of Dandy Rosé. The latter is in two location-specific parts: one in Fredericksburg on March 9 and one in Austin on March 10. Wine for the People is open in Fredericksburg from 11 am to 5 pm Sundays through Thursdays, and 11 am to 6 pm Fridays and Saturdays.
Nashville chicken staple Hattie B's Hot Chicken has opened its South Lamar spot (2529 S. Lamar Blvd.), which sparked many questions for Austinites used to driving past the former Maria’s Taco Xpress. Lines were out the door for this chain, which invited press and encouraged passersby to stop in for a free taste. This staff is full of energy, in part thanks to eardrum-blasting afrobeats and other tunes by a DJ outside. Although it's a chain, it's already shaping up to be a popular neighborhood hang. Hattie B's is famous for its sandwiches, but consider spicing things up with the generously portioned chicken and waffles, served with a lot of honey butter.
ICYMI: Fancy Hill Country tasting rooms — as lovely as they are — can start to bleed together. Such is not the case for Senza Maeso, which pairs its unique gooseberry spirit with a similarly eclectic, retrofuturistic bar in San Marcos, open now. CultureMap is showing some love to older spots, too. We've shared a list of the ten best neighborhood restaurants in town according to our Tastemaker Awards judges.
Other news and notes
Nonprofit youth farming project Urban Roots is hosting a hands-on, family-friendly event to get more kids involved ahead of the popular giving event Amplify Austin Day. Activities at the March 2 event will include tastings led by high school interns, a farm scavenger hunt, a professional pickling station, and sustainable arts and crafts. Visitors can also sign up for later volunteer dates and to the "Adopt-a-Crop" program, which sends weekly growing updates to those who'd like to leave the green-thumb activities to someone else. Register via GivePulse.
Austinites will have a chance to be surrounded by sweet, flat faces at the second annual Great Pug Meet-Up at Central Machine Works on March 2. Beverage news first: Tito's Handmade Vodka is sponsoring two specialty cocktails that will benefit the Pug Rescue of Austin with a portion of proceeds. Those are the Salty Dog ($10) with Tito's and fresh grapefruit, and the Pug Life ($12) with Tito's, strawberry and passionfruit cordial, jasmine, and satsuma sparkling water (presumably by Rambler). Other highlights include pet-friendly vendors, an agility course, a pet-and-owner photo booth ($35) and a group photo at 2:45 pm. More details at zilkerbark.com.
Popular Southern restaurant Olamaie is partnering with L'Encantada Armagnac, a grape brandy maker, for a dinner with very limited space. On March 6, only 12 people will get to try the five-course meal and three spirits, including one from 1987. Rising star chef Amanda Turner is in charge of the food menu, but the selections remain a mystery — her eats usually take inspiration from the African diaspora in the American South. Reservations ($250) are now open on OpenTable.