News you can eat

6 things to know in Austin food right now: Franklin alum fires up new barbecue truck

6 things to know in Austin food: Franklin alum fires up new BBQ truck

brisket bbq
A former Franklin Barbecue pitmaster is firing up his own truck. JNL Barbecue

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.

Openings and closings

JNL Barbecue quietly opened at the new Buzz Mill Coffee, at 5012 E. Seventh St., in early November. Run by pitmaster and Franklin Barbecue alum Ben Lambert and wife Sarah Lambert, the trailer naturally offers brisket but is also drawing raves for its al pastor ribs. The concept is normally only open on Saturdays but those who preorder at by 10 pm on November 25 can pick up smoked turkey breasts for Thanksgiving Day.

In other ‘cue news, another barbecue truck entered the Austin lineup on November 11. Queue, located at 6218 Brodie Ln., comes from pitmaster Stephen Mace, a Lockhart native who perfected his technique through a series of backyard cookouts. The menu includes smoked meats like a Texas trinity platter (prime brisket, pork ribs, and sausage); pulled pork; and turkey, along with sides like cider slaw, mac ’n’ cheese, ranch-style beans, and charred sweet corn.

A long-awaited taproom and bar from Thirsty Planet is finally brewing, according to Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation records. According to the filing, construction will kick off in January 2020 with an estimated completion date at the end of May. CultureMap has reached out to the brewery for more information.

Rio Rita, which has been on hiatus since owners Donya and Randall Stockton posted a “Gone Fishin’” sign this summer, will reopen, CultureMap confirmed. As first reported by the Austin Chronicle, Cheer Up Charlies' owners Tamara Hoover and Maggie Lea have signed a lease at the space with plans to keep the name and concept. The relaunch is expected to happen in late December.


A cold beer kerfuffle ended with some warm fuzzies — and a big donation to a local nonprofit. The saga began in late 2017 when Pabst Canada introduced a 99-pack of beer, which Austinites immediately pegged as suspiciously similar to Austin Beerworks’ Peacemaker Anytime Pale Ale promotion from 2014. Though it was called out on social media, PBR hauled out another 99-pack this past May. The fracas was finally resolved on November 21 when Austin Beerworks announced that Pabst had given it credit for the idea and made a $9,999.99 donation to the Central Texas Food Bank.

Other news and notes

Who says coffee shops have the monopoly on beverage art? On November 22, Lala’s Little Nugget and Stagger Lee announced they've installed Ripple Machines that allow guests to print photos on beer foam. The whole process takes 30 seconds and is available for no extra cost at both bars.