6 things to know in Austin food right now: Outdoor French bistro swoops into suburbs
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
Nightingale Bistro, a new French-inspired outdoor cafe, is perching itself in downtown Georgetown. Originally conceived as a sit-down bistro within Lark & Owl Booksellers, the restaurant has since transitioned into a full open-air eatery. Led by prolific restaurateur team Matthew and Grady Wright of Brew & Brew and Better Half fame, the new outdoor operation officially opens Thursday, December 10. “We call it ‘rustic French,'” says general manager Tony West of the bistro’s culinary focus. “Things you’d want to find at a Sunday picnic — ham sandwich on baguette, for example, but we’re also doing a ratatouille as well as braised short ribs with cheddar grits.'' Other standout offerings off chef Rachel Taylor’s (also a Brew & Brew alum) menu are bacon green beans, potato gratin, and a roast chicken with an air-drying prep process West compares to Beijing duck. A solid beer and wine program includes a wide range of traditional and natural wine offerings and Nightingale's cocktail program is crafted by beverage director Cullen Perry. Nightingale will open with limited dinner hours (5 pm-10 pm) December 10 and 11. The operation will then shift to its weekly hours, Thursday through Sunday, 9 am-10 pm.
Birria de res, the red-hot food craze that hit the Capital City this year harder than a speeding taco truck, has made its way to Buda. Tejas Birria, the Tijuana-style taco operation from former Torchy's Tacos manager Alex Hernandez opened in October with a menu of crimson-hued birria de res and cheesy quesabirria tacos along with steaming cups consomé (beef broth) on the side for dippin’ and sippin'. Also served alongside such birria-truck favorites as Birramen (birria de res and consume served in a Tapatio-brand cup of noodles) are Tejas Birria's novel creations. Dive into the double-decker crunch wrap, a birria grilled-cheese melt, or order up a birria kimbap, which replaces the sushi-like Korean dish’s sticky rice with Spanish rice and stewed beef. Customers can also purchase cups of consomé with or without the stewed protein, to-go. Tejas Birria is located at 2390 FM 2001 and is currently open Thursday, 4-8pm; Saturday, noon-8 pm; and Sunday, 11 am-3 pm.
Austin's gay nightlife scene has lost another hot spot. Seller's Underground, an LGBTQ+ favorite on Fourth Street, announced on social media that it is closing due to the pandemic. "A few days short of our 4 year anniversary, we have made the difficult decision to permanently close Seller's Underground effective immediately. COVID-19 capacity restrictions have made it impossible for us to continue," the bar wrote on social media on December 5.
Though we still haven’t fully processed the loss of Micklethwait Craft Meats’ taqueria, Taco Bronco (and that solid lamb birria taco), Batch Craft Beer & Kolaches finally has a backyard food truck again. Dubbed Batch PM, the space’s new, global street-food inspired operation will showcase chef Patrick Hinojosa’s inventive sausage creations, including a kimchi brat finished with a savory bulgogi glaze as well as the Das Curry Wurst, a gluten-free option with curry, tomatoes, and plenty of sauerkraut. Alongside brats, which can be substituted for beef, chicken, or veggie sausage, side offerings include Belgian-style fries with five house-made dipping sauces. To celebrate the concept’s grand opening on December 10, Batch’s taproom will be tapping two new specialty brews including an effervescent lemongrass saison as well as the crisp, 100 percent peppercorn pilsner. After its official opening, Batch PM will begin its weekly operations schedule, opening Wednesday through Sunday from 2-9 pm. Batch Craft Beer and Kolaches is located at 3220 Manor Rd. and will continue to operate 8 am-10 pm, Wednesday through Sunday.
After 15 years of supplying seemingly every area coffee shop with grab-and-go sandwiches and salads, Austin-based company The Green Cart has launched delivery service. The new online operation features all the favorites, including almond egg salad and pecan-roasted butternut squash, turkey provolone, and salami and gouda sandwiches. Also available for delivery are such locally sourced goods as Greater Goods coffee beans and Two Hives mesquite honey. All items can be ordered for the service’s weekly Wednesday delivery (in either the 2 pm-4 pm or 4 pm-6 pm window). Shipping rates are $15 for orders under $25, $7.50 for order over $25, and free for orders over $75. Cutoff time for each week’s deliveries is Monday evening. For info on delivery range, customers can consult the Green Cart Patry’s helpful service map here.
Tacodeli is coming to store shelves ... again. Now available exclusively at Whole Foods Market stores in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma are the company’s organic refried black bean molidos, the blended legume mix which serves as the base for Tacodelli’s popular breakfast tacos, as well as its corn tortilla chips. Two new offerings join the operation’s line of award-winning salsas and quesos which are currently carried by Whole Foods, including the Queso Classic and signature Salsa Doña. Now all we need are some Tacodeli-brand tortillas and the taco holy trinity will be complete.