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.
Closings and openings
After 10 years, the longest operating locally owned non-chain restaurant at The Domain is closing permanently. Copper owner Ben May and his staff announced December 10 on Facebook (and confirmed to CultureMap) that the Hill Country cuisine spot will close early next month because “the landlord decided to go in a different direction with our space via a new restaurant from the West Coast.” With Copper’s lease expiring at the end of 2021, the restaurant’s last day in operation will be Sunday, January 2, 2022, so make sure to pop by and give a local eatery your love (and dollars) for the last time. The restaurant’s sister concept, the always-awesome Austin Cake Ball at 5310 Burnet Rd., will thankfully remain open. “We are incredibly humbled that so many embraced Copper and that we were able to succeed for as long as we have,” the restaurant’s Facebook post reads. “Ten years is an eternity in this business, and we could not have done it without all our wonderful guests and employees supporting us.”
After more than a year of being forced to dine outdoors on South Austin’s best pastries and baked goods — which, let’s face it, is still well worth the delicious bites — lovers of Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden will now be purring when they pop by the revamped bakery. The neighborhood walk-up bake shop and market, located at 3508 S. Lamar Blvd., has completed the third and final phase of its expansion. The Easy Tiger spot now includes indoor seating in the Den and at the full bar, an onsite bakery (soft pretzels will be coming out of the ovens fresh all day long and pair perfectly with the available local beers!), and a curated artisanal market with lots of local products. The location, which also boasts 15,000 square feet of outdoor space, had originally opened in October 2020 solely with outdoor seating. The newly completed Easy Tiger South is now open Sunday through Thursday 7 am-10 pm and 7 am-midnight on weekends.
In further proof that Austin continues to become a diverse metropolis, south siders can now have their pick of more than 30,000 formerly-difficult-to-find Japanese products at the newly opened Asahi Imports. The brand, Austin’s only Japanese grocery store with such a wealth of offerings, has opened a second location, at 3005 S. Lamar Blvd., suite B105B. The company also maintains its other location at 6105 Burnet Rd. Among Asahi’s much-loved specialties are handmade onigiri rice balls; bento boxes; sushi-grade fish; ramen kits; ready-to-make dumplings and gyoza; more than 100 varieties of sake, beer, and plum wine; freshly prepared foods; and just about any Japanese grocery product you could dream up. Asahi is currently operating under temporary pandemic hours, Tuesday through Sunday 10 am-5 pm. Follow the company on Instagram for updates and hour changes.
The culinary whiz behind some of Austin’s most celebrated Asian eateries is opening a new concept. According to Eater Austin, chef Ling Qi Wu — of Qi Modern Asian Kitchen and Lin Asian Bar + Dim Sum fame — will open Ling Wu Asian Restaurant at 7415 Southwest Parkway mid to late next year. Eater reports the restaurant will feature a menu of classic Chinese dishes and dim sum, as well as raw fish specialties, and some recipes handed down by Wu’s grandmother.
A popular Mediterranean chain that recently announced it’s moving into nearby San Antonio with its first eatery in that market appears to also be heading to the Austin area. The Great Greek, founded in Las Vegas in 2011, has a placeholder on its website noting that a location will soon be coming to the new Arbor Park Shopping Center in Cedar Park, at 3101 E. Whitesboro Blvd. The Great Greek is a fast-casual concept specializing in Mediterranean favorites, like house-made dips; spanakopita; and chicken, steak, shrimp, lamb, and falafel entrees. Follow the brand on Instagram for updates about the opening of the local eatery.
Other news and notes
While it’s true the Lone Star State has its share of meaty meccas and may be known as a steak-and-potatoes kind of place (in addition to a taco and barbecue destination), it’s not likely that most locals would guess the best steakhouse in the U.S. is in … Lakeway. According to a list recently compiled by crowd-sourced business-review site Yelp of the Best Steakhouses in America, Lakeway’s SP Brazilian Steakhouse is tops, making mincemeat out of any competitors. Yelp notes the local eatery’s wide array of meaty offerings, which include rib-eye, filet mignon, top sirloin, bottom sirloin, and beef ribs. Considering SP Brazilian Steakhouse was ranked fairly highly on Yelp’s Top 100 Restaurants in Texas list in May, we’re guessing locals have no beef with the restaurant’s designation as the best steakhouse in the country.
If you’re looking to celebrate with a traditional Feast of Seven Fishes this season but don’t want to worry about all the muss and fuss, put the work in the chef’s hands. Huckleberry, the North Austin seafood-forward food truck (and one of the city’s best-kept comfort-food secrets), is rolling out its Feast of Five Fishes over five days. Starting Wednesday, December 15 through Sunday, December 19, Huckleberry chef Davis Turner will serve up one festive fish dish per day in honor of the holiday tradition. The menu includes calamari with salsa matcha (Day 1); moules frites, aka mussels and fries (Day 2); New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp and grits (Day 3); smoked fish nachos (Day 4); and a baked oyster trio (Day 5). The Huckleberry team will give out a punch card to be marked each day, and guests who complete it will be gifted one free fish sandwich and a T-shirt. Huckleberry is located at 2340 Braker Ln.
This holiday, we’ve got the scoop on the new frozen treats at a local shop Austinites are definitely sweet on. Lick Honest Ice Creams, which has three scoops shops in the Austin area, has dished out its must-have seasonal ice cream flavors. They include Too Hot Chocolate, a blend of SRSLY Chocolate, cinnamon, chipotle, cayenne pepper, and Good Flow Honey; Brown Butter Brown Sugar, which has flecks of nutty browned butter and is sweetened with a scoop of brown sugar; and No Egg Nog, a vegan coconut ice cream with warm spices of nutmeg and cinnamon complementing the flavor of Garrison Brothers Bourbon. Cake worshipers can also preorder 6-inch desserts in Red Velvet Ice Cream Cake and Black & White Ice Cream Cake (vegan and gluten-free) varieties here for pick up on December 22, 23, or 24. But don’t dawdle; cake preordering is only available through Tuesday, December 14!