Editor's note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the what’s what and who’s who of Austin food. But we have you covered with our regular roundup of the freshest Austin restaurant news.
After two years in business, Mueller’s J.T. Youngblood’s has flown the coop, announcing via Facebook that it quietly shuttered on December 16. The family friendly eatery was a reincarnation of beloved midcentury chain Youngblood’s Fried Chicken, serving the original chicken recipe along with new menu items created by chef Todd Duplechan of Lenoir. Although the restaurant debuted to sold-out crowds, what contributed to the demise is unclear. The post did not give a reason for the closure and a request for comment was not fulfilled at press time.
Barbecue joint N’Esperado has also bowed out of the Austin scene. An employee at owner Mahesh and Anusuih Shinde’s East Austin Indian fusion restaurant Nasha confirmed the closure but not the exact date. A Yelp post indicates that the move was sometime in mid-December. This isn't the year's first closure at 1816 S. First St. El Chile Group's Alcomar called it a day in May, blaming a proposed rent increase that would no longer make the business viable. N’Esperado has only been open since August.
The long-awaited Round Rock location of Pinthouse Pizza is gearing up for an estimated opening in late January. Although a manager cautioned that the opening is behind schedule due to construction delays, the popular mini-chain hopes to finalize all inspections in the upcoming weeks.
TripAdvisor has released its top American restaurant chains for 2019 and one Austin-born eatery made the list. Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, founded by local restaurateurs Guy Villavaso and Larry Foles in 2000 led the pack in the small chains' category (restaurants with 10-50 locations) based on its high reviews on the travel site. The brand is now owned by conglomerate Darden Restaurants, best known for Olive Garden.
A mixed beverage permit has been filed with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission for a new project creatively titled The Venue. The 516 E. Sixth St. address is the former home of multi-level dance club Clearport, but it is not clear if The Venue will have a similar format. CultureMap could find no web presence.
Also on file with the TABC is a wine and beer retail permit for a concept called Sugar Pine at 8578 Research Blvd. The property once housed River City Donut & Coffee House and a Dunkin Donuts franchise. It’s unknown if Sugar Pine will also have a sweet tooth.
Uncle Billy’s Brewery has released a new coffee liqueur called Muddy Water. Unlike most caffeinated alcohols that use rum or neutral grain spirits as a base, the drink starts with Bourbon before being blended with cold-pressed coffee made from Austin Java beans. For now, Muddy Water is only available at Uncle Billy’s on Barton Spring Road, but it will soon be distributed throughout Central Texas.
Downtown restaurant She’s Not Here launched lunch service on December 17. The menu includes bento boxes available in four maki combinations, donburi rice bowls, and a chicken katsu sandwich with tarragon cabbage slaw on grilled Texas toast.