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5 things to know in Austin food right now: Funky Tex-Mex chain heats up the ’burbs
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.
The gospel of a long-loved Austin Tex-Mex chain continues to spread, this time to a nearby suburb that’s mushrooming in growth. According to a state filing and a report from the San Antonio Business Journal, Chuy’s is planning to open a restaurant location in New Braunfels — smack in between its seven Austin-area locations and its four in San Antonio. The whole enchilada is expected to cost $2.1 million, and the 6,630-square-foot restaurant will be located at the bustling intersection of I-35 and FM 306. It will represent the 40-year-old restaurant chain’s first location in Comal County. Construction is expected to begin in late April and be completed by November 2022.
A meat-tastic Plano-based biz touting itself as a fast-casual “better burger” franchise is beefing up its locations in Texas, currently scouting real estate in Austin, as well as Waco, San Antonio, and Houston. According to a report from RestaurantNews.com, Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes aims to open 15 Austin locations in the coming years, as well as an additional three in Waco, 10 in San Antonio, and 15 in Houston. The chain, which hawks made-to-order burgers (with a variety of buns and patties, including vegan options), hand-cut fries, and real ice cream shakes, currently has 90 locations throughout the country. Mooyah is further targeting its home state because of the major growth Texas has experienced of late, with Mike Sebazco, Mooyah’s executive vice president of operations and development noting, “Texas has the ninth-largest GDP in the world and is only expected to grow in the future. It makes perfect sense for Mooyah to ride this wave and expand its presence to meet the demand.” Stay tuned for more juicy details.
In other burger news, it appears Austin-based Hopdoddy, known for its hot buns and cold beer, is the latest local chain with plans to expand in the suburb of Kyle, following other favorites like Z’Tejas, P. Terry’s, Costco, and Dutch Bros Coffee. The Austin Business Journal reports the burger joint is in the midst of a major expansion after some shake-ups caused by the pandemic. Hopdoddy plans to grow the brand nationally and augment its current restaurants in Texas, California, Arizona, Colorado, and Tennessee, with CEO Jeff Chandler telling the ABJ that Kyle might be next on its expansion list “because it is a growing commuter town.” The city’s new incentive plan targeting restaurants probably sweetens the deal.
Other news and notes
After a pandemic shutdown then a restart in April, Queer Eye’s sixth season is filming in Austin, and one local eatery recently got a visit from one of the guys, Antoni Porowski. The expert foodie popped by the Zilker location of Salt Traders Coastal Cooking, whipped up some gumbo in the restaurant’s kitchen, and happily posed for some photos with Salt Traders’ culinary director Chris Ten Eyck and director of operations Parker Richardson. The local restaurant will appear in one of the upcoming episodes of Queer Eye. We’re guessing there will be a viewing party at the restaurant. If you can’t wait that long to get a Salt Traders fix, swing by for the eatery’s new brunch service, which starts January 8 and features $1 Gulf oysters, $18 bottles of bubbly, and a bunch of new brunch dishes.
When it comes to Austin’s best breweries, there is an intoxicating number of local beer makers that bubble to mind. But according to Hop Culture, which provides independent craft-beer journalism, one of the best is Austin’s Hold Out Brewing. The downtown brewer, which opened in March 2020, was named one of Hop Culture’s 12 Best Breweries of 2021, with the publication noting, “Hold Out has become one of the best taprooms in town, with a crazy-talented team on the beer side as well as the kitchen side. … Hold Out is keeping Austin on its weird toes and pushing the envelope of quality forward.” Cheers to that!