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7 things to know in Austin food right now: 2 healthy fast casual chains make a home in Mueller
Update: A previous version of this story said Ike's Love & Sandwiches would host a grand opening on March 3. The company has changed the date of the event to March 9. It is already open to the public.
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.
We’ll always need more love and more sandwiches, so it’s good news that Ike’s Love & Sandwiches has opened a fifth Austin-area location, this time in the Mueller neighborhood at 1201 Barbara Jordan Boulevard #1210. This sandwich chain has an unbelievably long menu, especially noted for its many vegetarian, halal, and gluten-free options. Two sandwiches will be available exclusively at this new location: the “Mueller, Mueller” with chicken fried steak, Ike's Creamy Orange Buffalo Sauce, and cheddar cheese; and the “Sunny Came Home,” a vegetarian version with vegan fried chicken. There will be a grand opening celebration starting at 10 am on March 9, with $7.97 sandwiches for rewards members.
Sweetgreen, a staple counter service restaurant for Austinites who both love and tolerate salad, is opening a fourth location in the Mueller neighborhood "soon." The business started with three college students who wanted something accessible, but healthy, and the brand is still popular among the same demographic. The menu combines leafy greens, grains, fruit, proteins, starches, and more well-balanced spreads — not that a cheeseburger can't also do it, but sometimes a bowl is best. The brand also voices a commitment to animal welfare and becoming carbon neutral by 2027. The location is part of the new development in the Mueller neighborhood, across from the park amphitheater.
Other news and notes
Este, known for coastal Mexican cuisine, is inviting in some Filipino influence for a “Panaderia” morning pop-up on February 24 from 8-11 am. Pastry chef Derrick Flynn and his team are serving up pan de ube, beef asado siopao, leche flan croissant, and more. This takes place in Este’s event space, Bar Toti, and an Instagram post has shown that the inaugural bake sale will be popular, so interested shoppers should arrive early.
One of Austin’s longest-running top restaurants, La Condesa, is celebrating its 14th birthday. Try Hard Coffee owner Raechel Hurd was part of the Condesa pastry team before opening the coffee and record shop, so she’s returning with a live vinyl DJ, coffee specials, and cocktails. Chef Rick Lopez contributes brunch dishes like conchas, breakfast tortas, and chilaquiles. The celebration on February 25 and 26, from 11 am to 2 pm, benefits The Perez Family Farm: El Diamante in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Reserve at lacondesa.com.
If your dream is to leave the regular 9-to-5 for a more beer-heavy lifestyle, Meanwhile Brewing is hosting a job fair in the hopes to “diversify the Texas craft brewing industry,” says a release. On March 1 from 10 am to 1 pm, meet industry professionals and members of Texas Craft Brewers Guild, the event organizer. Some of the listed opportunities include general managers, marketing professionals, data analysts, drivers, and packing technicians. RSVP at texascraftbrewersguild.org.
The historicDriskill hotel is hosting its grand Texas Independence Day festivities on March 2 from 4-7 pm. The food and drinks are just part of it (including two rescued longhorns, but we're going to stay focused): sparkling water courtesy of Rambler Sparkling Water, complementary tastings by Independence Brewing, William Chris Vineyards, and Desert Door Texas Sotol (hailing from Driftwood), brisket slides or grapefruit salad by Mark Dayanandan, lots of dessert bites by pastry chef Kristen Groth, plus specials at 1886 Cafe & Bakery like Texas chili and Texas "caviar" (bean salad).
Hank's Austin, a sunny Southern restaurant up in Northeast Austin, knows all about the Tuesday slump. It’s bringing some life back to the weekday by offering half-off deals on all bottles of wine every Tuesday going forward, recommending the Valmorena Barbera D'Asti and the Antinori Il Bruciato Super Tuscan. It’s also celebrating its fifth anniversary on April 15 from 10 am to 3 pm with a bounce house, cotton candy, and donations to the Austin Humane Society.