News You Can Eat
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.
Shake Shack, the famous fast-casual burger chain, is opening the Greater Austin area's first drive-through on September 28. Although much of the appeal of Shake Shack is the not-quite-fast-food atmosphere, sometimes you just need a burger quickly — thankfully, both dine-in and drive-through experiences will be offered at this location. The "first wave" of guests on opening day at 1402 N. Interstate Hwy. 35 will receive branded keychains and matchbooks. The company will also donate $1 for every sandwich sold at the location that day to local high school career exploration group Ladders for Leaders.
Austin loves JuiceLand, its homegrown juice and smoothie staple that's been around for more than 20 years and just opened its 35th Texas location. The new location on Menchaca Road and Slaughter Lane brings the chain deeper than ever into far South Austin (1807 W. Slaughter Ln.) and neighbor's the company's corporate office. Like any other location, the menu includes lots of fruits, veggies, and supplements, making it good both for a tasty refreshment and an easy meal replacement on a busy day.
ICYMI: Uchi spin-off Uchibāannounced its opening date: October 6. While Uchi focuses on sushi, this Dallas-born concept will be all about the bar and more casual snacks — things like bao, dumplings, and yakitori. The bar will offer some unique cocktail and spirits experiences that are like omakase for delicious drinks. Meanwhile, an aging Austin staple of 15 years, Circle Brewing, is in its final hours as it permanently closes, and a new Hill Country wine tasting room by Invention Vineyards may be a consolation prize for those willing to make the drive.
Other news and notes
Austinites have been excited about Elementary, the pop-up-turned-culinary-playground, since its opening in July. Now it's adding even more whimsy via a new brunch service. Some food highlights include the "Furikake Grown Up PB & J" on sourdough toast, augmented with tahini mascarpone, honey, and sesame, and the "Frosted Flake White Russian" with oat-infused Tito's Cereal Milk and...corn, somehow. Brunch service kicks off this weekend, September 23-24, from 10 am to 3 pm. Reserve on Resy.
Two big names in the Austin food scene — Sarah McIntosh of Épicerie and Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue — have joined forces for one fatty treat. (Don't worry, that's where all the flavor comes from.) The limited-edition brisket-filled croissant is garnished with candied jalapeños, cream cheese, and watermelon rind relish for a decadent snack that has all the elements of a well-balanced sandwich. They'll be for sale at Épicerie until mid-October.
If Negroni are sbagliato, we don't want to be right. The classic drink, most commonly made with Campari, is in the spotlight until September 24 as part of "Negroni Week," a worldwide charity campaign launched a decade ago by the spirit company and Imbibe Magazine. In Austin, participating bitter-but-citrusy drinks can be found at Eberly (in three variations including sour and tequila twists), Kalimotxo (featuring salted vanilla), Uncle Nicky's (one of Austin's most aperitivo-friendly locales), Otoko (more news from them up next), and more.
Otoko and Watertrade, the luxe omakase and bar combo at the South Congress Hotel, have announced their fall "Dram Sessions." No, we're not talking about the viral rapper, but this is "capers on a square plate" energy. These small whisky pours ("drams," to Scots) will educate tasters via different distilleries around the world, and they'll come with paired bites and optional caviar to elevate the already fancy experience. Nikka Whisky gets the spotlight first on September 24. Book as early as possible on Tock.