News You Can Eat
Friendsgiving with Aaron Franklin and Meanwhile's first bottled brew top Austin food news
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.
Openings and closings
It's never long before chef Nic Yanes (Juniper) or Travis Tober (Nickel City) start up a new project. This time, they're joining forces to bring a "New York-style neighborhood tavern" called Murray’s Tavern. It's taking the East Austin place (2316 Webberville Rd.) of Gourmands Neighborhood Pub, which closed in December of 2022; The new tavern is expected to open in December of 2023. The cocktails take center stage at Murray's — named after Tober's grandmother, who taught him at least one of the drinks on the menu — but there will also be some Italian or Italian-adjacent dishes like pancetta with corn chowder and chicken francese. The 50 foot bar is one of the longest in town, according to a release.
ICYMI: An innovative new restaurant space is opening on November 15, but this isn't just about one new restaurant. Playground ATX will guide a rotating list of new restaurant concepts, one at a time, through the early stages of opening so that they can hopefully later flourish on their own. First up is a new effort by the owners of the once popular, now-closed Fil 'n Viet food truck.
Other news and notes
One of Austin's other favorite breweries, Lazarus Brewing Co., is celebrating the first anniversary of its Airport Boulevard location with a pirate-themed party on November 11. Aside from that always being a fun idea, the theme ties in with the return of Lazarus' award-winning rice lager, "Black Pearl," and the installation of a new pirate ship playscape in the yard. There will be merch, food specials, and activities for kids from 2-4 pm. Then Cake cover band Icing Covers Cake takes the stage from 7-8:30 pm.
Prolific cookbook writer and New York Times columnist Melissa Clark is paying Austin a visit on November 13 to talk about leftovers in anticipation of the upcoming holiday excess. She'll give two demos at noon and 1 pm at Franklin Barbecue — which is famous for never ending the day with leftovers — to teach guests how to make "fluffy rolls." They'll also take home sandwiches made with Franklin's smoked turkey. RSVP at nytimes.com.
If you've been drinking Meanwhile Brewing Co.'s offerings out of a humble can, get ready for a shiny new experience. The brewery is launching its first-ever bottled option: a very fancy bourbon barrel-aged Mexican hot chocolate stout called "Left-Handed Hummingbird." The 12.5 percent ABV concoction certainly won't be a light sipper, but it's getting the brewery into the holiday spirit along with tons of other seasonal releases: six beers, six cocktails, two spritzes, three revamped classics, and...a pasta dish? Those will all come out on November 15; the "Left-Handed Hummingbird" comes out on November 22.
There's no shortage of Austinites who wish to be Pitmaster Aaron Franklin's friend — and they're all invited to his "Franklin and Friends Friendsgiving" on November 16 (if they have $195 to spare). This fundraiser for the Texas Food & Wine Alliance will bring together Michael Fojtasek (Olamaie and Maie Day), Fiore Tedesco (L'Oca d'Oro), Sarah McIntosh (Épicerie), Jakub Czyszczon (Fairmont Austin), Rebecca Masson (Fluff Bake Bar in Houston), Jessica Maher (Lenoir), and Robert Bjorn Taylor (Uptown Sports Club) along with Franklin to prepare a holiday feast complete with cocktails and take-home treats. Guests can play lawn games, get boot fittings, and participate in a wine auction. Tickets are available via Eventbrite.
The holidays have some people realizing they're not so prepared to be a great host, and Lenoir is ready to step in. The neighborhood restaurant is bringing back its Camp Lenoir series, teaching home chefs how to cook and choose tasty pairings just in time for the holiday season. The first event, led by Erika Wong on November 16, will walk guests through their options for "Thanksgiving wines." There are four classes scheduled after that on December 3 and 17, and January 14 and 28. Reserve ($55) a spot on Resy.