Quantcast
Photo by the Velox Standard

Editor’s note: In this special edition of our weekly food news roundup, we highlight five exciting restaurant openings — and reopenings — in the Austin food scene.

Dovetail Pizza
This all-star collaboration from the teams behind Rosen’s Bagels, Salt & Time, Swedish Hill, and Lenoir — officially opened on November 30 at 1816 S. First St. The pizza project is all about delivering quality ingredients and getting out of their way. That means classic pizzas like cheese, pepperoni, and meat (with pepperoni, sausage, mortadella, and copa), as well as more adventurous ones with corn and hot peppers. Visitors are invited to create their own pizzas, and can select a gluten-free crust, or veer away from pizza entirely for some comfort-food pasta dishes. Dovetail is open Wednesday through Sunday from 4 pm to midnight.

Homie Fries
The owners of grilled cheese project Burro Cheese Kitchen have committed to another perfect comfort food. Homie Fries, which some Austinites may recognize from a soft-launch at Austin City Limits Festival, will start serving up piles of browned potatoes smothered in cheese and other toppings on December 2 at its grand opening party from 4-7 pm. Anyone who brings “a homie” gets a buy-one-get-one deal, while everyone enjoys drinks by Ranch Rider and live music by Hunter Walkup. RSVP for free on Eventbrite. Homie Fries is located at 75 Rainey St. and is open four days a week: Thursday and Friday from 6 pm to 2:30 am, and weekends from noon to 2:30 am.

Daydreamer Coffee
If you’re not daydreaming in the coffee shop, it’s time to look at priorities. Honoring this worthy pastime, Daydreamer Coffee has opened a second Austin location on the corner of West 24th Street and Seton Avenue, with appropriately dreamy decor. The blue tiles, pink bar, and wicker seating brings beach resort vibes to the landlocked capital city. Visitors can look forward to a simple, but inclusive menu and bites from TacoDeli and Quacks, two local foodie spots with cult followings. It’s still just a daytime affair, open weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm, and weekends from 9 am to 3 pm.

Dog Haus Biergarten
Spending a weekend in the dog house is sounding pretty good right now. Dog Haus Biergarten, the California-based restaurant known for its gourmet hot dogs, is reopening its only brick-and-mortar Austin location in Four Points Centre at 7710 N FM 620, Suite 750. (There is also a ghost kitchen in town.) Daily specials from December 1-4 will kick off the new era with new owners, new daily specials, and a new happy hour menu featuring $5 pints, half-price wings, and family bundles among other deals. To celebrate, 15 percent of sales on December 1 and 2 will go to Keep Austin Fed, which works on alleviating food insecurity. Dog Haus is open every day from 11 am to 9 pm.

Via 313 Round Rock
Many Austinites cite Via 313 as their all-around favorite pizza spot, an unusual achievement for a deep-dish pizza restaurant. After a decade of converting new fans, Via 313 is expanding to an 11th location, in Round Rock (2111 N Interstate Highway, Suite 35), and it’s looking for a massive new team: 50-70 staff for front- and back-of-house positions. The restaurant’s locations are split between Austin, San Antonio, and Salt Lake City, and the Round Rock location is set to open on December 8. It will be open every day at 9 am, closing at 9 pm on Sundays, 10 pm Mondays through Thursdays, and 11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Other Austin dining news and notes

Suerte’s sister restaurant, Este, the newly opened Mexican restaurant dedicated to seafood and charcoal cooking, has launched a new happy hour for half off bottles of wine, oysters, and clams, plus 35 percent off seafood platters and towers. These deals take place from 5-6 pm every day. Reservations are available at esteatx.com.

Kitty Cohen's, the East Austin patio bar that practically carries the Jewish Austin cocktail experience, is inviting neighbors over to "Get Lit" for Hannukah. Throughout the month of December, the space will be decorated for the holiday while serving themed cocktails and bites with help from New Waterloo chef Amanda Rockman. Look out for menu items like “L’Chaim!” (Wild Turkey 101 Rye Whiskey, Amaro Averna, and chai syrup) and shortbread cookies.

Every year, Ballet Austin invites another round of notable Austinites onstage during The Nutcracker as Mother Ginger, the matronly figure in a gigantic, rolling dress that children run out of in some of the most well-known choreography in all of ballet. This year, one such guest star is Mason Ayer, CEO of Kerbey Lane Cafe. The restaurant will celebrate the casting with the "Mother Ginger Swirl" pancake, made with gingerbread and cinnamon. This pancake of the month will be available through December.

Texas French Bread

6 things to know in Austin food right now: Texas French Bread makes triumphant return

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.

Openings

Texas French Bread can’t stop making news, returning triumphantly from a large fire — with support from lots of very loyal customers — frequenting farmers markets, and finally setting up a new food trailer. The Airstream is open in the beautiful garden that the bakery previously rented at 2900 Rio Grande St., every day except Monday from 8 am to 2 pm. The kitchen opens at 10 am. All items are first-come, first-serve until the trailer runs out. Customers can get coffee, sack lunches, and the great bakes they’ve been missing. The company commented on Instagram that plans to rebuild are “still up in the air.”

Mini golf and snacks are a match made in nostalgia heaven, but Dirdie Birdie is really kicking that combo up a notch. The restaurant, full bar, and indoor mini golf course is opening on November 18, thanks especially to work by Chef Nic Yanes of very chic, relatively affordable restaurants Juniper and Uncle Nicky's. The adult-focused 12-hole course contains lots of references to Austin, and is “almost like an interactive art gallery,” according to a note from a publicist. Check it out at 10910 Domain Drive. Check the website for hours over Thanksgiving, and expect regular opening hours to resume the following week.

The Toasted Yolk Café arrived in the Austin area for the first time on November 14, at 14105 Ronald Reagan Blvd. in Cedar Park. This giant breakfast and lunch spot (at 5,178 square feet) serves all the classics and, of course, a lot of eggs, but it also offers a full bar, nine TVs, online check-in, and a to-go area. The restaurant donated 10 percent of its opening day sales to The Dog Alliance. Although it’s new in Austin, the chain already has 28 restaurants, mostly in Texas, and lists 16 more coming soon including one in Lakeway. Visit at 14105 Ronald Reagan Boulevard from 7 am to 3 pm every day. Medical professionals in uniform or with ID receive half off drinks from Monday to Thursday until 10 am.

Other news and notes

Geraldine’s, the bar and restaurant at Hotel Van Zandt, is turning seven and celebrating on November 17. To celebrate, it’s relaunching Birds, Bubbles + Blues, a Thursday-night event featuring the restaurant’s spicy fried chicken, sparkling wine specials, and Austin-based blues musicians. The Geraldine’s menu is all about upscale southern foods — often with an interesting twist — so this fried chicken shouldn’t be missed, ambience aside.

On November 20, Aviary Wine & Kitchen will spin out into a series of special Sunday services: Aviary will be manning an all-day happy hour (3-9 pm), and a rotating list of guest chefs will be stepping in to take over the kitchen for pop-ups. That means $2 off glasses of wine, $10 off bottles, and $2 off beer, while chefs from around Austin regale diners with special 4-6 menu items. First Elementary ATX visits, then Che Cazzo, Chef’s Kiss, Penang Shack, and Elementary ATX once more, finishing out the series on December 18. Walk-up service only.

As if we needed any more reasons to fall in love with Camp Lucy, the Hill Country event venue is hosting its 2nd annual Christmas Chili Cook-Off on December 4. The Sacred Oaks venue is an unreasonably beautiful place to be tasting professional and amateur chilis, with whiskey, an open bar with holiday cocktails, a holiday market, a s’mores table, live music, donations for Helping Hands Pantry, and more. All this happens from 3-6 pm. Tickets ($70 over age 21, $45 under) available on Eventbrite.

Photo courtesy of The Bird & Crown

7 things to know in Austin food right now: Hot chicken concept pops up for one night only

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.

Openings

Chef Laila Bazahm, who landed in Austin at Eberly after her own restaurant, Hawker 45, earned international acclaim, is branching out for a one-night-only pop-up on November 19 at Central Machine Works. The Bird & Crown serves hot chicken in three sandwiches inspired by Filipino, Korean, and Indian flavors. These sandwiches have the basics — namely crispy chicken and something to cool things down — with big twists in flavor like pickled papaya slaw, gochujang, and mint chutney. The pop-up opens at 4:30 pm and closes when it sells out.

It’s a lovely idea to spend more time with senior citizens, but not always at the top of everyone’s mind. Plus, is it weird to show up for a meal just because? Chef Stephan Pyles, a staggering 12-time James Beard Award nominee, is opening his next restaurant in a luxury senior living center: the Hacienda at Georgetown. Called Alma, the restaurant’s goal is to bring organic traffic across many age demographics to the community, closing the social gap many seniors feel with the rest of the community and adding real culinary value to the experience.

High-tech shuffleboard bar Electric Shuffle opens on Rainey Street on November 4, making Austin the second US location for this London venue. The proprietary technology makes scoring tournaments easy for large groups, and injects some novelty into an old tradition. This bar is designed to accommodate plans for the whole night, with upscale cocktails and bar food, including seven types of pizza and an elaborate brunch (charcuterie and a whole lot of prosecco). Book at electricshuffleusa.com.

Other news and notes

A “hyper-seasonal” menu hits Local Foods as fall progresses, with at least a dozen new options, many featuring nearby vendors. HiFi Mycology continues to take Austin by storm, this time with lion’s mane mushrooms in a “Fall Power Bowl.” The “Autumn Mac & Cheese” sounds like the ultimate comfort food with Mill-King Mornay and apples, and things take a German twist with Falcon Lake Farms pork schnitzel. To celebrate, take 25 percent off all food and beverage after 4 pm, from now until November 15. Online orders use code “dinner” at localfoodstexas.com.

Loro, the Asian smokehouse and bar by chef Tyson Cole and pitmaster Aaron Franklin, also added some permanent new menu items. Like many barbecue joints, Loro offers an à la carte list of meats, sandwiches, and sides, so these won’t really compete with most favorite orders. That includes Thai peanuts with nam tok and lime leaf, a smoked three bean salad with chilies, a key lime pie, and a caramelized onion-cheddar burger available for a discount during happy hour.

I thought the Christmas memes would start after Thanksgiving, but at 11:59 pm on Halloween, they were already here. Black Rock Coffee Bar is right on schedule, it seems, with a new roster of four holiday drinks, from a caramel and eggnog latte to a more surprising orange marmalade energy drink. Also on the list are a peppermint white mocha and a “Christmas cookie cold brew” with macadamia, vanilla foam, and holiday sprinkles. Heartwarming, but chilled.

November 8 is a big election day, with more than 50 races on some ballots. Voters can fuel up at Kerbey Lane Cafe — but only after voting — if they bring their “I Voted” sticker to claim a free pancake. (Those stickers are for reminding others to vote, so make sure yours is visible even after the pancake is gone.) Early voting ends on Friday, November 4, so any stickers saved from that round are valid to trade in as well. All locations are participating in the voting incentive.

Photo courtesy of the Ruderman Family Foundation

Original TV series Jewish Foodie explores Austin in 2 episodes

Howdy & L'chaim

It’s not exactly Brooklyn down here, but Texas has a few claims to Jewish food fame. An original TV series, Jewish Foodie, explores some of those Southwestern-Semitic phenomena in a two-episode arc dedicated just to Texas.

The 10-episode series by the Ruderman Family Foundation — with dual missions to advocate for disabled Jews and connect all Jewish community members with their Isreali cultural heritage — was made to be viewed bidirectionally. While American Jews learn about their roots, Israelis are encouraged to learn about less-discussed Jewish communities in the United States. Hosted by Israeli actor and comedian Ori Laizerouvich, it promises “a colorful tour from shakshuka to breakfast tacos to burgers.”

Both episodes are dedicated to Jewish life in Austin, one of which dedicates all its screen time to “Jewish Cowboy” Jonathan Hochman, an ex-professional bull rider who teaches Laizerouvich to make shakshuka-style huevos rancheros. Hochman makes a subtle shift to vegetable oil from olive oil to mellow the Mediterranean taste and make it work in a Tex-Mex style.

The other episode does more exploring, led by Rabbi Neil Blumofe, senior rabbi of Congregation Agudas Achim in Austin. He and Laizerouvich travel to Biderman’s Deli, known for its bagels and sandwiches, for breakfast tacos with pastrami served by owner Zach Biderman. Then they make perhaps the most obvious stop, JewBoy Burgers, for burgers topped with latkes, and a talk about stereotypes with owner Mo Pittle. He explains the somewhat controversial name as having more in line with the nickname “homeboy” than an anti-Semitic slur.

“‘This is my story. You don’t have to like it, but I ask that you respect my opinion and my story,’” Pittle says in the show. “‘Communication is everything. Food, culture — the more we talk, the better things will be.’”

The series makes a point — or several — to discuss the diversity of “American Jewry,” never more evident than in Austin, where its examples reflected not just Texas, but further cultural overlap with the East Coast and Mexico.

“I know that a lot of people, a lot of Israelis, don’t think about Austin other than maybe the music,” quotes the press release of Rabbi Blumofe. “But there’s a really thriving Jewish community here as well. … People ask me why I stay in Austin. It’s because it’s a really wonderful family and a great place to continue to grow and dream.”

The multilingual series, subtitled in English, also makes stops in Arkansas, New York, Tennessee, and Wyoming. It is available to watch for free on YouTube.

Phoebe's Diner/ Facebook

Austin restaurant sizzles as best diner in Texas, says food website

Delicious designation

Austin serves up a virtual buffet of diners that whip up breakfast, brunch, lunch, and even dinner. But only one of those diners can lay claim to being the best in Texas, at least in the estimation of one food website.

Lovefood.com just crowned the best diner in each state, and Phoebe’s Diner grabbed the Texas title. Phoebe’s operates two locations: the original (533 W. Oltorf St., which opened in 2017) and the just-west-of-downtown location (408 W. 11th St., which opened in 2021). A North Austin location is in the works at 2001-D Burnet Rd.

Phoebe’s is a 1950s-style diner that cooks up American classics with a modern Southern twist.

Phoebe’s “turns out classic diner fare and throws some good old Texas barbecue into the mix,” lovefood.com says. “Customers rave about the tender brisket, cooked in a smoker and served with eggs for the ultimate breakfast. Everything’s beautifully prepared, from the fried chicken and grits to the tastiest biscuits in sausage gravy.”

Austin’s Winebelly Group, led by Robert Tran, Eric Tran, and Quang Chau, owns Phoebe’s. The group’s Winebelly wine bar and tapas restaurant, at 519 W. Oltorf St. in South Austin, closed in January. Their Vietnamese-Asian restaurant, Hai Ky, remains open at 1931 E Oltorf St. Suite B in Southeast Austin.

Chef Camden Stuerzenberger, formerly of Bess Bistro, Fork & Vine, and Mighty Bird, oversees the Phoebe’s menu. He crafted the menu at Winebelly.

7 things to know in Austin food right now: Amy's Ice Creams rolls into Round Rock

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.

Openings

More Amy’s Ice Creams mean more chances at seeing the best rotating flavors, and now Round Rock gets to join in on the fun. A new location is planned for Round Rock in 2023 (proposed at 2120 B Mays Street), aiming for an April opening. It will be the first in the area, and the farthest north since the addition of the Cedar Park location. The Austin-based chain also has locations in Houston and San Antonio, and even pulls off nationwide shipping.

SXSE Food Co. (pronounced “sexy”) was Austin’s Laotian food destination at 4th Tap Brewing Cooperative until its host closed in July. Now the food truck is operating a new residency at Vacancy Brewing in South Austin. Chef Bob Somsith is keeping up his reservation-only chef’s table, offering off-menu dishes paired with beers by Vacancy. SXSE Food Co. is open Monday, Thursday, and Friday from 4 pm to 10 pm; Saturday 12 pm to 10 pm, and Sunday 12 pm to 7 pm.

Other news and notes

Just as Austin is not like all of Texas, a single barrel whiskey is not like every batch of that product — at least, theoretically. Test your taste buds at Jack Allen’s Kitchen, which maintains an extensive collection of single barrel selections, and recently became the first Central Texas restaurant to carry Still Austin’s new Single Barrel Bourbon. Partners in the Still Austin program sample and select their own barrels, so this is, literally, a unique experience.

Hispanic Heritage Month will be here on September 15, and like many Hispanic-owned businesses in Austin, The Salty is ready to represent. The donut shop already offers a horchata donut as part of the regular menu (topped with toasted cinnamon-meringue), but it’s adding two special items in all its locations. The flan pastelito is not a donut, but a puff pastry filled with flan custard, and the Cold Brew con Leche is, well … two great things in a cup.

Also celebrating Latinx Heritage Month — the version Yelp aligns with — the local ratings website picked a Latinx-owned “Ones to Watch” list, including Austin’s Stay While Coffee. The business only has eight reviews, but they all offer a glowing five stars. Reviewers mention alternative milks (and cereal milk!), the cuteness of the truly tiny store, and its affiliation with the Little Gay Shop, where it is located.

College football fans coming in from the west should consider a pit stop at Meridian 98, part of Sonesta Bee Cave. Anyone who visits wearing burnt orange on any game day during the regular season will receive a free Horns Up Margarita. Enjoy the drink on the patio, and then head out to the game. The rooftop lounge focuses on seasonal dishes with local ingredients sourced from Texas farms and fishermen.

The Muny Conservancy protects the nearly century-old Lions Municipal Golf Course, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its history as the first desegregated public golf course in the South. A fundraising tournament and party on September 9 makes use of the green space for a four-player scramble followed by a barbecue, a silent auction, and live music by Jonathan Tyler. For more information on schedules and tickets, visit themunyconservancy.com.

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Austin-based 3D printing company tapped by NASA to build on the moon

To infinity and beyond

The Austin-based builder of 3D-printed homes, ICON, is making one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind by signing a $57 million contract with NASA to build on the moon.

According to a release from ICON, the company will soon venture into a new frontier of space dimensions. The contract, announced on November 29, was awarded to the company under NASA's Phase III Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. This program allows ICON to use the $57 million award to build their Olympus system, which adds to previous construction done by both NASA and the Department of Defense for exploration of the moon and beyond.

"ICON’s Olympus system is intended to be a multi-purpose construction system primarily using local lunar and Martian resources as building materials to further the efforts of NASA as well as commercial organizations to establish a sustained lunar presence," the release stated.

The project will work in conjunction with NASA's Artemis program, which launched its first rocket in 50 years on November 15. ICON will work with the program to:

  • Use lunar regolith samples brought back from Apollo missions, in addition to other regolith simulants, to see their mechanical behavior in lunar gravity.
  • Bring advanced hardware and software into space through a lunar gravity simulation flight.
  • Create results to inform future lunar construction approaches for the space community.
  • Establish critical infrastructure necessary for a sustainable lunar economy and habitation.

“The final deliverable of this contract will be humanity’s first construction on another world, and that is going to be a pretty special achievement," said Jason Ballard, ICON co-founder and CEO.

"It's a construction system we call Olympus system that will allow us to use the local materials of the moon to build all the elements of infrastructure necessary for a lunar outpost and ultimately a moon base ... launch and landing pads, roadways, habitats, you name it, all the things on the moon," said Ballard.

He added that they hope to start building on the moon by 2026, starting with a launch and landing pad.

In addition to the grant, ICON was awarded a subcontract in 2021 to support NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate to create the world's first and only simulated 3D-printed Mars surface habitat. Called Mars Dune Alpha, it is located at NASA's Johnson Space Center and is assisting in long-duration science missions.

---

Read the full story and watch the video at KVUE.com.

Austin Pets Alive and Austin Animal Center launch $31 pet adoptions for the holidays

New home for the holidays

Two Austin organizations are looking to get local pets into their "furever" homes this holiday season. In a special December promotion, Austin Pets Alive! (APA) and Austin Animal Center are working to get as many animals out of the shelter as possible, by making all adoption fees a flat $31.

The promotion runs December 1-31. According to a release, APA's director of lifesaving operations, Stephanie Bilbro, sees this as a great opportunity to clear out the shelters and make a great impact heading into 2023.

“The holidays are a great time for the Austin community to come together and add to their families. We have so many precious kittens, puppies, cats, and dogs just waiting for their turn to find a family,” said Bilbro. “We hope this is a chance for any family who’s been looking to add a pet to theirs to do so right in the middle of the holiday season. We know Austin is in the upper echelon when it comes to animal welfare. We hope this promo sets us and AAC up for a successful end to 2022 and a fast start going into 2023.”

Both shelters are also seeking fosters and volunteers throughout the holiday season, for Austinites looking to help the shelters without making a long-term commitment.

APA has two locations, one at 1156 W. Cesar Chavez St., and one in Tarrytown (3118 Windsor Rd.). Both locations operate 12-6 pm daily, except Christmas Eve (12-4 pm), Christmas Day (closed), and New Year’s Eve (12-4 pm). The Austin Animal Center is located at 7201 Levander Loop and is open every day from 11 am-7 pm for adoptions. For holiday hours, AAC will be closing at 5 pm on December 23 and will be closed December 24-26.

'Famous' rooftop igloos return to Austin hot spot for the coolest experience this winter

Stay Cool

There aren’t so many winter wonderlands in Austin during the holiday season, but things get colder at higher elevations. The Hotel Van Zandt fourth-floor rooftop may not be high enough to change the weather, but visitors throughout December are invited to hang out in its self-proclaimed "famous" all-weather igloos, snacking on bites from inside and themed cocktails after the sun goes down.

Each private, six-seat igloo at the “South Pole” contains a Christmas tree, board and card games, festive records, and other cozy holiday decorations. It’s as private as Austin dining gets without completely breaking the bank, but the poolside mini-village of transparent igloos creates a warm feeling of togetherness. And in case it actually does get cold (a Christmas miracle!), the vinyl globes are heated.

It's not just a fun gimmick — as cute as the igloos are, Geraldine's is a great foodie destination. Visitors can expect (strong) drinks like the “Dandy Andes,” a minty chocolate mix of Grey Goose vodka, crème de cacao, crème de menthe, and matcha tea. “Santa on a Beach” combines tropical flavors with cinnamon, and other drinks include unusual ingredients like Chartreuse whipped cream, pistachio, and chocolate mole bitters.

Geraldine’s menu focuses on classic Southern cuisine without getting weighed down by tradition; that means a roster of semi-adventurous gourmet comfort foods, like mole birria short ribs, smoked carrots, and salty Brussels sprouts with serranos and mint. Shareables are a good idea, since the igloos are intimate (read: not especially convenient unless you like balancing a dinner plate on the couch).

Two rounds of two-hour seating will be available every night, and reservations will go very fast. As of December 5, there are only a few dates left. Reservations ($100 upfront) entail a $200 minimum on food and beverage, plus a 20 percent service charge. Book on Eventbrite.