Photo courtesy of Wanderlust Wine Co.

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.


It's still early — more specifically, it's a soft launch — but Wanderlust Wine Co. is now operating its third location, this time at 1601 Barton Springs Rd. The two existing locations are known for commitment to the bit, through events and popups, as well as a fun wine tasting system that works on visitor-operated tap. The new location partners with Tacos TJ, which offers Tijuana-style birria tacos, and Vision Coffee, which serves up adaptogens in its brews. (Think helpful herbs and mushrooms.) During this stage of opening, this Wanderlust location operates Tuesday through Saturday from 8 am to 10 pm, and Sunday from 8 am - 6 pm.

OneTaco (stylized ONETACO.) is certainly more than just one, and it's growing. A new location at 5425 Burnet Rd. #110 makes eight of the fast-casual restaurants. The simple menu offers breakfast and street-style tacos with a few twists here and there, but an emphasis on authenticity since the restaurant's inception in 2009 as a food truck. A grand opening event on April 30 runs from noon to 3 pm with margaritas, face painting, a DJ, and a giveaway: the "Golden Ticket Taco" promises free tacos for a year. The location will donate 15 percent of proceeds from the opening week to the 4ATX Foundation.

Other news and notes

Rules & Regs at Fairmont Austin is changing its rules with a new happy hour (Thursday to Sunday, 6-8 pm) for deals on Modelo ($5), margaritas ($8), and suadero or carnitas tacos ($10). It also added two cocktails to the lineup: "The 7th Four" daiquiri sampling tower presents four cocktails — strawberry, mango, banana, and lime — on an Instagrammable stand, and the ‘Haily Mary’ Bloody Mary uses Grey Goose as a canvas for a guest to choose the perfect toppings. Reserve on OpenTable (or just walk in).

Bijan Mustardson, the alias of Longhorns running back Bijan Robinson in the form of a condiment for sale, is celebrating the upcoming NFL draft at Koko's Bavarian with a watch party on April 27. There will be drinks, snacks, "custom swag, and autographed gear," while the draft plays alongside a live performance by Thebrosfresh. Students get in free with a school ID, and further proceeds go toward Tankproof, a national swim lessons nonprofit. Tickets (starting at $10) available on Eventbrite.

The 2023 round of University of Texas graduates are about to embark on their post-grad lives (or maybe stick around the best grad school in Texas). To send them off, Cookie Rich and UT alum Lorin Peters collaborated to make a burnt orange treat (in color, not flavor) with a "dollop of salted caramel," perfect for a low-key gift ($39). Zombie Taco, the restaurant at The Moxy hotel, is also congratulating folks in a cap and gown on May 6 with buy-one-get-one tacos all day.

Zanzibar, a tiki bar on the rooftop of the Austin Marriott Downtown is turning up the tiki knob with a rotating cocktail series called Tiki Tuesdays. Once a month on a Tuesday, a different bartender will present a speciality cocktail in the tiki tradition. There's no one flavor profile to stick to, so some drinks may be sweet, spicy, or entirely unique, but they're all inspired by tropical flavors. Zanzibar also has a meals and snacks menu to work through on these repeat visits as new cocktails come out.

Austinites curious about growing food in their semi-urban home can get a closer look at the food system at Urban Roots' annual Tour de Farm. The organization says it's "the only farm-based youth leadership organization in Austin," and operates two farms with paid learning opportunities. During the May 3 event at Meanwhile Brewing, the organization will highlight some of its youth participants' ideas alongside cooking by Chef Damian Rockway of Distant Relatives. Tickets ($175) available at betterunite.com.

Maie Day, the steakhouse offshoot of southern restaurant Olamaie, is celebrating its first birthday with a party on May 4. Visitors can purchase a wristband ($35) to sample bites by the restaurant and access the bar all night through a sort of pre-existing afterparty; The South Congress hotel, Maie Day's home, hosts a monthly event called First Thursday that brings together local businesses and up-and-coming artists for a community get together. Birthday visitors get early access to First Thursday. Tickets available on Tock.

Photo couresty of Bar Toti

5 things to know in Austin food right now: New Mexican restaurant opens garden bar outpost

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.


Recent East Austin darlingEste, known for Mexican seafood and charcoal cooking, is opening up a garden bar to share its spotlight called Bar Toti. The menu is "inspired by the bar cultures of Spain, France, and Mexico," according to a release, including an unexpected "smashburger" by Chef Fermín Núñez, a current Tastemaker Awards nominee. Visitors can snack on other à la carte bar snacks like marinated olives, seasoned nuts, mussels, and Basque cake. Only 750 square feet, the side venue can accommodate 75 standing guests. Bar Toti opens on April 21 and operates Fridays and Saturdays from 5 pm to midnight.

Two openings at The Shops at Arbor Walk this April have expanded the food options at the North Austin outdoor mall. Casa Do Brasil, an upscale churrascaria (Brazilian steakhouse), brings fire-roasted meats straight to diners' tables alongside a salad bar, and opened on April 14. Teaspoon, which opened on April 1, brings teas, boba, coffee, and creative juice or milk mixes from the chain's Los Altos, California, origin. The Shops at Arbor Walk are located at 10515 N Mopac Expy.

Other news and notes

Topo Chico, the sparkling mineral water worthy of the cult obsession it's garnered since 1895, is branching out from its classic-but-safe flavor profiles with a whole new line called Topo Chico Sabores, launching on April 24. The three flavors come in cans containing real fruit juice and herbal extracts with no added sugars: blueberry with hibiscus, tangerine with ginger, and lime with mint. The new line will only be available in five regions: Texas, Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and New York.

Coffee drinkers who have found themselves wishing for a little more spice will be pleased to hear about Roasty Buds, a new Austin coffee brand since 2022 that just launched new flavors — and maybe even a little intimidated. Existing flavors include hatch chile, ghost pepper, and Carolina reaper, plus some non-spicy roasts. Joining the roster are Texas BBQ and cherry glaze BBQ, both smoky flavors, but the latter takes on more sweetness. Bags can be purchased at roastybuds.com.

Pasta Bar, the semi-Italian cousin of omakase restaurant Sushi by Scratch Restaurants, is not so new to Austin anymore as it celebrates its first anniversary in town. The 10-person chef's table has drawn much attention for its luxury plating and pricing, but the experience is surprisingly laid back, especially with wine pairing. A new spring menu features beautiful al dente cavatelli with Louisiana crawfish and nasturtium (an edible flower), a knockout Parisian gnocchi with bone marrow, and a Texas wagyu ribeye with acorn flour pasta. Reserve ($195) on Tock.

Photo courtesy of Austin Parks Foundation

Austin Parks Foundation rounds up volunteers for seasonal outdoor workday with local perks

Have beer, will garden

As signs of spring emerge this month, so do the Austinites who traveled this winter, visited new bars, hunkered down during storms, and did basically anything other than soak in the great outdoors within city bounds. Especially after all the fallen tree limbs during the most recent winter storm, Austin’s parks could use some revitalizing as people start visiting again.

It’s My Park Day, a seasonal volunteer event by the Austin Parks Foundation, organizes civilian forces to make sure parks across the city are looking and feeling their best, while getting those workers more engaged with the community. Great as a giveback opportunity, a social horizon-broadener, or even just a gentle exercise in a relaxing environment, these jobs on March 4 also come with incentives from local businesses: free beers, coffees, or milkshakes.

“It’s My Park Day’s Spring edition has shown to be one of Austin's most important volunteer work days of the year,” said Austin Parks Foundation CEO Colin Wallis in a press release. “We continue to be impressed with what a single day of volunteer labor can do for our parks and green spaces. Following events like February’s winter storm, our community's commitment to working alongside their neighbors and giving back to their green spaces is invaluable to our city. As an organization, we are able to continue providing high-quality volunteer experiences like this one because of the dedicated community members who participate every year.”

More than 80 jobs range from picking up trash, to spreading mulch, to beautifying and planting gardens. An interactive list on the project website shows which engagements are available, how many volunteers have signed up, and how many are left. Most are large projects with a capacity for 20 or more workers, and many are still open to a lot more help as of Friday, March 3. The list also makes it easy to choose a project by location, either close to home or at a location with personal significance like a school or cemetery.

The following local businesses are offering treats when a volunteer brings in their volunteer T-shirt:

  • Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden (free draft pour)
  • Blue Owl Brewing (50 percent off a classic tasting)
  • Central Machine Works (free beer voucher)
  • Epoch Coffee (free coffee or cold brew at any Austin location)
  • Houndstooth Coffee (free hot or iced coffee at any Austin location)
  • Independence Brewing Co. (offer pending)
  • Oskar Blues Brewing ($2 off a pint)
  • P. Terry’s (free milkshake at any Austin location)
  • Revival Coffee (50 percent off a canned beer, cold brew, or drip coffee)
  • Spokesman (free drip coffee, cold brew, or gatorade at the South and Highland locations)
  • Vacancy Brewing (free pint)
  • Zilker Brewing (discounted Parks & Rec Ale)

The semi-annual citywide work day averages $650,000 worth of volunteer labor each cycle. It does not just make the parks more comfortable; it also preserves funds for more specialist work. People who cannot donate time (or would simply like to deepen their commitment) can also donate funds. A donation of at least $30 gets a (surprisingly stylish) spring volunteer shirt as a thank-you.

Browse the projects and register ASAP at givepulse.com.

Photo by Taylor Prinsen Photography

Austin peeks inside a chic convenience store from Chicago, plus more top stories

hot headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. Checking out Austin's first Foxtrot, the Chicago-based market with a cult following. Started in Chicago, Foxtrot's entry into the Austin market is actually a full-circle moment for the brand.

2. 545-acre development in Northwest Austin suburb gets county approval. Luxury real estate developer Areté Collective received approval from Burnet County for preliminary development plans for about 545 acres in Spicewood.

3. Historic Austin bakery and coffee shop named a 2023 James Beard American Classic. Joe’s Bakery & Coffee Shop is owned by the Avila family, which the announcement praised for serving "Austin’s quickly gentrifying East Austin since 1935."

4. Climbing gym with the highest walls in the Southwest brings the Austin scene to new heights. Mesa Rim Climbing Center, a massive, 50,000-square foot facility with 55-foot climbing walls, opens on March 7.

5. Texas legends gather in Austin to receive the state's highest arts award. The biennial Texas Medal of Arts ceremony recognizes extraordinary achievements in the arts, with recipients in a wide range of mediums.

Photo courtesy of Capitol Café

5 things to know in Austin food right now: Former state representative opens café near Capitol

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.


Everything is political, including the new Capitol Café, a block from the Texas Capitol at 1001 Congress Avenue, Suite 180. This coffee, beer, wine, and snacks bar aims to serve people coming and going from the government building. Former Texas State Representative Dan Huberty (R) and his daughter launched the cafe based on the politician's ideas while passing the vacant space during his period in office. Huberty's father was also involved as an investor, along with State Rep. Jim Keffer (R) and others. Capitol Café, decorated with historical Texan items, opens February 3. It operates Monday through Saturday from 8 am to 6 pm. More information on Instagram.

Other news and notes

Les Dames d'Escoffier, an international organization that supports women in culinary and hospitality careers, is in the middle of the application process for its LDEI Legacy Award. This opportunity connects women (with at least four years of culinary industry experience) with other professionals already in the organization for one-on-one mentoring. Topics are divided by city; The Austin mentorship focuses on supply chain management. Nominations are open now and close March 17. Nominate someone at ldei.org.

The Salty Donut, one of Austin's most gourmet donut shops with an immaculate interior, has already mastered its craft; It's time to branch out. On February 6, it will launch a menu expansion with other baked goods that, unlike past non-donut specials, are here to stay. That includes a blueberry "pop tart," a brown butter chocolate chip cookie, and a savory layered ham and cheese roll with herbs and mustard. From the launch until February 10, all online and app orders will receive buy-one-get-one deals on baked goods. Order at saltydonut.com.

There are lots of opportunities to celebrate the Lunar New Year in Austin, but perhaps none as comprehensive as the annual celebration by Chinatown Center, which returns for the first time in three years with more than 25 local food and shopping vendors. There will also be traditional dancing, fireworks, martial arts, and international singers. A list of attractions at the free, family-friendly celebration is available at chinatownaustin.com.

Independence Brewing is kicking off "Carnival Season" with a beer launch. Geisterzug Kölsch is named for the "Ghost Train" that snakes through the German city of Cologne during its famous week of Carnival celebrations. Minor Mishap Marching Band will help get the party going at 3 pm, and the first 100 guests are invited to participate for free in the carnival mask crafting table from 2-5 pm. The brewery also scheduled a 5k beer run for the same day from 11 am to 1 pm. RSVP for each on Eventbrite.

Photo by Rick Cortez Photography

7 things to know in Austin food right now: Upscale bowling alley rolls into Cedar Park

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.


Sometimes it feels like Austinites always have to be doing something, and that's what makes this town beautiful. In the spirit of not taking drinks sitting down, Spare Birdie Public House is rolling into Cedar Park (1400 Discovery Blvd) for a soft opening on February 1, and a grand opening on February 20. A bit like an upscale Top Golf or neighborhood bowling alley with an incredibly chic interior, the bar and restaurant serves its "chef-driven" food among bowling lanes, augmented reality and indoor golf setups, billiard tables, yard games, and more. The team that started Goodfolks in Georgetown are bowling over alley cliches like hotdogs and fries with lamb meatballs, grilled oysters, and Wagyu sliders.

The Belterra Plaza out in Dripping Springs is collecting new restaurants left and right, making itself a fast burger destination. Mighty Fine Burgers opened its seventh location — the first that is freestanding — in a huge 4,000-square-foot space at 165 Hargraves Drive, Suite T100. The simple menu sticks to the tried-and-true with The Classic Texas Burger, crinkle fries, onion rings, and Blue Bell milkshakes. In January, monthly specials shake up those base elements: a pimento cheese burger and a coconut cream pie shake. The new location is the first in Dripping Springs.

Theres been some buzz about burgers at the Buzz Mill recently, with the very recent departure of the vegan food truck Plow Burger. The buns were barely cold before the Buzz Mill opened its own burger truck, some vegan and some not. The grand opening coincided with the bar and coffee venue's tenth anniversary, on January 20. These are not beefy burgers; the thin patties leave plenty of room for toppings, and there are lots of other snacks to fill up on, like loaded fries, meatless chicken nuggets, and extra patties. The truck is open daily from 11 am to midnight.

Other News and Notes

Chefs Michael Fojtasek and Amanda Turner, of Austin's celebrated Southern restaurant Olamaie, are throwing a new chef series in the fryer on January 31, emphasizing Southern cooking styles while utilizing Texan ingredients. "Southern Exposure" is scheduled for the last Tuesday of every month, and there are three on the calendar already. Chef Turner, a James Beard semi-finalist and CultureMap's reigning rising star chef of the year, is taking the lead while collaborating with Fojtasek. Tickets ($100) available at olamaieaustin.com, benefitting the Jeremiah Program.

Nothing gold can stay, and unfortunately that means Loro's golden ramen noodles are ephemeral on the menu. For the month of February, the "Asian smokehouse" is offering two types of ramen. Both serve up a unique Balinese curry broth, one with brisket and one with grilled prawns. These winter items pair also include ajitama egg, green onion, and sesame, as the more traditional elements. Loro does not accept reservations.

If you can't afford rent in Austin, have you tried, like, not buying coffee? That might work if you were used to Proud Mary Coffee Roasters, an Australian company with an Austin cafe offering just 22 super-luxe cups of $150 joe here and Portland, Oregon. It seems like it's worth the price, given its award-winning flavor and very expensive source beans, but in case that's still not in your budget, a golden ticket giveaway may cover it. Purchase a Hartmann presale tin ($48) online on January 26 to enter.

The Bloody Mary Festival is now almost two weeks away, so people who love drinking their tomatoes should consider snatching up a ticket soon (although ticket sales will technically be open until the day of the event, if they last). On February 11 from 10:30 am to 6 pm, bartenders are pulling out all the stops, or at least all the toppings. Attendees will vote for participating local bars to choose the best cocktail. Tickets (starting at $49.50) available at thebloodymaryfest.com.

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Austin earned top 10 rank for highest number of build-to-rent homes last year


With the increasing demand for housing and rising popularity of constructing homes for rent, Austin has earned a top 10 position in a new analysis of American metro areas with the highest number of single-family rentals built for all of 2022.

A total of 324 build-to-rent homes were completed in Austin in 2022, which is a 10-year high, according to the study by RentCafe. The newest findings put the Texas Capital three places higher than in 2021, when the city ranked No. 13 in the nation.

"Austin was named the second fastest growing city in the U.S. by the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise," the study's author wrote. "That came after the city recorded a 4.3 percent rise in its GDP in 2022 to $216 billion, following the Bay Area."

The study analyzed build-to-rent data from RentCafe's sister site, Yardi Matrix, for communities that had at least 50 single-family rental units.

Dallas nailed the rankings this year by earning the top spot with nearly 2,800 single-family rental units completed last year. Phoenix (which outpaced Dallas last year) ranked No. 2 with only 1,527 units completed. After Phoenix, single-family rentals in other American metro areas only went into the triple digits, with Atlanta, Georgia (No. 3) at 808, Greenville, South Carolina (No. 4) at 584, and Charlotte, North Carolina rounding out the top five with 475 units completed.

The metro areas that complete the top 10 for the most build-to-rent homes in 2022 include:

  • No. 6 – Detroit, Michigan
  • No. 7 – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • No. 8 – Panama City, Florida
  • No. 9 – Charleston, South Carolina
  • No. 10 – Austin, Texas

Austin had the seventh highest number of single-family rentals completed in the country within the last five years, totaling 1,096 units. The Texas cities that ranked higher were Dallas (No. 2) and Houston (No. 4). San Antonio ranked below Austin at No. 8. Phoenix took the No. 1 spot with over 6,000 build-to-rent homes completed in the same time period.

The study's findings support a growing demand for flexibility among renters who may not want the high cost and maintenance associated with home ownership, RentCafe says.

“More and more people are deciding they want the best of both worlds: the flexible lifestyle of the renter, with no maintenance commitments and costs, and the comfort and privacy offered by living in a house,” the study’s author wrote. “In this case, build-to-rent homes check all of the boxes, while high home prices and rising interest rates make them even more appealing.”

The number of single-family rentals is expected to continue rising dramatically in 2023. Currently, 945 units are under construction in Austin. Overall, there are 44,700 build-to-rent homes being built this year throughout the nation; three times more than the number of completed homes in all of 2022, the study says.

Shuttered Salvation Army shelter in downtown Austin will get new life

Salvation Army

When the Salvation Army shelter on East Eighth Street shut its doors back in April, Austin City Council member Zohaib "Zo" Qadri (District 9) said it was unfortunate to see as an Austin resident and leader.

"The Salvation Army kind of abruptly stated that they were pulling out without much of a notice to the residents of the shelter in the district – a shelter that largely houses or housed women and children," Qadri said. "So, you know, that was a huge disappointment for us."

Now the City of Austin has reached a compromise and solution that Qadri believes will help those experiencing homelessness. The Austin City Council on Thursday, June 8, approved a 12-month lease agreement for the former Salvation Army shelter that will cost more than $1 million.

The site will be operated by California-based nonprofit Urban Alchemy, which also provides services at the ARCH, or the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless. The council also approved a contract for Urban Alchemy to add more funding, extend the ARCH program and run the former Salvation Army shelter, providing 150 beds.

Urban Alchemy will get more than $4 million.

Later this summer, City leaders will also consider a temporary emergency shelter that will provide around 300 more beds for people experiencing homelessness.

ECHO, or the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition, estimates there are thousands of people experiencing homelessness in Austin. Since the city's camping ban was reinstated in May 2021, many of these individuals have spread out throughout the city or gone into hiding, making it harder to connect them with services.


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

Tenacious D will play the best song in the world in Austin this fall

Spicy Meatball

America's favorite (only?) comedy rock duo is back on tour, and lucky for Austinites, they've announced the addition of three Texas dates this fall. Of course, we're talking about none other than Tenacious D, comprised of Jack Black and Kyle Glass.

The duo's Spicy Meatball Tour is currently underway this month in Europe, with newly extended dates including Houston (September 13), Grand Prairie (September 14), and Austin (September 15).

Supporting acts are yet to be announced, but tickets are on sale as of Friday, June 9, at 10 am. Fans can purchase tickets HERE.

According to a release, the tour dates come on the heels of the recently-released recorded version of Tenacious D’s viral, fan-favorite live cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.” The single is accompanied by a video directed by longtime D collaborator Taylor Stephens, and features our dynamic duo in a glorious, romantic romp by the sea. Last month, they released their first new song in five years, “Video Games,” which has been streamed over 18 million times across all platforms in less than a month. The animated music video, created by Oney Plays, brings video game-ified versions of Black and Glass to life in classic and hilarious ways.

In addition to the single releases, Tenacious D will be the special guest at this year’s Video Game Awards, happening on June 25 at the Hollywood Bowl, where they will perform their new single.

But of course the burning question remains: Will Black perform his equally viral "Peaches" from the recent Super Mario Bros. movie? There's only one way to find out.

Full Tour Dates are below (new dates in bold font):
6/7/23 Berlin, Germany @ Zitadelle
6/8/23 Nickelsdorf, Austria @ Nova Rock Festival
6/10/23 Milan, Italy @ Carroponte
6/12/23 Zurich, Switzerland @ The Hall
6/13/23 Brussels, Belgium @ Forest National
6/14/23 Rotterdam, Netherlands @ Ahoy
6/16/23 London, England @ O2 Arena
6/18/23 Clisson, France @ Hellfest Open Air Festival
6/25/23 Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl (Video Game Awards)
9/6/23 Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion
9/7/23 Franklin, TN @ Firstbank Amphitheater
9/9/23 Indianapolis, IN @ All IN Music Festival
9/11/23 Rogers, AR @ Walmart AMP
9/13/23 Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
9/14/23 Grand Prairie, TX @ Texas Trust CU Theatre
9/15/23 Austin, TX @ Germania Insurance Amphitheater