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Photo by Brianna Caleri

Tecovas South Congress will celebrate the opening of its new flagship store with a Block Party featuring an outdoor stage with live music from Croy and the Boys and Vincent Neil Emerson. There will also be leather burning inside the store, cocktails, a chainstitching booth, two-stepping lessons, lawn games, and food for purchase from TBC food truck.

Photo courtesy of Slab BBQ & Beer

8 things to know in Austin food right now: New barbecue and beer joint fires up in Sunset Valley

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

Slab BBQ & Beer, known for its piled-high sandwiches, is expanding southward, but not alone. The restaurant and Nomadic Beerworks are teaming up to launch a new location in Sunset Valley, just under the intersection of U.S. 290 and Mopac. A press release describes the new space as “ranch-like,” aiming for the feel of “old school Austin.” The brewing company is starting a cocktail program and periodically switching up what’s on tap from other local brewers. Doors open on October 19 at 6218 Brodie Ln. It will be open Wednesday and Thursday from 4 pm to 9 pm, Friday and Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm, and Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm.

A new Texas-Vietnamese food truck fusion is coming from Chef Bianca Frasier, former sous chef at Foreign & Domestic. Opening on September 30 at Gibson Street Bar (1109 South Lamar Blvd.), Bisous serves Southern classics like corn fritters alongside thit kho, braised pork belly, and eggs. The menu is long by truck standards (five appetizers, four entrees, two desserts), and entrees come on rice or Bao buns. The mission promises to balance "the academics of the culinary arts and the reality of everyday life." Bisous is open Tuesday through Thursday, and Sunday, from 4-11 pm; Friday and Saturday from 4 pm to midnight.

Drive-thru P. Terry’s Burger Stand continues to conquer the Austin area with a new location in Kyle, filling the gap between Austin and San Antonio with a fourth pit stop on I-35. Although P. Terry’s is, when it comes down to it, a fast-food chain, it has thoroughly won Austin over with its local business charm, low prices, and high-quality ingredients (including a house-made vegan burger that blows away any similar efforts). It’s open for business now at 18940 I-35 Frontage Road, from 7 am to 11 pm, extending to midnight on Friday and Saturday.

Other news and notes

Houston-born Local Foods made a splash when it opened a permanent Austin eatery in June, and has come around three months later to launch a brunch service. The restaurant is known for its sandwiches, and they’re not veering far for brunch with a peach and ricotta brioche toast, or a smoked salmon sandwich on rye with house pickles and cream cheese. The brunch menu, along with cocktails, will be served Saturdays and Sundays from 9 am to 3 pm.

Well, it’s time for neighborhood favorite The Well, a very chic nutrition-focused eatery, to kick things up a notch. A new happy hour offers nine dishes in diverse styles including vegan queso, smoked deviled eggs, and peach bruschetta. Weekdays from 4-6 pm, diners can try these discounted plates while enjoying half-off cocktails — made with natural sugars and house-made juices, bitters, and more — and select wines.

If it's hard to tear yourself from your fall-scented front porch now that temperatures have dropped, Favor will bring even more autumnal spirit to you with no delivery fees from October 1-18. Add up to four pumpkins by H-E-B Blooms to your cart to waive the fee and enjoy a variety of seasonal gourds, including carving pumpkins. Soak the seeds and toss them on a baking tray with olive oil and other seasonings for a crunchy snack while you carve.

Fever-Tree, the carbonated mixer maker known for its tonic water, is operating a mobile bartending truck from September 30 to October 2, handing out free mocktails to anyone who wants to try. Well-known bartenders from each neighborhood the truck stops in will make creative, high quality drinks, while handing out free four-packs and totes. Check Instagram to see the truck’s schedule through South Congress, Barton Springs, and East 7th Street.

Field Guide Festival, described as a “local food system festival” is creeping closer this November. An earlier event called At The Pass on October 1 introduces some of the ideas and players at St. John Studios. Chefs Philip Speer, Laura Sawicki, Jo Chan, Fiore Tedesco, Nayan Desai, and Giovanni Pujol are giving demonstrations, home cooking tips, and tastes using local ingredients in a one-night mini-festival from 6-9 pm. Tickets ($100) available on Eventbrite.

Photo courtesy of Maaribu

Austin home decor store opens a health-conscious bakery on wheels

Desert Desserts

What many Austinites may not realize when passing by Maaribu on Guadalupe Street is that the home goods store has a perfect name. A combination of Marfa and Malibu, the chic little showroom and café offers decor in desert tones, eclectic desserts made without gluten and with lots of buzzword ingredients, and the feeling that pursuing little luxuries is part of wellness. Speaking of those truly little treats, Maaribu’s new bakery truck, which feeds the South First Street café, is now open at the Guadalupe Street showroom.

The truck carries a diverse menu of classics (chocolate chip cookies and brownies), savory snacks (rosemary parmesan and cheddar scallion dill scones), and several vegan offerings (matcha cheesecake and dark chocolate mousse). A mysterious golden spice sandwich cookie — nodding to turmeric — beckons with a piped swirl of frosting, while banana and lemon loaves stand by for instant, miniaturized comfort.

A press release shares that Maaribu’s lemon blueberry scones and dragon fruit confetti cupcakes contain “superfoods and adaptogens” and are “full of antioxidants and prebiotics.” While it likely doesn’t matter that the star ingredient in your cupcake could keep you relatively more alive while lost in Big Bend than a boring old strawberry, dragon fruit confetti is an undeniably happy concept.

Other treats available at the café, like the Iced Immortality Mocha with adaptogenic mushrooms, are meant to deliver a tangible boost to energy and resilience to stress. Like anyone with experience in herbs or CBD could tell you, it’s a long-term process, but a little variety is a fun way to break up your usual routine.

Everything on the menu is by pastry chef Serene Warren, who trained in part at the Culinary Institute of America. Despite taking two decades of full focus as a stay-at-home mom, Warren is back in the culinary game, and has created two restaurant concepts before Maaribu, which has taken up most of her eight years in Austin so far.

Maaribu has stores at 3402 Guadalupe St. and 1413 S. First St., with the bakery truck parked at the former. Maaribu stated in an Instagram comment that the truck is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 9 am to 4 pm, and Sundays from 10 am to 3 pm. More information about the brick-and-mortar stores is available at maaribu.com.

Photo courtesy of Meanwhile Brewing

Favorite Austin brewery opens new chapter with first-ever book fair

It's Lit

Beer with friends is fun, but beer with books is even better. For those ready to combine the two, Meanwhile Brewing is hosting its inaugural book fair “Lagers & Literature” on August 28, benefiting the Inside Books Project. The event will bring together 13 local book or book-adjacent sellers for an afternoon of impulse buys and long-sought finds.

The visiting organizations bring everything from books to toys, crafts, and opportunities to sign up for library cards. This event is one of those rare all-ages happenings that is legitimately well-suited to every age, and there will be plenty of bites from local food trucks to keep everyone going in the heat.

Some of the visiting vendors include:

  • Austin Public Library: This city institution is packing up a “one-of-a-kind zine collection display,” highlighting one of the Central branch’s more unique on-site offerings. They will also run a library card station for signing up and renewing.
  • Blue Jay Vintage: Without a storefront, Bluejay Vintage mostly works on social media and as a pop-up seller. It’s bringing hand-selected science fiction, horror, and fantasy books to broaden horizons or just offer a little browsing nostalgia.
  • Capital City Scribes: Yes, it turns out scribes still exist, in part thanks to this nonprofit keeping calligraphy alive in Austin. Someone on-site will customize bookmarks for purchase, making excellent gifts for book lovers at home.
  • Flatbed Press: The fine art printing center brings works from across its range, including etching, lithography, relief, and monotype prints. Visitors can also use this opportunity to sign up for classes, which are usually weekends or four weeks long.
  • The Harry Ransom Center: An archive at University of Texas, this organization is bringing giveaways (not something you see every day from a museum), and an “interactive exhibition display” featuring work by photographer Laura Wilson.
  • Typewriter Rodeo: This collective will probably be under high demand as they type out custom poems for free. For more poems and less waiting, Typewriter Rodeo has an eponymous book, and also does weekly poems for KUT’s “Texas Standard” program.

The more beer everyone buys, the better. A portion of bar sales goes to the Inside Books Project, which sets up incarcerated people with books by request or recommendation, and sometimes promotes writers with experience in the system. It sends more than 35,000 books every year, and notes that the most-needed books include dictionaries and thesauruses, heritage and LGBTQ+ topics, language and skill books, and games like Dungeons and Dragons. And if visitors simply can’t drink enough to donate all they’d like, they can donate books and cash, and even volunteer.

This day of fun and learning takes place at Meanwhile Brewing on August 28 from 12 pm to 4 pm. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.

Photo courtesy of Huckleberry

6 things to know in Austin food right now: Seafood truck hosts splashy grand opening

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

As promised in June, Austin’s top seafood truck Huckleberry is kicking off its permanent stay at Still Austin Whiskey Co. with a grand opening and two-year anniversary soiree Saturday, July 23. It will be serving regular favorites and “specially curated eats,” plus cocktails from the distillery folks, from 6 pm to 8 pm (so hopefully, the sun will be merciful). There will be live music, giveaways, “and more.” RSVP for the free event on Eventbrite.

Lush rooftop bar Wax Myrtle’s refreshed its summer programming after early season plans charmed diners into asking for more. Passport Vintage will visit the next two Sundays (July 24 and 31) from noon to 4 pm with a vintage and upcycled clothing market. Later on Sundays, sunset yoga classes from 7 pm to 9 pm through August 7 ($30) are sure to give phenomenal views, and come with two green juice cocktails. Reserve on Resy.

Other news

Keep your comfort ice cream close for this less favorable study. Yelp discovered in its data that due to staffing shortages, consumers are waiting 14 percent longer than last year for restaurant reservations, and 40 percent longer than before the pandemic. Austin was one of the cities with the most change, along with other rapidly growing cities such as Birmingham, Alabama; Jacksonville, Florida; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Austin has been named the No. 8 ice cream city in the United States; a surprise, perhaps, to beachy ice cream shop devotees, but not to anyone who tries to keep up with all the flavors at Amy’s. In fact, of the metrics used in this study by real estate website Home Bay, Austin had the highest variety score. Oddly enough, Austin “ranked No. 1 in Google Trends for banana ice cream.” (Okay, seriously? Just go to Bananarchy). Dallas and Houston made the list of 10 worst cities for ice cream.

Perhaps not the place you’d expect to celebrate National Tequila Day, but Cork & Barrel is hosting a tequila tasting on Sunday, July 24 from 4 pm to 7 pm. With help from Atanasio Tequila, they’re leading visitors through a tasting, including a special Atanasio cocktail made for the holiday. The beautiful Round Rock pub and microbrewery is no stranger to holiday events and brings a Texas twist to whatever it does. Details are snuck into this Instagram story highlight.

Beerburg loves Texas, and uses foraged ingredients from the Lone Star State for its brews. So to quote Lizzo, it’s about damn time the taproom kicks off its own honky tonk nights ($7 for individuals, $10 for couples). The brewery will stay open late on Thursdays for live music and “light snacks” for purchase. Plus, Burg Light beer is now back. Beerburg is a bit of a drive from most of Austin, heading toward Dripping Springs. See a complete event calendar at beerburgbrewing.com.

Photo by Jane Yun

Austin brewery says 'hi' from a new spot on the east side

Rebrewed

Five years in business seems like high time to open a new location, and Hi Sign Brewing is following through. The new taproom and production facility will open July 9 at 730 Shady Lane in East Austin, with a grand opening to kick things off.

The party starts at noon, featuring tunes from Stefon Osae, bites from Burro Cheese Kitchen (which will remain onsite as a resident food truck), and a few new debut brews. The brewery will keep two brews through the summer, and one more as a permanent core product.

Hi Sign’s logo and packaging also underwent a makeover by creative agency FugginHuggin. The new cans look simpler in composition, with more detailed and sophisticated doodles, a lighter cursive “Hi” logo, and an overall more laid-back look that feels strongly more Austin.

Previously located on Old Bastrop Highway, the brewery announced the move in summer of 2021 and closed temporarily on February 28. The new taproom, whose construction was documented over the weeks on Hi Sign’s social media, is 13,000 square feet — more than twice the size of the previous location — and, like the new branding, very minimalist.

Polished concrete floors, long, straight-edged tables with interesting wood grain, and a subway-tiled bar keep things looking fresh and modern, with little interference except a colorful mural of an East Austin sunset. The exterior looks more in line with an upscale dining concept (one with tiny plates) than a popular brewery.

OPA Design Studio, who have designed other popular brewing spaces including Meanwhile and Pinthouse, worked with Hi Sign founder Mark Phillippe to maximize reuse of the original location’s building materials. The design is meant to pay homage to the building’s industrial history; before Hi Sign took over, RC Cola used it for bottling in the 1950s, then Shiner for distribution, and Hill Country Brewing & Bottling for a center of operations by the ’90s.

Part of the move is new offerings, including a new coffee service in the morning and a limited-edition Day One Founder’s Club token; for $1,000 (and $82.50 in sales tax), the token entitles the purchaser to one free drink at the Shady Lane Taproom, every day for life.

“As the Austin craft beer market matured, it became apparent that we weren’t going to survive at our old location on Bastrop Highway, almost entirely due to the devastating, several-years-long Hwy 183 construction project,” said Phillippe in a press release. “We wouldn’t have survived the last five years without our Austin community. They sustained us over the last two years –– this new place is for them.”

Hi Sign is reopening in its new location at 730 Shady Lane on July 9, at 12 pm. The event is open to the public, and there are no tickets.

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2 trailblazing Texans to be honored with history-making award at Austin museum

local history ripples

There are many conceptions of Texas around the world, but most can agree that Texans do have a knack for making history. An annual acknowledgement by the Texas State History Museum Foundation (TSHMF) will celebrate the contributions of two very different Texans who used their leadership skills to coordinate huge wins for their respective teams.

Retired Navy Admiral and former University of Texas System Chancellor William H. McRaven and former NFL quarterback Roger Staubach will be honored with the History-Making Texan Award at the 19th Annual Texas Independence Day Dinner, taking place March 2, 2023, at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin.

Photo courtesy of Bullock Museum

The History-Making Texan Award winners will be celebrated at the Bullock on March 2.

McRaven’s contributions and Staubach’s are similar by nature of leading teams — one commanded troops and the other played an integral part in the Dallas Cowboys into a wave of undeniable success — but the similarities mostly stop there.

McRaven led troops to rescue the ransomed Captain Richard Phillips, search for Osama Bin Laden, and ultimately capture Iraqi politician Saddam Hussein. The Four-Star admiral has advised U.S. presidents in his retirement and written several books, mostly imparting wisdom around changing one’s own life, and hopefully the world around them.

Staubach took a more entertainment-based path to greatness, rising to fame as a star player while lifting the rest of the Cowboys with him. The team had nine consecutive winning seasons with Staubach, of 20 total. Aside from giving Texans yet another point of state pride, Staubach spent his retirement and influence on real estate and philanthropy.

“Our recipients reached the pinnacle of accomplishments and eminence in their fields. Importantly, they were selected as honorees based on their personal character and commitment to improving the lives of others,” said dinner chair and TSHMF trustee Lisa Cooley in a press release. “They stand as role models to emulate, and we look forward to sharing their dramatic and inspiring stories with our guests.”

The dinner supports the Bullock Texas State History Museum with ticket sales and underwriting from nearly 500 attendees annually. Austin’s Jan Felts Bullock, wife of Bob Bullock and museum trustee, joins Dallas’ Cooley as honorary chair. In 2022, the award went to pianist James Dick and philanthropist Lyda Hill.

More information about the foundation and the History-Making Texan Award is available at tshmf.org.

SXSW rolls out next round of music showcases for 2023, including 29 Austin artists

300 more

Obviously, 190 music showcases is not enough for South by Southwest. That’s 19 a day? Make it another 301. On December 7, SXSW announced the second round of 2023 showcasing artists, bringing the current total to almost 500 acts performing March 13-18, 2023, in Austin.

Of those newly announced artists, 29 are from Austin, and eight more are from Texas, keeping the local numbers relatively high compared to the whole world. This round contains almost 10 percent Austin bands, while the first round contained nearly 7 percent.

Some of the more widely recognizable Austin acts announced in the second round include:

  • Good Looks: Vocalist and guitarist Tyler Jordan cites an increasingly venerated Austin band, Spoon, as an influence. Good Looks is guitar riff-driven, wistful, and a little Southern in sound.
  • Graham Reynolds (solo), Graham Reynolds & The Golden Arm Trio: A prolific composer and bandleader, Reynolds’ name pops up all over Austin films and awards ceremonies. He appears solo and with an eclectic jazz trio.
  • Kalu & The Electric Joint: Frontman Kalu James arrived in Austin from Nigeria at 18 and has made a strong name for himself (and guitarist Jonathan “JT” Holt) through psychedelic, vaguely jazzy, and decidedly funky jams.
  • Pleasure Venom: One of the rawest acts in town, Pleasure Venom is well-known for punk hits (and honest takes) that don’t hold back. The band is consistently making news between lots of live shows and festival appearances.
  • Primo the Alien: Solo artist and producer Primo the Alien is bringing the 80s back with synthy electro-pop. She attaches it all to a double persona that’s both candid on social media and a delivery system for sensory overload onstage.
  • The Tiarras: A triple-threat band of sisters, The Tiarras are always thinking about family and stepping into their power. They’ve tackled topics like lesbian and Latina representation, and although they’re young, they’re seasoned pros.

The remaining Austin bands in the second round are: Andrea Magee, Big Wy's Brass Band, Billy King & The Bad Bad Bad, Caleb De Casper, Daiistar, Del Castillo, El Combo Oscuro, Font, JM Stevens, Johnny Chops, Marshall Hood, Otis Wilkins, Pink Nasty Meets El Cento, Rett Smith, Rod Gatort, Schatzi, Shooks, S.L. Houser, The Tender Things, Thor & Friends, Trouble in The Streets, and West Texas Exiles.

Showcases are the base unit of the SXSW music experience, so to speak. They may be solo or part of a multi-day affair, especially when sponsored by large entities like Rolling Stone. Attendees with music wristbands get priority, but all wristbands get access if space remains.

Even as the lineup seems to bulge at the seams, a press release states that there are more to come. A full schedule of showcasing artists, where users can select events for their customized schedule, is available at schedule.sxsw.com.

Austin's Central Library announces open call for artists for future gallery exhibits

Beyond Books

People can learn a lot at the library. Besides all the books, magazines, online resources, and in-person programming, Austinites enjoy a buffet of rotating art exhibits that populate the gallery at the Central Library downtown, publicizing local artists and teaching visitors about the culture around them.

Now the ever-changing Austin Public Library is looking for another new exhibit sometime in 2024 between January and September, and inviting artists to apply through February 28.

Good news for artists who crave freedom, and frustrating news for artists who love something to bounce off of: This engagement offers few to no parameters. There is no explicit theme, but the library does claim a mission in a press release about the call for artists.

“The mission of the Central Library Gallery is to support local artists and art communities, raise awareness of contemporary and diverse forms of art, and to provide exhibitions in which a wide variety of identities and interests are represented,” said the release.

The Central Library website lists four current exhibitions: Hannah Hannah lends some expressionist portraits, Release the Puppets tells stories in a classic and playful medium, the Austin American-Statesman explores Austin communities of color through photographs, and a traveling exhibition documents Pride parades of the past.

The call is addressed to “artists, collectives, curators and beyond,” further widening the possibilities, but still restricting them to applicants residing in Texas. Applicants should consider the size of the gallery (2,700 square feet) and a few logistical stipulations, including that pieces may not be hung from the ceiling, and that walls may be painted.

When the jury — made up of local artists and others in the industry — announces a winning proposal in March 2023, the artist will be offered a stipend to complete the work. All project costs are the exhibitor’s responsibility, so this stipend is not unlike an advance, except that the project will not continue to generate revenue at the library.

Applications are open now through 11:59 pm on February 28, 2023. Applicants may make their proposals via submittable.com.