Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

There are so many great places to live in Austin that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Kuper Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.


Sixth-generation native Texan Debbie Lowe has lived in Austin for more than 20 years with her husband Chris, who is a native Austinite. Chris and Debbie, with some other partners, began building spec homes in the Barton Creek neighborhoods in 2013.

But it was when her close friends asked for help in finding their dream home that Lowe realized her true passion lay in real estate — and what better area to concentrate on than her own?

"Living in Barton Creek has made me very knowledgeable of it," the Kuper Sotheby's International Realty agent says. "I love the golf, food, neighbors, and schools nearby. No matter if you are active or want to simply relax, Barton Creek has something for all."

Since becoming a real estate agent, Lowe has continuously been among the top producers within her brokerage and is a former member of the Elite 25 Austin and Luxury League.

She draws from her personal experience with home building and staging to advise her clients on how best to approach their home purchase or sale, while her effective negotiation skills help them get the best possible price.

Lowe, her husband, and their four boys are very active in their Barton Creek neighborhood — "you're sure to run into us here," she says. Besides being involved with Austin Ridge Bible Church and Young Life, they support such Austin charities as Habitat for Humanity, Austin Area Food Bank, and Boys and Girls Clubs.

Lowe offered up a few of her personal favorites about life in Barton Creek. Here's her guide to the area:

Where to eat & drink
From an elegant meal at Bob's Steak & Chop House or sipping a drink poolside while enjoying the amazing Hill Country views at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa, Barton Creek has something for every day and every vibe.

Where to play
If you'd rather be active than eat, check out the four golf courses at the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa along with the tennis facilities and pools. Make time for a massage or facial at the Mokara Spa after.

Of course, you can't overlook the proximity to Lake Travis and Lake Austin and multiple hiking trails that criss-cross the area, providing several breathtaking ways to become one with nature.

"I am a current trustee/board member of Zach Theatre, and enjoy watching the amazing talent on display there," Lowe says.

Where to live
"Barton Creek offers all tastes and styles, from traditional to Spanish to modern," says Lowe. Homes can range from small, one-story dwellings to mansions of 10,000-square-feet or more, with both older, more established buildings and newer construction.

A significant sale of Lowe's — 7609 Escala — is one such jaw-dropping estate, with a backyard that featured incredible Hill Country views.

"We have worked with Debbie for years and have been involved in a number of real estate deals with her," says one client. "She is incredibly insightful about the Austin housing market and knows everything that is happening in Barton Creek, Westlake (Eanes), Regents, and Travis Country. She has found us amazing properties both on and off the market and has worked miracles for us! She’s a smart negotiator and always mindful of helping us make a solid investment decision."

"Debbie is the most wonderful, knowledgeable, and honest real estate professional that you could have in your corner," agrees another client.

"While the housing search can be quite challenging at times due to the competitive market, we have relied on Debbie to be our rock," says a third. "What we love most about her — even more than the fact that she is extensively dialed into the west Austin housing market — is that she is honest and fair in everything that she does. She gives a direct and honest opinion, negotiates deals fairly, is incredibly patient, never uses pressure tactics, and truly has the clients' best interest at heart. I couldn’t recommend Debbie more highly."


Debbie Lowe lives, works, and plays in Barton Creek. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here, email debbie.lowe@kupersir.com, or call 512-289-4167.

Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

Downtown Austin: Where the city's movers and shakers put down roots

Your Expert Guide

There are so many great places to live in Austin that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Kuper Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.


If you're considering a move to Austin, real estate agent Carl Shurr says choosing downtown is a sure bet.

"The energy of living downtown is hard to beat," he says. "It is exciting to see the growth that has occurred since 2006, when I moved here from Chicago. I was told then that no one lives downtown — now it's the place to be if you want to be connected to what's happening in Austin."

Shurr himself — along with his two dogs, Dude and Rocky — has called both downtown and Travis Heights home since arriving in Austin. Currently, he's renovating his condo at The Austonian, a true skyline staple as the second-tallest building in Austin.

The renovation process is one he's enjoyed and loves to share his expertise on. He also loves showing condos, and lists the energy, convenience, and people as the main draws to the area, saying it's where the movers and shakers live.

Shurr offered up a few more of his personal favorites about life in downtown Austin. Here's his guide to the area:

Where to eat & drink
"While there are many new and exciting restaurants in downtown Austin, a couple of my classic, go-to favorites include Eddie V's and Truluck's," Shurr says. "They both consistently deliver excellent food and service."

"I'm a big fan of Royal Blue Grocery," he continues. "I was a regular customer when they opened their first store downtown at the 360 Condominiums in 2008 — now they're all over the downtown area."

For the best rooftop patio in town, he heads to Bob's Steak & Chop House, while Comedor is "arguably my favorite restaurant in all of Austin."

Where to play
"Lady Bird Lake and the hike and bike trail around it is my favorite place to be outside in downtown Austin," says Shurr. "It is truly the heartbeat of the city and a beautiful place to exercise."

Another must-see is the Texas Capitol, a massive, three-story granite structure that is the largest capitol building in the United States. As Shurr points out, it is over 100 years old and stands 14 feet higher than the United States Capitol.

Where to live
Homes in downtown Austin are mostly modern in their architecture, with the majority of the condominium developments in the area being less than 10 years old.

Shurr's favorite sale in downtown was at the iconic Austonian, at 200 Congress Ave. Another recent sale at Spring was exciting, he says, as it sold off-market with multiple offers well over the asking price: "We set a new price-per-square-foot record for the development."

A current, three-bedroom condo listing at 300 Bowie St. showcases floor-to-ceiling views and an enviable location that's only a short walk to Whole Foods, Lifetime Fitness, Seaholm Plaza, the lakefront, hike and bike trail, and many of the best restaurants in downtown Austin.


Carl Shurr lives, works, and plays in downtown Austin. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here, email carl@carlshurr.com, or call 512-944-5977.

Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

Avery Ranch: A true community just northwest of downtown Austin

Your Expert Guide

There are so many great places to live in Austin that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Kuper Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.


Real estate agent Heidi Kadison has lived in the northwest Austin neighborhood of Avery Ranch for the past 12 years, raising here children there while forming close relationships with neighbors who almost feel like family.

"Avery Ranch is the perfect neighborhood for people wanting a community to join," she says. "You'll find parents enjoying adult beverages in the driveways while the kids ride bikes, or Redfish parents getting up at 6 am on Saturdays to cheer their kids to victory in the pool while enjoying breakfast tacos and doughnuts during breaks."

There's also a fireworks display on July 3 each year over the golf course, and neighborhood parties throughout the year.

What else is there to love? According the Kadison, who has been selling homes in the area since she moved here from California more than a decade ago, the schools are fabulous and the convenient location can't be beat.

"We are 15 minutes to The Domian, 10 minutes to Cedar Park shopping and restaurants, and 30 minutes to downtown," she says. "I'm close to everything I need to have a happy life."

Kadison offered up a few more of her personal favorites about life in Avery Ranch. Here's her guide to the area:

Where to eat & drink
There's no shortage of great restaurants here, from Moonshine, Sushi Fever, and Paul Martin's to Uchi, Eddie Vs, Blue Corn Harvest, Tomo, and Santa Caterina.

Get your caffeine fix at Cuppa Austin and Summer Moon, and keep an eye out for the food trucks that occasionally visit the neighborhood.

For happy hour with an elegant twist, check out Uchiko's social hour menu for innovative cocktails, safe, and nigiri sushi.

Where to play
Parks, pools, and trails abound in Avery Ranch, but if shopping is your cardio then The Domain is incredibly close by.

Where to live
Avery Ranch is full of mostly traditional architecture, Kadison says, with spacious lots and upscale finishes.


Heidi Kadison lives, works, and plays in Avery Ranch. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here, email heidi.kadison@kupersir.com, or call 512-638-9847.

Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

Westlake's Lost Creek: Where nature meets laid-back family memories

Your Expert Guide

There are so many great places to live in Austin that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Kuper Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.


"My husband and I grew up in Westlake, and we love raising our two children here," says real estate agent Connelly Breeland. "I was vice president of the Hyline drill team and active in choir during my high school years. I realize how special and unique it is that our daughter and son get to grow up attending the same schools, parks, and even restaurants that we loved as kids."

These fond memories prompted Breeland to settle in her childhood neighborhood, and she now loves introducing people to its charming areas like Lost Creek.

"I love the family friendly atmosphere that is so apparent the moment you enter Lost Creek," she says. "Located in the award-winning Eanes School District and with direct access to numerous hiking trails and the Barton Creek Greenbelt, it's an idyllic place to raise a family and build a lifetime of memories."

Breeland remembers spending her elementary years walking to the creek with friends and spending time outside until the street lights came on, the universal signal for dinnertime.

Today, she enjoys finding even more hidden hiking trails with flowing water, picnic tables, and meandering paths throughout the neighborhood. Her favorite entrance point? Whitemarsh Valley Walk near the intersection with Lost Creek Boulevard.

Breeland offered up a few more of her personal favorites about life in Lost Creek. Here's her guide to the area:

Where to eat & drink
"For a quick treat on hot summer days, my family loves Woody's Shave Ice," she says. "The food truck park at the front of Lost Creek Boulevard is a fun and convenient amenity for the neighborhood."

Breeland also loves nearby Vaquero's for Tex-Mex and margaritas, noting that their new playscape is a great attraction for young families.

"On weekends, Taco Deli is our go-to for delicious tacos under the oaks," says Breeland. "I always get the Cowboy Taco and Chicken Frontero Fundido — they can't be beat!"

Where to play
The Lost Creek hiking trails and greenbelt are the ideal way to play and relax: "On a recent hike I enjoyed the naturally flowing springs and the wildflowers. My daughter loved the cardinals and hummingbirds,” she says.

Breeland and her family also enjoy being members of the Lost Creek Country Club, which she says is the perfect place to enjoy a meal, relax by the pool, or play a round of golf.

"On Friday nights in the fall, I can be found at a Westlake Football game," Breeland says. "Go Chaps!"

Lost Creek residents also love the neighborhood parks as a place for kids to play and parents to mingle. An insider tip from Breeland is that the playground park located on Lost Creek Boulevard and Quaker Ridge Road becomes a voting location during elections, making it a quick and easy place to vote and avoid crowds.

Where to live
From traditional to modern, the homes throughout Lost Creek are unique and embrace the outdoors. Think huge picture windows, wraparound balconies, and massive patios that encourage large gatherings while celebrating the native trees and wildlife.

Most homes offer a traditional style common to homes built in the 1970s and '80s, with lots of limestone and wood accents.

"It has been fascinating to watch full renovations and new construction in recent years, bringing a new, modern vibe to several neighborhood streets," Breeland says. "I've shown and sold homes that are complete fixer-uppers and others that are move-in ready, but all my clients love the stunning views they possess."

Her most recent sale in Lost Creek was 6305 Whitemarsh Valley Walk, where she represented the buyer.

"My buyers had been on the hunt for their forever home in Westlake for a long time, and despite multiple offers, they were thrilled to finally be able to call this Lost Creek home their own."


Connelly Breeland lives, works, and plays in Westlake. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here, email connelly@kupersir.com, or call 512-633-3066.

Agent Connelly Breeland

Realtor Connelly Breeland
Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

Agent Connelly Breeland.

Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

Point Venture: A Lake Travis oasis where every day feels like vacation

Your Expert Guide

There are so many great places to live in Austin that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Kuper Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.


If the idea of a resort-style community on Lake Travis, where neighbors drive golf carts to each other's homes and to restaurants for nights out, appeals to you, then put Point Venture on your list.

"The entire neighborhood is a hidden gem," says Realtor Kristi Adamcik, with Kuper Sotheby's International Realty. "I jokingly call it a drinking community with a boating problem. When you live here, it's like being on vacation every day."

Adamcik, who has lived in Point Venture for the past seven years, lists off an impressive array of amenities: a private waterfront park with disc golf, a sandy beach, boat ramp, golf course, floating restaurant, sports bar, gym, pool, and multiple sports courts.

The tight-knit community is also a big draw, with various social gatherings and activities throughout the year.

"This small lakeside oasis is unlike any other neighborhood I have ever been fortunate to live in," she says. "It’s not just the fabulous amenities, beautiful custom homes, and sparkling Lake Travis views, but the neighbors who are so quick to lend a helping hand, throw a fun party, and enjoy life on the lake. Everyone here agrees that we are all too blessed to be stressed in our little slice of paradise."

Adamcik offered up a few more of her personal favorites about life in Point Venture. Here's her guide to the area:

Where to eat & drink
"The newest addition to Point Venture is the floating restaurant on Lake Travis called Captain Pete’s Boathouse. You can come by car, boat, or golf cart," she says. "Grab a drink at the Caddie Shack, which has cornhole tournaments, live music, and trivia nights."

You'll have "the best fajitas of your life at Casa Mexico," Adamcik also says, or can spend a day wine-tasting at Flat Creek Winery.

Where to play
In addition to Point Venture’s private, 50-acre park, make sure to take in the magnificent views on a hike at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge.

Venture into Lago Vista to buy some new clothes from The Wild Navy or indulge in a spa day at Addicted to Glamour with nails by Sarah and a massage by Tanya.

Where to live
"Every home in Point Venture is unique among itself," Adamcik says. "Homes here are so different from one to the next — cookie-cutter they are not!"

Some homes have reverse floorplans, where the living, kitchen, and owners suite is upstairs to take advantage of the gorgeous lake views. Balconies are common to enjoy the sunsets.

Some homes back to the golf course, and at 7 pm the entire greens can become your playground and backyard, Adamcik says.

Homes are custom-designed by excellent builders, and due to the small and limited size of this waterfront village, it is a sought-after place to raise a family or retire.

One of Adamcik's favorite recent listings is 18500 Lakehead Cir., a custom-built, one-owner, Texas-style ranch home designed by the award-winning architect Rick O’Donnell. It features meticulous detail and was thoughtfully planned to preserve the mature oak trees on the large .4 acre property situated at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac.

Another is 205 Lakefront Dr. for its phenomenal Lake Travis views and detailed features inside, including the Brazilian hardwood cherry floors, top-of-the-line Sub-Zero appliances, modern Grohe fixtures, and dual decks to entertain on sunny lake days.

One home that Adamcik had the pleasure to sell twice is 19015 Venture Dr.

"It was my first home where I personally lived in Point Venture," she says. "We are now on home No. 3 in this lovely community. Not only did it back to the golf course, it has incredible Lake Travis views from the front. I sold the home to its second owner, then again represented that seller when he decided to move on. The current third owners are friends with whom I had the pleasure of selling their home in Round Rock so they could come and enjoy lake life here."

Nan Howell, the current owner, says “Kristi will always be our Realtor! She took excellent care of us and was always there for a quick and very professional answer, no matter what time of the day. She looked out for our interest every step of the way. I will always recommend Kristi to friends and family."


Kristi Adamcik lives, works, and plays in Point Venture. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here, email kristi.adamcik@kupersir.com, or call 512-400-9214.

Agent Kristi Adamcik

Realtor Kristi Adamcik
Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

Agent Kristi Adamcik.

Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

Zilker: Old Austin charm thrives amidst rapid redevelopment and popularity

Your Expert Guide

There are so many great places to live in Austin that it helps to have an expert on your side. The Neighborhood Guide presented by Kuper Sotheby's International Realty gives you insider access from the agents who live and work there, providing in-the-know info about your possible new community.


It's no wonder that Austin's Zilker neighborhood is so popular — it has vintage appeal, big yards, towering live oak trees, and is a mere mile and a half from downtown, with walking distance to the popular Barton Springs Pool.

Kuper Sotheby's International Realty agent Kay Keesee has been a resident of Zilker for the past four decades. Thirty of those years have been devoted to helping folks purchase their own Zilker homes and settle into the neighborhood.

"We've managed to retain the 'Old Austin' vibe while welcoming new neighbors at a record pace," Keesee says. "Can you believe that at one time Zilker — and the whole of South Austin — weren't anywhere near the top of the 'most popular neighborhoods' list? Not so now!"

But despite its rapid rise in popularity, Zilker still holds onto its small-town feel. Keesee says an evening walk can easily stretch three miles without ever encountering a traffic light or four-lane street. The Zilker Neighborhood Association is active and inclusive, and Zilker Elementary School is beloved for its excellent standards, diversity, and community involvement.

Compared to everywhere else, Keesee says, Zilker just seems a little slower, sweeter, and much more convenient.

Block parties occur regularly, but larger events such as Austin City Limits at Zilker Park, the July 4th celebration at Auditorium Shores, and the Trail of Lights at holiday time are also a draw.

Zilker has been a desirable neighborhood for hundreds of years, with traces of the Tonkawa and other native tribes having been discovered in the area. Mary Crownover Rabb and her husband John built a log cabin and settled on Barton Creek in 1860. Today Rabb Road, Zilker's western boundary, commemorates the Rabb family and their 95 years in the Zilker area.

"Some say the spirits, ancient and more recent, still dwell here in peace," Keesee says.

A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Keesee has obviously poured her time and energy into Austin over the years. She's also an alumna of Leadership Austin and Leadership Texas, a former chair of the Austin Commission for Women, and is an active supporter and volunteer for over 30 years of the Settlement Home for Children.

Keesee offered up a few more of her personal favorites about life in Zilker. Here's her guide to the area:

Where to eat & drink
El Rancho is Tex-Mex at its finest, Keesee says, while Juliet is her favorite for great cocktails.

And when it's time for fast food, Austin institution P. Terry's is the place to go.

Where to play
The famous Zilker Park and Barton Springs Pool are here (look for the Philosopher's Rock bronze sculpture at the north entrance), but don't overlook Little Zilker Park, which adjoins Zilker Elementary School.

Pfluger Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge is popular during good weather, and a wonderful way to see Lady Bird Lake. Look east, and you can spot colorful graffiti art on the railroad trestle.

What to see
The Zach Theatre is the oldest continually operating theater company in Texas, and when you go to the main entrance on the west side Keesee advises not to miss the evocative bronze sculpture Lady Hare with Dog by Sophie Ryder, which was installed in 1998.

Zilker Hillside Theater also encourages the arts with summer programs, or you can explore the Austin Nature and Science Center and Taniguchi Japanese Garden in Zilker Park.

Where to live
While some homes were built in the 1920s, Zilker development in earnest began in the 1930s. Many of these homes remain, primarily north of Kerr Street, Keesee points out.

Commonly called bungalows, the more accurate style designation for most vintage homes in Zilker is "minimal traditional." Emerging in mid-20th century America, this style incorporated influences from such earlier styles as American Colonial, Colonial Revival, Spanish Revival, Tudor Revival, and Craftsman. Typical features include hipped or gabled roofs, minimal eaves, wood siding, small porches, and loads of charm.

In the early 1950s, the style was superseded by the one-level ranch style that's prevalent in Zilker south of Dexter, where Nash Philips Copus and others pioneered modern subdivision planning in Austin. Further south, streets were developed less uniformly, with a mix of styles from the late 1940s to the the mid-1960s. Notable among these are the coveted midcentury residences designed and built with strong Frank Lloyd Wright influences by local architect A. D. Stenger.

In the 1980s, major home remodeling and redevelopment of lots began to appear. Still a haven of affordability compared to neighborhoods north of the "river" (aka Lady Bird Lake), Zilker rose in popularity — though not much in price. By 1995, the local prejudice against living "south of the river" began to crumble as prices rose in the north.

Commercial and multi-family developers recognized the potential and seized the opportunity. South Lamar, part of the Zilker neighborhood, was redeveloped piece by piece. Restaurants, gyms, shops, and apartment buildings replaced older commercial buildings. Lamar Plaza, the only shopping center that ever existed in Zilker, was replaced by Lamar Union, a multi-family residential and commercial center.

After 2000, redevelopment of residential lots increased dramatically. The new residences are much larger, mostly two stories, and varied in style. Minimalist modern is the most popular, though modern farmhouse, new traditional, midcentury modern, and "statement sculptural" are also represented.

Condominium development accelerated after 2000, offering an attractive alternative to the few older communities, some of which were remodeled in response to the competition. Luxury units such as those at The Loren, Bartonplace, Villas of Lost Canyon, Bridges on the Park, and Kinney Lofts meet the demand for upscale condos.

Current single-family home prices range from the high $800s to just under $7 million. From 2019 to 2022, Keesee says, the average price for a single family home in Zilker rose 52 percent.

One of Keesee's landmark sales anchors the north end of Kinney Avenue. A striking minimalist design, the home was built to the highest construction standards utilizing commercial grade materials and finishes. The 586-square-foot roof terrace affords a commanding view of the downtown Austin skyline only a mile away.


Kay Keesee lives, works, and plays in Zilker. For more information on buying and selling a home in the area, click here, email kay.keesee@sothebysrealty.com, or call 737-308-9512.

Agent Kay Keesee

Realtor Kay Keesee
Photo courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

Agent Kay Keesee.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Texas rises through the ranks of most innovative states, says new report


The Lone Star State has again taken a step up on an annual report that ranks the most and least innovative states in the country — this time cracking the top 15.

Texas ranked No. 15 in personal finance site WalletHub's 2023’s Most and Least Innovative States ranking. It's a steady improvement for the state, which ranked No. 16 in 2022 and No. 17 in 2021.

The report analyzed the 50 states and the District of Columbia and how each performed across 22 key metrics, including population of STEM professionals, venture capital investment activity, number of technology companies, patents per capita, and more. The data was pulled from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Science Foundation, National Center for Education Statistics, United States Patent and Trademark Office, and other records.

Here's how Texas performed at a glance:

  • No. 18 – for share of STEM professionals
  • No. 16 – for projected STEM job demand by 2030
  • No. 25 – for eighth grade math and science performance
  • No. 21 – for share of science and engineering graduates aged 25 or older
  • No. 13 – for share of technology companies
  • No. 31 – for R&D spending per capita
  • No. 18 – venture capital funding per capita

For the 11th year, Texas won Site Selection Magazine's Governor's Cup, the governor's office announced earlier this year. The award, which Texas has won 19 times since its inception in 1978, recognizes the nation’s top-performing state for job-creating business relocations and expansions.

"Texas truly is America’s economic engine, and we stand apart as a model for the nation. When choosing where to relocate or expand their businesses, more and more innovative industry leaders find themselves at home in our state," Governor Greg Abbott says in a news release about the award.

"I congratulate the exceptional economic development teams at the local, regional, and state level who have worked so diligently to attract and retain these growing businesses and the jobs they create in diverse communities across this great state," he continues.

The most innovative states included the District of Columbia, which ranked at No. 1, followed by Massachusetts, Washington, Maryland, and California, respectively. The least innovative state was identified as Mississippi, followed by Louisiana, North Dakota, West Virginia, and Arkansas, respectively.

Source: WalletHub

Access to quality education is a significant contributor to each state's innovation economy, the experts say in the report.

"Investing in education, particularly K-12 but also at the University level, it is no accident that innovative ecosystems develop in states with strong education systems and research universities," says David L. Deeds, professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. "These institutions build strong capable modern workforces that attract capital, and jobs and create innovations. The benefits do not happen overnight, in fact, they take years if not decades, but consider what The UC’s or the University of Texas at Austin have meant for the development of premier innovative ecosystems."

Austin's meat palace Fogo de Chao expands its menu with new plant-based options

Vegan News

Well, here's a twist: Fogo de Chão, the churrascuria-style restaurant concept from Brazil known for its dedication to meat, is expanding its menu in an unprecedented new direction: They're adding tofu.

Effective immediately, the restaurant will offer new plant-based and nutrient-dense dishes, alongside an enhanced Bar Fogo beverage list that has new non-alcoholic craft cocktails made with low-proof spirits (less than 0.5 percent alcohol).

Fogo CEO Barry McGowan says in a release that they're responding to demand from their younger, more health-conscious customers.

"Our young and dynamic guests consider themselves food explorers who seek new culinary discoveries with each visit,” McGowan says. “For nearly 45 years we’ve had nutrient-dense and plant-forward dining options for every occasion and dietary tribe throughour Market Table. With the rollout of our new dining choices and clean cocktails, we continue to offer our guests the variety and discoveries they crave while doing it in a wholesome and flavorful way.”

The Market Table is their famed salad bar, which has sated many a vegetarian diner or else those just not up for the whole skewered meat thing that is a trademark of Fogo and other churrascuria-style places.

Two new plant-based innovations will join Fogo's existing Vegetarian and Pescatarian dishes such as the Cauliflower Steak, and will be available on the main dining menu available for lunch, brunch, and dinner as an alternative to the Full Churrasco Experience, as follows:

  • Seared Tofu with Miso Black Bean Pasta - Chimichurri-marinated tofu served atop black bean pasta sautéed with green onion, Napa cabbage, pickled onions and carrot ginger-miso dressing. Vegan and gluten-free.
  • Roasted Power Vegetable Bowl - Roasted eggplant, marinated mushrooms, roasted zucchini, asparagus, and baby peppers served with chimichurri spinach rice. Vegan and gluten-free.

togo power bowlRoasted Power Vegetable Bowl at Fogo de Chao.Photo courtesy of Fogo de Chao

They're also rolling out new dishes on the Market Table which for the past 45 years has showcased nutrient-dense and flavorful choices including seasonal salads, micro greens, natural and plant-based proteins, imported charcuterie, and more.

New items on the Market Table are as follows:

  • Spring Hummus - Fresh hummus blended with herbs, roasted garlic and citrus, topped with radish, fresh mint, edamame, and olive oil.
  • Baby Kale & Mango Salad - Fresh baby kale, Napa cabbage, red radish and mango, tossed in a lime honey dressing.
  • Miso Black Bean Pasta - Gluten-free black bean pasta tossed with green onion, Napa cabbage, pickled onions and carrot ginger-miso dressing.
  • Apple Manchego Salad - Granny Smith apples and Manchego cheese tossed with honey, cracked pepper and black mission figs.
  • Power Greens - A seasonal mix of vitamin-rich greens, fresh herbs and micro-shoots

The Bar
The Bar Fogo menu now features five new cocktails, including three made with Clean Co’s non-alcoholic spirits with less than 0.5% alcohol, as follows:

  • Yellowbird - Desolas Mezcal, Passion Fruit, Pineapple, Cointreau, La Marca Prosecco
  • Espresso Martini - Diplomatico Reserva Rum, Caffe Borghetti and Licor 43
  • Clean Cosmo - CleanCo V (Vodka) Apple, Cranberry, Fresh Lemon
  • CleanR Sour - CleanCo R (Rum), Passionfruit, Pineapple, Aquafaba, Bitters
  • Clean Cucumber Martini - CleanCo V (Vodka) Apple, Cucumber, Basil, Lemon Twist

Founded in southern Brazil in 1979, Fogo has seven other locations across Texas: Addison, Uptown Dallas, Plano, Friendswood, Houston, San Antonio, and The Woodlands.

City of Austin spikes weekend parking rates at Zilker Park

pay to play

Starting May 1, one of Austin's most popular parks will be increasing parking prices and start charging for parking in lots that were previously free.

At Zilker Park, the parking lots that currently charge $5 for parking will be increased to $7 from May 1 through Labor Day.

The parking lot off of Stratford Road, just north of the Zilker Botanical Garden, and the South Barton Springs Pool parking lot, near Azie Morton Road, will start charging $7 on the weekends and holidays.

Both of these parking lots were havens for visitors and residents alike, as they were free to park. Park visitors like P.K. Luangsingotha liked that parking was free at the lot off Stratford. Luangsingotha said he is not happy that he will have to start paying to park.

"I believe people should be out enjoying the parks, the sunlight, et. cetera, and not have to [pay]. I mean, the City is already making so much money as it [is]. Now trying to tax people more on parking — I think it’s kind of unfair. Just my opinion," Luangsingotha said.

Hailey Adams, an Austin resident, also enjoys coming to Zilker and the free parking near Stratford with her dog. Come May, Adams may adjust the activities she participates in at Zilker due to the cost of parking.

“I definitely want more of a [full-day] activity, versus sometimes [coming] for 30 minutes," Adams said.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department said it hopes charging at the parking lots will help with traffic issues.


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