Quantcast
Photo by Chris Anderson

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 Phillip Frankland Lee has been very busy opening new restaurants and earning Michelin stars. This time, skateboarder Neen Williams joins him in a new collaboration, NADC Burger. The tiny burger joint is just a window behind Idle Hands, a Rainey Street bar and backyard. The third-pound patties use the same Texas Wagyu beef as Sushi by Scratch Restaurants and Pasta Bar. Leftover fat is used to fry the french fries. NADC (Not a Damn Chance) refers to Williams’ seasoning out of Dallas, which flavors the only burger variety offered at the window, with onions, pickles, jalapeños, sauce, and American cheese. NADC is open from 6 pm until it sells out, and is only accessible through the bar (so visitors must be 21 or older).

Chi’Lantro BBQ almost doesn’t need an introduction: Its famous kimchi fries, a loaded pile of french fries with onion, kimchi, sriracha, and more, are a hit every year at Austin City Limits Festival, and they’re coming to North Austin with Chi’Lantro’s 10th restaurant. The menu brings “all the favorites” including Korean fried chicken wings, wraps, and customizable bowls. The new location at Anderson Mill (12129 North FM 620, Suite 202) is open every day from 10:30 am to 10 pm.

Lick Honest Ice Creams, known for unique flavors like roasted beets and fresh mint (in one scoop!), is celebrating 11 years in business with a free scoop to all visitors, to any Lick shop, on October 19 from 7-10 pm. A more lasting celebration is the opening of a new location in College Station, at 175 Century Square Drive, Suite 11. This is the brand’s seventh location, and the first outside of Austin or San Antonio. Some of Lick’s seasonal flavors currently include spiced sweet potato pie (with marshmallows and molasses cookie), caramel apple cake, Hazel’s pumpkin pie (a more straightforward pumpkin spice), and a vegan coconut chia chai.

Cinnaholic, the vegan, customizable cinnamon roll shop, officially opens at The Arboretum on Friday, October 14. To celebrate, all cinnamon rolls on opening day will be $2 between 10 am and 2 pm. After that, Cinnaholic is open daily from 10 am to 9 pm at 10000 Research Boulevard, Suite 136. There are more than 20 toppings to choose from including nuts, fruit, and other sweets prepared at the shop. There’s much more than cinnamon rolls, like Barrett’s coffee, Pineapple Dole Whip, non-dairy soft-serve ice cream, and brownies.

Other news and notes

It’s always a party when tequila is around, but Arte Agave takes that to the next level. This mini festival on October 14 brings more than 100 varieties of agave spirits to try and demo cocktails with. Aside from the drinks, there are food vendors, a photo booth, music, and traditional dancing. A popup artisan market sells clothes, accessories, and baked goods. It’s all happening from 6-10 pm at Springdale Station. More information available at arteagave.com.

Pinthouse Brewing is celebrating a 10-year milestone at its anniversary celebration on October 15. At the Burnet location, where the brewery started, there will be a brand-new hazy double IPA in collaboration with Minnesota’s Surly Brewing, limited-release keg tappings, a guest food vendor that’s “a festival favorite,” special edition merch, and yard games like mini golf. Check Instagram for updates about the party, which starts at noon.

There are few more stylish places to watch a spooky movie than Honey Moon Spirit Lounge, the velvet and wicker-covered house just north of the University of Texas campus. Every Tuesday evening until November 1, the restaurant is showing scary movies and handing out free popcorn. There are “creepy cocktails” to go with it, like the Smokus Pocus with mezcal, squid ink agave, bitters, and smoke. Tickets ($10) available on Tock, call (737) 209-0319 for titles.

Gelateria Gemelli/Facebook

East Sixth Street's gelato and cocktail haven says ciao to Austin

A Gelato for the Road

Gelateria Gemelli, an East Sixth Street gelato shop known for its creative flavors like Fernet stracciatella and Vietnamese coffee, announced its upcoming closure in a September 28 Instagram post.

“Y’all, it’s been a long road,” owner Andrew Sabola wrote. “8 years of negronis, spritzes, teaching people how to say ‘stracciatella,’ first dates that turned into marriages, pop ups, cones on cones on cones, birthday parties, Fernet shots, laughter, and tears.”

Sabola attributes the closure to the COVID-19 pandemic, which slashed the customer base. Some loyal supporters kept the business going, but it never returned to its pre-pandemic sales. The gelateria will keep the lights on until November 1, giving the business plenty of time to say goodbye to fans and get some last cones out there.

The shop opened in 2015, after Sabola returned from a trip to Bologna with a friend — both Gemini — learning from gelato masters and getting accustomed to finishing off dessert with aperitivi like negroni. Living up to this one-two punch, the gelato shop served coffee and old fashioned cocktails. It had a broad selection of amaro sorted by provenance.

Sabola has always been outspoken, and has made news in the past talking about social issues. In 2015, he told L Style G Style that in building the shop, he shrugged off the notion of gendered bathrooms with trans customers in mind. In 2020, he told Eater that his glass door, broken in protests against police brutality, did not matter compared to the sociopolitical issue at hand.

The business stayed closed a little longer than necessary in May of 2020 after Texas businesses started opening up again, to protect its staff. It also made CultureMap’s 2021 list of eateries that were continuing to require masks after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced that mandates would be lifted.

On the tail end of the pandemic, trends in closures and openings are hard to predict. Some businesses have gone so far through the rollercoaster of losing and gaining business that they have returned after seemingly permanent closures. Second Bar + Kitchen, G’Raj Mahal, and Ski Shores Cafe have all performed this very contemporary song and dance since June of 2022.

“From the bottom of my cold, gay heart: thank you for making Gemelli your own,” wrote Sabola. “I wanted to build something beautiful and put it out into the world and hoped that y’all would love it. You did.”

Photo courtesy of the Dripping Springs Pumpkin Festival

Spend a spooky or wholesome fall day at the Dripping Springs Pumpkin Festival

Pump It Up

Likely no fruit, vegetable, or root holds the season-defining power of the pumpkin. And even though fall is still a month away, pumpkin news is starting to drift in on the breeze. Mark your calendars for the changing of the gourd: the Dripping Springs Pumpkin Festival is coming September 24 to October 31.

There’s a lot more to do over those 38 days than look at pumpkins, although there will be the obligatory pumpkin patches (big ones, little ones, and gourds). Some of the more than 50 activities are free with entry, including lots of yard games, goat yoga for kids, and a semi-chaotic range from sound baths to bouncy bull riding. Others come à la carte, like an exotic petting zoo (starting at $3+), henna art ($5+), and pumpkin painting ($10).

For adults and kids alike, 100.1 Sun Radio is creating a live music program, and alongside all the activities is a courtyard market for browsing “family-friendly products.” Local food and beverage vendors will bring 13 booths serving ice cream, tacos, free water, and more.

The festival is overall more Old MacDonald than Jack Skellington, but some spooky elements like the Lost Souls Cemetery and Lil' Monster Maze will be setting a Halloween mood. The last weekend in particular will lean into the holiday with “ghoulish giveaways” and a raffle, a “Golden Skeleton Hunt,” a costume contest (plus free entry before noon for costumed visitors), and some candy-centric activities.

The list of Pumpkin Festival attractions goes on and on — as it should for a five-week event — with special programming each weekend. These could be educational (“a celebration of indigenous tradition” with dancing and frybread) or just fun (a $49.50 pumpkin carving workshop by a Guiness World Record holder).

This all takes place at the Dr. Pound Historical Farmstead, on five acres about 25 miles from Austin. A portion of proceeds from the event will benefit the Friends of the Pound House Foundation, which maintains the properties with necessary repairs. The most recent project the farmstead publicly shared was to replace a leaking roof and eliminate mold. The property is now considered a museum, which educates visitors about early settlers in the area through Dr. Joseph M. Pound, his wife, Sarah, and their nine children.

Following the spirit of this community-minded venue, there are several opportunities for visitors to attend at no cost, including free admission on Mondays (except October 10), with additional free days for first responders, medical personnel, veterans and active military, and educators.

The Dripping Springs Pumpkin Festival is open every day except Tuesdays, from September 24 to October 31. The festival opens at 10 am and closes at 7 pm. Tickets ($5 on weekdays, $10 on weekends) available at the festival and on Eventbrite. Information about schedules and activities is available at drippingspringspumpkinfestival.com.

Austin scoops up top 10 spot in list of best ice cream cities in U.S.

Ice Cream News

Fans of homegrown brands like Amy's Ice Creams or Lick Honest Ice Creams know that Austin has some of the best scoops in the country. So it's no surprise that on a recent list of the best (and worst) ice cream cities in America, Austin lands in the top 10.

The survey, compiled by real estate brokerage Home Bay, ranks 50 cities using factors such as the number of ice cream shops per capita, the price of a small cup or cone (using Ben & Jerry's as a benchmark), average annual temperature, and Google searches. Data sources include the U.S. Census Bureau, Yelp, and Google Trends.

The best
The best cities for ice cream have more shops (an average of 4.9 ice cream shops per 100,000 people), a high interest in ice cream (Google searches), and better prices, with a small cup of Ben & Jerry's averaging $4.47 versus the $4.50 residents pay in the average city.

Here's a surprise: Oklahoma City is America's best ice cream city, thanks to a high number of ice cream shops per capita as well as affordability.

Austin is the only Texas city in the top 10:

  1. Oklahoma City
  2. New Orleans
  3. Las Vegas
  4. San Jose, California
  5. Providence, Rhode Island
  6. Raleigh, North Carolina
  7. Salt Lake City
  8. Austin
  9. Boston
  10. Philadelphia

Way to go, Austin! This is what they say about Austin's ice cream scene:

Austin excels when it comes to appreciation of different ice cream styles. The city ranks third in our ice cream variety metric thanks to frequent searches for ice cream types and flavors. The slogan "Keep Austin Weird" is appropriate with so many locals going bananas: The city ranks first in online search interest for banana ice cream. Visitors can find two different types of banana ice cream — banana cream pie and strawberry banana — at local chain Amy's Ice Creams. Additionally, Austin has the seventh-warmest average temperature in our study, making ice cream especially appreciated as a sweet treat for relief from the heat.

And as a subset of this ice cream survey, San Antonio wins the No. 1 slot for Best Shaved Ice.

The worst
The bottom 10 cities have fewer ice cream shops, higher costs, and less ice cream interest in the topic, which they judge by the number of Google searches for topics such as "ice cream near me" and "ice cream flavors."

The 10 worst ice cream cities are as follows:

  1. Memphis, Tennessee
  2. Riverside, California
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. Miami
  5. Houston
  6. Baltimore
  7. Los Angeles
  8. Sacramento, California
  9. Dallas
  10. Jacksonville, Florida

These cities have only 2.2 ice cream shops per 100,000 people. The average city has 3.4 shops per 100,000 people. And Dallas has only 1.4 ice cream shops per 100,000 people.

Ice cream in these worst cities is also more expensive. A small cup of ice cream averages $4.80 in the bottom 10 cities, versus $4.50 for the average city in the study.

Ice cream in Missouri and Alabama is the cheapest: $3.99 for a small Ben & Jerry's cone. Washington, D.C. is the most expensive, at $5.35 for a cone.

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.

5 things to know in Austin food: Sushi restaurant reopens dining room after 2 years

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

One of Austin’s top Japanese restaurants has had a busy few months. Komé revived its airport concept Sushi A Go-Go in May, and now the Airport Boulevard restaurant is switching back from pandemic-era takeout to a full dining experience. The restaurant, which transitioned to takeout-only in March 2020, has been teasing an reopening date of sometime the week of July 11 on social media. More information is (likely) coming soon on Instagram.

Other news and notes

Jester King Brewery is releasing a twelfth batch of its Atrial Rubicite, which recently won gold in the Belgian Fruit Beer category in the 2022 World Beer Cup. To mark the occasion, the brewery is throwing a release party July 15, from 12 pm to 9 pm. The raspberry beer and snacks will be available for purchase, along with live music, tattooing by No Good Tattoo, a scavenger hunt, a tour with founder Jeffrey Stuffings. A full, long list of details can be found at jesterkingbrewery.com.

Speaking of fruit beers, Blue Owl Brewing is inviting Austinites to get away from the heat and enjoy beer floats, hold the root. Professor Black is a sour cherry stout that’s usually only available in fall and winter, and Tangerina is a vanilla and tangerine flavored milkshake sour IPA. Blue Owl already uses milk sugar (lactose) to smooth out its brews, so a scoop of ice cream isn’t too far fetched. Follow the July 17 event on Facebook, or just show up.

Whether you’ve mastered yoga and need a new challenge, or you need a literal kick in the pants to get started, Trudy’s Del Mar has generously hired some baby goats to get things going on July 17. Tickets include two house margaritas, beers, or wines ($35), and a yoga mat to take home if you need one ($45). Might be a good idea not to subject your Lululemon to this experience, anyway. There’s only one session from 9 am to 10 am, so get there early and stick around for Tex-Mex snacks later. Tickets are available at goatshenanigans.com.

One of Austin’s most theatrical bars, Tiki Tatsu-ya, is hosting a luau with the help of local outdoor apparel company Howler. Unsurprisingly, this event sounds like no-holds-barred camp, with a luau-style buffet, signature cocktails, customer collaborative merch, tiki glassware to take home. Consider reserving early for the two-day event on July 23 and 24. This bar is very buzzy, and fills up fast. Tickets (starting at $160) and more information are available on Resy.

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

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.