It's been a good week for Austin grocery shoppers: First, a new 2-story H-E-B; now, the first of four Foxtrot locations has officially opened its doors. As of Friday, February 17, the brand's Burnet Road store is now serving customers, with a grand opening celebration coming up next Thursday, February 23.

Started in Chicago, Foxtrot's entry into the Austin market is actually a full-circle moment for the brand: Co-founders Mike LaVitola and Taylor Bloom met while studying and working in Austin. Much more than a convenient store, their brand combines big-city bodega vibes with your friendly neighborhood coffee shop, wine bar, and — when in-person interaction isn't your thing — pickup and delivery service through its user-friendly app.

The first of four planned Austin locations, the 2,500-square-foot Burnet location was designed by Foxtrot’s in-house design team in partnership with architect Scott Magic of Magic Architecture and general contractor Franklin Alan. The signage/mural painting was done by ION ART, and the fridge header art is by Katie Lukes & Paintings of Studio Bookmark

To celebrate its official opening, the Burnet store will host a Foxtrot fête on February 23; taking place from 4-7 pm, the party will feature bites from local vendors, live music, and lots of swag. Store visitors who download and use the Foxtrot app during opening week will get a free café drink during the month, in addition to various discounts and promotions. Members who spend $100 in a month get $1 coffee and free delivery.

Ahead of the grand opening celebration, CultureMap poked around the new store and connected via email with co-founder and CEO Mike LaVitola about all things Foxtrot.

CultureMap: How did you and Foxtrot co-founder Taylor Bloom first meet?
Mike LaVitola: [We] met while I was in business school and Taylor was at UT Austin finishing his Masters in Computer Science.

CM: How does it feel to bring the brand back to your Austin roots?
ML: Austin was the place where Taylor and I developed the idea for Foxtrot. We'd brainstorm ways of how we could build our app and how it would all work logistically. We eventually went on to pitch the Foxtrot concept at SXSW. It was a natural progression to finally open up shop here.

CM: Can you share what's unique about Foxtrot with our readers?
Foxtrot has created a first-of-its-kind omnichannel experience that seamlessly marries e-commerce technology, the feel-good community of neighborhood stores, and an expertly curated assortment for today’s modern consumer ... Foxtrot originally launched as a delivery app, created to modernize the nostalgic corner store experience by creating a digital-first e-commerce platform that fulfills customers’ daily needs — except instead of traditional corner store foods, we deliver the best of local purveyors alongside new, trending brands from around the world.

CM: Where and how are most of your products made?
ML: Each store sources products regionally, paying close attention to what local goods the community loves most. Our model allows us to place hyper local brands and products on our shelves from each city we operate in. 40 percent of our product assortment comes from small makers and emerging brands and we plan to keep it that way.

CM: It's clear your four Austin locations (Burnet Road; South 1st & Annie; City Hall; and Guadalupe, near UT Austin) were chosen strategically : Can you tell us your goals with each location?
ML: Our goal is to become a staple to the local communities we enter. From the onset, we start by finding great buildings we can repurpose in neighborhoods where we think we can make the biggest impact by providing our style of convenience and a space to gather.

CM: I know you have a Dallas location, too: Any other Texas plans?
ML: For now, we are focused on opening our three other Austin locations, but we are always looking for the next opportunity both in the Austin market and beyond.

Foxtrot Burnet Austin

Photo by Taylor Prinsen Photography

Foxtrot's first Austin store is now open on Burnet Road.

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Austin has the 3rd most active real estate market in the U.S. within the last decade

red-hot ATX

A new report has discovered Texas cities hold the top five most active real estate markets in the country, with Austin landing in third place. The study by storage marketplace StorageCafe reflects the city's resiliency over the last decade after a recent reported plummet in Austin's quality of life.

Austin had the third highest number of single-family home permits between 2013 and 2022, totaling 37,000 units. At the same time, the city also permitted over 98,700 new multi-family/apartment units. The massive influx of housing ultimately adds up to an impressive national surge.

On the industrial end, the Texas Capital also took the No. 3 spot in the country for the most square feet of new industrial space construction. Nearly 25 million square feet of new office space was erected in the last decade, further solidifying the city's standing as a top destination for business.

Outshining Austin in the list of real estate growth is Houston(No. 1), with 55,600 single-family homes permitted between 2013 and 2022, and nearly 90,000 multi-family units. San Antonio (No. 2) also outranked Austin with 34,000 single-family units and 8,500 new multi-family units.

The real estate markets in Fort Worth and Dallas respectively round out the top five.

The cities that complete the top 10 include:

  • No. 6 – Phoenix, Arizona
  • No. 7 – Jacksonville, Florida
  • No. 8 – Las Vegas, Nevada
  • No. 9 – Denver, Colorado
  • No. 10 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
The full report can be found on storagecafe.com.

Austinites can now rent pickleball and tennis courts around the city


Pickleball and tennis lovers are getting more access to underutilized courts in Austin. Swimply, an online provider that lets homeowners rent out their private pools by the hour, has now expanded their services to include sport courts.

"After disrupting the $15B private pool industry, other backyard spaces for rent was a logical next step," Swimply said in a press release. "Pickleball is a phenomenon and there aren't enough courts to meet demand ...Tennis, likewise, has historically been an exclusive leisure activity where people pay upwards of $100 an hour at private clubs for court time."

In addition to tennis and pickleball, basketball courts will also be listed for rent on the site, beginning at $25 an hour. There are nearly 200 total spaces listed in Austin, and over 300 courts available across their other popular markets in Houston, New York, and Los Angeles. Expansion is currently underway for their remaining markets around the nation by the end of the summer season.

Swimply founder and CEO Bunim Laskin said this new launch is a "game changer" for communities whose members want greater accessibility to recreational spaces.

"We're excited to offer this new opportunity for families and friends to have fun, exercise, and connect with each other in a safe, affordable, and convenient way," Laskin said. "Our mission has always been about democratizing access to exclusive spaces and creating positive social impact, and we believe that court rentals are a natural extension of that vision."

The service expansion also serves to improve access for those in low-income or marginalized communities, after a recent Trust for Public Land study said 100 million Americans can't access a park within a 10-minute walk from their homes.

Swimply is currently looking into expanding their recreational offerings to include backyards for events, music studios, and more.

7 things to know in Austin food right now: Pizza newcomer spreads wings for brunch, lunch, and happy hour

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.

Although Dovetail Pizza has been capturing Austinites' hearts since opening in November of 2022, it's still getting on its feet. Things are looking quite established now that the pizzeria is also offering lunch with sandwich specials, and even a weekend brunch with pizza sauce Bloody Marys and beignoli. (Presumably that's something between a beignet and a cannoli.) Both lunch and brunch will be served from 11 am to 3 pm on weekdays and weekends, respectively. A happy hour from Sunday to Thursday, 3-5 pm, will offer discounts and a new meatball sandwich.

Speaking of service extensions, both the Ramen Tatsu-ya on East 6th Street and Domo Alley-Gato are serving ramen later at night — when you really need it, if you ask us. The full menu at each will now be available until 11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, serving ramen later than any other Tatsu-ya location. The hospitality group has been focused on new locations for a while, so it's nice to see smaller changes coming to neighborhoods that have supported the restaurant for years.

Despite the low-brow beauty of some beer culture, it's still nice to enjoy some in a real fancy venue — say, The Driskill. The hotel's Beer Dinner Series is back on, introducing Austinites to new local beers alongside a five-course menu of pairings by Chef Alondra Martinez and Pastry Chef Kristen Groth. The first dinner of the returning series will be held on June 20, and will pair Thirsty Planet Brewery beers with grilled oysters, andouille sausage, quail, and more. The timing makes for a great Father's Day gift, if you're looking. Reserve ($80) on Tock.

Italian sandwich by Dovetail Pizza in Austin

Photo by Kati Luedecke

Dovetail pizza now offers brunch, lunch, a happy hour, and new menu items to tie it all together.

There will be plenty of opportunities to celebrate Pride Month in Austin throughout June, but a couple of coffee shop deals will make sure you have the energy to keep dancing. Abby Jane Bakeshop is using a brew by Sightseer Coffee, "Season of the Witch," to make espresso whoopie pies. Proceeds go to Out Youth for the organization's Transgender Wellness program. Another effort by Jo's Coffee has repackaged the house blend in limited-edition Pride Boxes that each drive a $2 donation to Equality Texas.

L'Oca d'Oro, the seasonal Italian restaurant in the Meuller neighborhood known for its progressive ideals as well as its delicious food, is wrapping up its recurring fundraising event, Pasta Paisanos, for the season. The monthly collabs have brought in great chefs from around Austin to drive donations to Lilith Fund, which provides funds and emotional supports to Texans seeking abortions. At the wrap-up event, in collaboration with alumni chefs Fermín Nunez and Angelo Emiliana, the restuarnat will also be celebrating its seventh anniversary and hopes to reach its $50,000 donation goal. Book at locadoroaustin.com.

Locals can always count on the Peached Tortilla for a menu with a theme. The restaurant, which is known for its extensive whiskey menu and "Asian comfort food with a Southern twist," actually already celebrates "Fried Chicken and Whiskey Wednesdays," which falls right on National Bourbon Day this year — the whiskey gods decreed it. Celebrate with umami fried chicken, mixed grilled corn with kimchi miso butter, kimchi mac and cheese, and "proper biscuits." The restaurant has 10 bourbons to choose from, and plenty more if the chicken sounds great but you're...not an observer of National Bourbon Day.