Photo couretesy of Torchy's Tacos.

Hill Country residents will be able to get some "Damn Good" tacos much closer to home, sooner than you think. Torchy’s Tacos is opening its very first New Braunfels location on March 1.

The Austin-founded taco chain that has opened more than 100 locations will give New Braunfels customers a sneak peek at their offerings before the official opening, with a preview party on February 27 from 5 to 8 pm. This free event will allow guests to explore the 4,000-square-foot restaurant and outdoor patio while sampling a variety of tacos, beer, beverages, and more. The new location will also feature a full-service bar that offers guests a wide menu of handcrafted cocktails and weekly happy hour specials.

To commemorate the grand opening, Torchy’s will offer the first 100 guests in line a limited edition “restaurant opening” t-shirt. The shirt will serve as the guest’s ticket to get free green chile queso at the new location for a year. The offer only extends to in-person and pick-up orders, though – online, app, delivery, and Doordash orders aren’t eligible for the deal.

Another highlight of the beloved chain is its ever-changing Taco of the Month option. A portion of the proceeds from the Taco of the Month goes to charitable organizations such as Make-a-Wish Foundation and MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Torchy's first New Braunfels restaurant, located at 229 FM 306, Suite 101, is the first in an anticipated 2023 Hill Country expansion. San Antonio is next on the list with a new opening on Hunt Lane scheduled for the end of March.

The restaurant's hours of operation will be:

  • Monday through Thursday from 10 am to 10 pm
  • Friday from 10 am to 11 pm
  • Saturday from 9 am to 11pm
  • Sunday from 9 am to 10 pm

More information about Torchy's Tacos is available at torchystacos.com.

Delicious Tamales Facebook

These San Antonio tamales are so delicious they had to make them twice...in Austin

cold tamale, hot tamale

Delicious Tamales, a San Antonio restaurant, already has one Austin outpost on East Oltorf street, but its first year in business has been so successful that another one is coming. The second Delicious Tamales will open at 1700 West Parmer Lane (near Metric Blvd) on March 2.

“Since we opened our first Austin location a little over a year ago at 1931 E. Oltorf, the response has been overwhelming, and customers have been asking us to open another location to the North,” said owner and president Valerie Gonzalez. ”After months of searching and several more months of construction, we are excited to begin providing families and businesses to the North with a more convenient location to buy fresh, authentic tamales all year round.”

Nothing can beat a simple pork tamale, but just to spice things up, this restaurant offers 13 permanent flavors. They're all wrapped in real corn husks in San Antonio, then shipped and cooked fresh at each location — that's 1,800 pounds of masa leaving the San Antonio kitchen each day. They can be purchased hot, or frozen to cook at home.

Best sellers include pork, chicken, and jalapeño-bean, while more adventurous and special diet-conscious options include a sweet blend with coconut, raisins, and pecans, or a Southwestern vegetarian blend with corn, black beans, and red bell peppers. Talk about being wrapped up in it — the entire menu is tamales.

Service starts at noon on opening day with a ribbon cutting by the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Although Delicious Tamales was born in San Antonio, Gonzalez and all six of her siblings went to the University of Texas at Austin. Her daughter, Herlinda Lopez, now serves as Vice President of the family business. It reaches out to the community with a veteran meal program, discounted tamales for reselling at school, church, or other group fundraisers, and a presence at local events.

More information about Delicious Tamales, including national shipping links, is available at delicioustamales.com.

Photo courtesy of sweetgreen

7 things to know in Austin food right now: 2 healthy fast casual chains make a home in Mueller

news you can eat

Update: A previous version of this story said Ike's Love & Sandwiches would host a grand opening on March 3. The company has changed the date of the event to March 9. It is already open to the public.

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.


We’ll always need more love and more sandwiches, so it’s good news that Ike’s Love & Sandwiches has opened a fifth Austin-area location, this time in the Mueller neighborhood at 1201 Barbara Jordan Boulevard #1210. This sandwich chain has an unbelievably long menu, especially noted for its many vegetarian, halal, and gluten-free options. Two sandwiches will be available exclusively at this new location: the “Mueller, Mueller” with chicken fried steak, Ike's Creamy Orange Buffalo Sauce, and cheddar cheese; and the “Sunny Came Home,” a vegetarian version with vegan fried chicken. There will be a grand opening celebration starting at 10 am on March 9, with $7.97 sandwiches for rewards members.

Sweetgreen, a staple counter service restaurant for Austinites who both love and tolerate salad, is opening a fourth location in the Mueller neighborhood "soon." The business started with three college students who wanted something accessible, but healthy, and the brand is still popular among the same demographic. The menu combines leafy greens, grains, fruit, proteins, starches, and more well-balanced spreads — not that a cheeseburger can't also do it, but sometimes a bowl is best. The brand also voices a commitment to animal welfare and becoming carbon neutral by 2027. The location is part of the new development in the Mueller neighborhood, across from the park amphitheater.

Sweetgreen salad
Photo courtesy of sweetgreen

Sweetgreen's salads and bowls make a refreshing lunch fast and inexpensive.

Other news and notes

Este, known for coastal Mexican cuisine, is inviting in some Filipino influence for a “Panaderia” morning pop-up on February 24 from 8-11 am. Pastry chef Derrick Flynn and his team are serving up pan de ube, beef asado siopao, leche flan croissant, and more. This takes place in Este’s event space, Bar Toti, and an Instagram post has shown that the inaugural bake sale will be popular, so interested shoppers should arrive early.

One of Austin’s longest-running top restaurants, La Condesa, is celebrating its 14th birthday. Try Hard Coffee owner Raechel Hurd was part of the Condesa pastry team before opening the coffee and record shop, so she’s returning with a live vinyl DJ, coffee specials, and cocktails. Chef Rick Lopez contributes brunch dishes like conchas, breakfast tortas, and chilaquiles. The celebration on February 25 and 26, from 11 am to 2 pm, benefits The Perez Family Farm: El Diamante in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Reserve at lacondesa.com.

If your dream is to leave the regular 9-to-5 for a more beer-heavy lifestyle, Meanwhile Brewing is hosting a job fair in the hopes to “diversify the Texas craft brewing industry,” says a release. On March 1 from 10 am to 1 pm, meet industry professionals and members of Texas Craft Brewers Guild, the event organizer. Some of the listed opportunities include general managers, marketing professionals, data analysts, drivers, and packing technicians. RSVP at texascraftbrewersguild.org.

The historicDriskill hotel is hosting its grand Texas Independence Day festivities on March 2 from 4-7 pm. The food and drinks are just part of it (including two rescued longhorns, but we're going to stay focused): sparkling water courtesy of Rambler Sparkling Water, complementary tastings by Independence Brewing, William Chris Vineyards, and Desert Door Texas Sotol (hailing from Driftwood), brisket slides or grapefruit salad by Mark Dayanandan, lots of dessert bites by pastry chef Kristen Groth, plus specials at 1886 Cafe & Bakery like Texas chili and Texas "caviar" (bean salad).

Hank's Austin, a sunny Southern restaurant up in Northeast Austin, knows all about the Tuesday slump. It’s bringing some life back to the weekday by offering half-off deals on all bottles of wine every Tuesday going forward, recommending the Valmorena Barbera D'Asti and the Antinori Il Bruciato Super Tuscan. It’s also celebrating its fifth anniversary on April 15 from 10 am to 3 pm with a bounce house, cotton candy, and donations to the Austin Humane Society.

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Extravagant estate in West Austin hits the market for $4.25 million, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. From a contemporary castle to show business, Austin was ready to be entertained. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. Extravagant estate in West Austin hits the market for $4.25 million. Look inside the stone behemoth with five bedrooms, a 60-inch cooking range, and an ornately-shaped pool.

2. 8 Austin entrepreneurs rank among Forbes' richest self-made women for 2023. With an estimated net worth at $4.8 billion, Thai Lee, of Austin, remains at the top of the list in Texas.

3. Controversial comedian Dave Chappelle plots out 4 Texas arena shows, including Austin. Since Chappelle's been in hot water, no cellphones, cameras, or recording devices will be allowed.

4. Austin pedals into the 5th-best ranking for naked biking among U.S. cities. Even though Austin is a great place to take a nude ride, locals will have to travel to Houston to participate in September.

5. Cheers cast reunites in Austin, plus more highlights from the ATX TV Festival. Austinites heard from stars, showrunners, writers, and more. Plus, visitors got to see some show previews.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shuttered Salvation Army shelter in downtown Austin will get new life

Salvation Army

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

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

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

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

Urban Alchemy will get more than $4 million.

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

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


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