11 things to know in Austin food right now: Combo bar, grill, and dog park is off-leash soon
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.
Austin is a great place to live if you like to bring your dog to lunch, but our furry friends are sometimes still more tolerated than invited. Things are different at MUTTS Canine Cantina. The dog park, bar, and grill franchise expands into Austin at 9825 N. Lake Creek Pkwy. in mid-June. Anyone can sit down for a meal or a drink — common outdoor grill selections like burgers, chicken tenders, and margaritas — but only members have access to the 1.6-acre dog park. There dogs enjoy a splash pad and being off-leash, while humans benefit from fire pits, bottle service, and staff to clean up after the dogs and make sure they're playing nice.
Freebirds World Burrito has been working through a huge expansion since 2021 and hasn't showed any signs of stopping. The newest location, opening May 30, will be in Kyle's Dry River District at 19220 IH 35 Frontage Rd., Suite 100. Although it's a little far from Austin, this halfway point to San Antonio means road trips will be a breeze. The counter service restaurant aims to get food to customers quickly without sacrificing "natural" ingredients. As usual, the first 25 guests in line for the opening day party (starting at 10:30 am) will receive a free burrito every week for a year.
Other news and notes
In the past few weeks, Austin restaurants have been in a flurry of new menus and leaders. TenTen, a sushi restaurant on West 6th announced new plant-based options with star ingredients like beet, eggplant, and asparagus. Geraldine's, at Hotel Van Zandt, is debuting a new menu that sticks to its Texas roots with strong Latin and Asian influences. It also announced a new guest chef series. The Roosevelt Room, one of Austin's top cocktail bars, welcomes Kyle Mulligan as its new executive chef, and shows off a new menu with small and large plates, plus desserts. Punch Bowl Social celebrates a new menu, while Z'Tejas introduces a new chef and directors, and The Carillon sips on a new wine program.
There's a new tequila coming out of Austin that can be enjoyed in 39 states in-store and online. Although La Caza, the company, is based in Austin, the tequila — in the three expected varieties of blanco, reposado, and añejo — is made in Jalisco by fifth-generation farmers. This spirit can't get much fancier after it is played Mozart during the distillation process and poured into hand-blown glass bottles. Guess you'll have to see if you can taste the difference.
The downside, if there is one, of Antonelli's Cheese Shop being so wildly popular is that the tasting events are often sold out. One on May 25 at The Driskill hotel still has plenty of spots left — for now. The guided tasting will introduce 75 guests to seven cheeses from around the world, all "responsibly sourced" according to the shop. They will be paired with charcuterie, pickles, chocolate, and wine, for two hours of interesting, varied bites from 7-9 pm. Reserve ($100) on Tock.
Gin Bar, a downtown cocktail bar featuring one spirit in particular, wants to get Austinites more acquainted with that juniper-based drink. It is kicking off a free gin education and tasting series starting on June 1 at 7 pm. Sipsmith Gin will join in to help celebrate National Olive Day. The rooftop gin bar on 6th Street is quietly tucked away, but features weekly events with neighbor restaurants, like Industry Night and a "Next Door B.O.G.O.," plus a daily happy hour. RSVP via Eventbrite.