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Photo courtesy of Flower Child

Nine months after Fox Restaurant concepts announced a new Flower Child in the works, the new Westlake restaurant is ready to open on Tuesday, November 1. The Arizona-based concept is in 10 states and D.C.; the new location is the third Flower Child in Austin and the 11th in Texas.

The fast-casual restaurant specializes in holistic food made from scratch, which visitors order at the counter. Almost everything on the menu is dotted with at least one of three diet indicators — vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free — and the website points out a blanket tendency to keep paleo, keto, low-sugar, and other dietary considerations in mind.

Stylistically, it just gets wider from there. A cauliflower rice becomes “risotto” with the addition of maple coconut cream. Chicken enchiladas live in harmony with spicy Thai wraps with tofu and veggies. More Mediterranean treats like hummus, or a Greek yogurt and feta dip, join the American Cobb salad.

A new spot at 3300 Bee Caves Rd. situates the eatery among several others: both large fast food chains and smaller, but still casual restaurants. Flower Child is very similar to Modern Market Eatery, directly across the street, which serves similar “clean, nourishing and delicious food."

Where Modern Market seems to focus more on bowls, sandwiches, salads, and pizzas with straightforward American flavors, Flower Child digs deeper into more complicated flavors and an entrées-and-sides approach. Both rely on modular foods that are easy to customize and create quickly.

Flower Child’s other Austin locations are at Domain Northside (between Sephora and RH), and downtown on West 2nd Street. Despite the industrial genre conventions of fast-casual restaurants, these restaurants are homey and not identical to each other. As the name might suggest, Flower Child brings the outside in, with lots of plants and woven patio seating that close the gap between a quick meal in the middle of running errands to a warm catch-up with a practical friend.

The Westlake Hills Flower Child will open to the public on November 1. More information is available at iamaflowerchild.com.

Courtesy of Industry

Hospitality industry vets bring 'low-key healthy' restaurant to East Austin

East Austin Industry

Mid-October will see the opening of a new East Austin restaurant with what the founders describe as "low-key healthy" Texas fare. Harlan Scott and Cody Taylor, the names behind concepts like Cafe Josie, Valentino's in San Marcos, and Industry in San Marcos, are set to open a second location of Industry at 1211 E. Fifth St., Ste. 150 in just a few weeks.

According to a release, the name Industry comes from what Scott calls "the idea of celebrating the raw, authentic, and diverse lifestyle of servers and cooks and everyone in between." After thriving in the Austin industry for decades, Scott and Taylor opened Industry in San Marcos in hopes of enjoying a slightly slower pace. The restaurant is a "safe space" to break down the server/customer dynamic in an environment where people are being served by people who love their jobs, which is an ethos the pair will bring to the East Austin outpost.

“Great employee benefits including mental healthcare, fair wages, tip-share for the kitchen, and 40-hour work weeks are a priority for us,” Scott explains. “We don’t believe in the romantic notion of doubles and 70 hour work weeks; but we also hire people willing to make sacrifices from time to time to help out coworkers and the restaurant. The staff we have now, they “get it.” We think they will with Industry Eastside as well.”

Serving an all-day menu of tacos, burgers, hearty salads, and house-smoked meats in a casual atmosphere, Industry will have an all-scratch menu and counter service format. Menu highlights will include starters like blistered shishito peppers and green chile queso; heartier offerings like smoked chicken tacos and a smoked beet Reuben; and healthy alternatives like the Industry bowl, which will feature field greens, rice, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, pepitas, chevre, and a cashew honey vinaigrette.

And since you can't forget the drinks on an Austin menu, the new spot will offer weekday drink specials such as half-off margs, $4 whiskey Wednesdays, and happy hour pricing for ladies all night on Thursdays. A reverse happy hour from 10:30 pm to close will also be a draw on weekdays, as well as $2.50 mimosas on Sundays, which will pair with an "over-the-top brunch." Highlights of the latter will include a smoked cheeseburger Benedict; buttermilk biscuits and gravy; and Porky’s Pancakes with pork pastor, bacon, buttermilk pancakes, blackberry compote, and bourbon maple syrup.

Head to industrytx.com to learn more about Scott and Taylor’s philosophy behind the concept, and follow them on Instagram at @industryeastside for updates on the opening.

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H-E-B unveils merch for super fans, plus more hot Austin headlines

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. H-E-B unveils merchandise for brand super fans, available exclusively at one store. Kerrville was chosen to launch the company's new line of H-E-B-branded merchandise in celebration of its 117th anniversary.

2. Austin bar transforms into a magical winter wonderland this holiday season. Don your favorite elf socks and meet the lovely citizens of “Tinseltown.”

3. Draft 'Vision Plan' for Zilker Park unveils land bridge and more possibilities. Austinites are invited to comment on a vision plan that will inform the future of Zilker Park.

4. Austin ranks among world’s 100 best cities in prestigious new report. Austin is the No. 43 best city in the world, according to a new study. (And yes, we beat Dallas.)

5. Austin airport launches new SkySquad travel assistants in time for the holiday rush. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is keeping lines moving during a period of heavy travel with a new team of airport assistants.

Steven Spielberg opens up personal history in The Fabelmans

Movie Review

For over 40 years, director Steven Spielberg has been delivering some of the most popular blockbuster movies of all time as well as a bevy of Oscar-quality dramas, a combination that’s unique to him. For his latest, The Fabelmans, he’s decided to go more personal than ever, telling a thinly-veiled version of his own childhood.

Sammy (played mostly by Gabriel LaBelle) is one of four children – and the only son – of Mitzi (Michelle Williams), a concert pianist, and Burt Fabelman (Paul Dano), a computer engineer. From an early age, Sammy is enthralled by the art of filmmaking, first remaking a train crash sequence from The Greatest Show on Earth, and gradually moving on to more adventurous stories.

Burt’s advancing career, which moves the family from New Jersey to Arizona to California, causes stress for various members of the family, most notably Sammy and Mitzi. Sammy must deal with anti-Semitic bullies, while Mitzi falls deeper into a mental health crisis. Sammy’s movies continually offer a respite for the family, though, giving him a creative outlet and the rest of them a chance to forget their troubles for a while.

Written by Spielberg – his first writing effort since 2001’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence – and Tony Kushner, the film is heavy on emotions but presented in a way that those feelings don’t always translate. Spielberg is no stranger to depicting fraught family situations in his long career, but in showing ones from his own family, it feels like he pulled back, not wanting the scenes to be overwrought or schmaltzy.

The result is a story that isn’t as universal as some of his other films. As the film is told from Sammy’s perspective, it’s easy to get caught up in his pursuits and various discoveries as he gets older. The mindsets of the rest of the family are less clear, even though his parents and sisters are ever-present. Mitzi’s state of mind is a concern from the start, but it’s not always treated as such by other important characters.

Just as Sammy’s movies are an escape for his family, so too are they some of the best parts of the film. Sammy figuring out the process and secrets of filmmaking is informative and often thrilling, especially if you’re a cinephile. Spielberg has been considered a master for so long that watching him revisit the days when he was learning as he went is catnip for movie lovers.

In addition to being a dead ringer for a teenage Spielberg, LaBelle is a fantastic actor. It’s no easy feat to carry a movie on your shoulders, and LaBelle makes the assignment look easy. Williams’ performance will likely be more polarizing; she employs a very mannered speech pattern that works in some situations, but not all. The film also includes memorable short appearances by Seth Rogen, Judd Hirsch, and David Lynch.

Spielberg has provided the moviegoing public with such pleasure over the years that he deserves to have a movie that’s mostly for him. The initial viewing of The Fabelmans left this critic wanting, but perhaps it will gain more traction on a second screening.

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The Fabelmans is now playing in theaters.

Photo by Merie Weismuller Wallace/Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

Gabriel LaBelle in The Fabelmans

Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta acquires award-winning California resort

tilman goes laguna

Fans of Tilman Fertitta's nationwide hospitality brands are in for a treat. The Billion Dollar Buyer has just secured an award-winning, 30-acre resort in sunny Southern California.

Fertitta has purchased the acclaimed Montage Laguna Beach Resort Hotel, a premier beachfront property in the sunny SoCal getaway destination. Notably, the Montage Laguna Beach Resort Hotel is one of only six hotels in the U.S. to score the Forbes Triple Five-Star hotel status. The Montage has also been included among Travel + Leisure’s Top Hotels in the World.

Image courtesy of Montage Laguna Beach

Fertitta's newest purchase overlooks the ocean in Laguna Beach.

“I am truly thrilled to acquire this world-renowned property and add one of America’s most iconic trophy resorts to our luxury hotel portfolio,” Fertitta noted in a statement. “I have been traveling to Laguna Beach for over 30 years. It is one of my favorite places to visit and one of the most beautiful areas in the world. The Montage is a stunning oceanfront property and one of the premier hotel brands in the world.”

Press materials didn't list the property purchase price, but Law360 reports that the deal is in excess of $660 million.

The Craftsman-style resort sits on a coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Impressive amenities are highlighted by the 20,000-square-foot Spa Montage, which offers eucalyptus steam rooms, dry redwood saunas, ocean air whirlpools, fireplace lounges, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a movement studio, and a lap pool.

More outdoor fun includes two pools and direct beach access, a museum-quality fine art collection, and more than 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, per press materials.

Every resident space — the 260 guestrooms, including 60 suites, beach bungalow-style rooms, and multi-bedroom villas — boast stunning views of the Pacific.

Dining destinations offer chef-driven interpretations of coastal California flavors inspired by region. The property is designated and included in the distinctive Legend Collection of Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

“We are thrilled that Tilman is the new owner of this one-of-a-kind property and welcome him into the Montage family,” said Alan Fuerstman, founder, CEO, and chairman of Montage International. Mary Rogers, the Montage's GM added, “The staff is thrilled to be working with Tilman. Everyone here at the property is tremendously excited about his purchase and look forward to continuing to provide a world-class experience to all of our guests."

Aside from his palatial Post Oak Hotel in Houston, Fertitta also owns 14 other hotel properties around the country, including the award-winning San Luis Resort in Galveston, plus five popular Golden Nugget casino and hotel locations.

Another feather in Fertitta’s luxury portfolio cap is the iconic Huntting Inn, one of the most charming and historic locales in East Hampton, New York.

No stranger to California, Fertitta's presence there includes Catch Seafood and Catch Steak, Mastro’s Ocean Club and Mastro’s Steakhouse, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, The Palm, and more — all part of his 60 brands and more than 600 concepts nationwide.