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. 2 Hollywood celebrities dined at one of Austin’s best restaurants this week. While most Austinites cozied up at home this week, these famous spouses ate at an award-winning restaurant before a screening of their new film.

2. Austin's flagship Kendra Scott store transforms into mini-Museum of Ice Cream for Valentine's Day. Here's one sweet collaboration you won't want to miss — and it launches this weekend!

3. Texas scores top ranking among best states for dating, says new report. This Valentine’s Day is for the unattached, and it turns out Texas is a pretty great place to be single.

4. This Tesla rental service got me from Austin to Houston, despite my best efforts. A Tesla is a smooth ride, and the UFODrive self-service process ensures a smooth trip — if you pay attention.

5. Here are the top 5 things to do in Austin this weekend. Festive (fictional) funerals, demon barbers, live podcasts, and more reasons to venture out as the weather warms up this weekend.

Courtesy of Tesla

Tesla's Austin headquarters files for $800 million campus expansion

Tesla News

Tesla appears to be planning to add to its Austin manufacturing facility, based on documents filed with the State of Texas.

Tesla's facility is already massive, clocking in at more than 10 million square feet for both battery and vehicle manufacturing. The "Gigafactory" campus also serves as Tesla's headquarters.

Now, Tesla has filed a series of plans with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) to construct proposed additions at the campus. The six filings, registered between December 20, 2022, and January 10, 2023, total $833,700,000 and 1.7 million square feet of additional space.

Half of the filings propose starting work at the end of this month.

View the filings below:

  • $58 million for 174,979 square feet of new construction (filed December 20, 2022)
  • $3.7 million for 2,560 square feet of new construction (filed January 9)
  • $85 million for 423,032 square feet of new construction (filed January 9)
  • $260 million for 321,186 square feet of new construction (filed January 9)
  • $368 million for 693,093 square feet of new construction (filed January 9)
  • $59 million for 107,468 square feet of new construction (filed January 10)

The permits don't say what the various buildings would be used for.

As with all projects, information in the TDLR can change throughout the development process.


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

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Here are the top five things to do in Austin this weekend

Weekend Event Guide

A mix of live entertainment and interactive happenings rank high on our agenda for the next few days. Get inspired at the Austin Spring Home + Garden Show, or enjoy an illuminating and reflective evening with family at the Water Lantern Festival. Check out the top five things to do in Austin this weekend. For a full list of events, visit our calendar.

Thursday, March 23

Austin History Center Association presents Our Austin Sound: Women of Antone’s
Celebrate some of the women who have defined local entertainment at this special event supporting the Austin History Center. Guests can enjoy discussions and intimate performances by Marcia Ball, Lou Ann Barton, Sue Foley, Ruthie Foster, Eve Monsees, and special guest Susan Antone. Zach Ernst will serve as the evening’s moderator. View ticketing options on the event website.

Friday, March 24

Austin Spring Home + Garden Show
All things home and garden return to the Palmer Events Center for another annual installment. This year’s three-day spring show will feature a variety of home-related products and services, displays, informative sessions from industry experts, interactive exhibits, and more. Attendees can also enjoy live discussions with YouTuber and home improvement expert April Wilkerson on Saturday and Sunday. For tickets and more information, click here.

The Austin Symphony presents "Song of the Night"
Enjoy composer Gustav Mahler's exquisite Symphony No. 7 (Song of the Night) live at the Long Center for the Performing Arts. This rare program, conducted by Peter Bay, is part of the Long Center’s ongoing Masterworks Series. Tickets for both nights are still available.

Saturday, March 25

Water Lantern Festival
Photo courtesy of Water Lantern Festival

The Water Lantern Festival takes place this weekend.

Water Lantern Festival
Bring friends and family to Mueller Lake Park for another year of Water Lantern Festival fun. Highlights of the evening include a vendor market, live music, food, activities, and the chance to witness thousands of lanterns reflected upon the water after sunset. For a full schedule of events and to buy tickets, go to the festival website.

Chris D'Elia in concert
Comedian Chris D’Elia comes to ACL Live & 3TEN at ACL Live for two back-to-back shows on one night only. He’s best known for his podcast Congratulations with Chris D'Elia and has three comedy specials on Netflix. Seating for both performances is still available.

6 things to know in Austin food right now: Asian-Southern fusion leader to open new Cedar Park location

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.


From a food truck to a culinarily adventurous neighborhood restaurant, The Peached Tortilla has become something of a staple in the Austin food scene. A blend of Asian and Southern American comfort foods 13 years in the making, the menu is available at three locations across Austin, with a fourth coming to Cedar Park in late 2023 at 1915 East Whitestone Boulevard. The new location will seat 82 inside and 38 outside on the patio, will look similar to the locations Austinites are already familiar with, and will feature the same menu items before adding more that are specific to the new location.

Michelin starred chef Curtis Stone, who operates the restaurant Georgie in Dallas, is working to democratize the private chefexperience. A platform he co-created, Gathar, launched into Austin’s gig economy during South by Southwest (SXSW) at a secret house party, and plans to expand to Houston and Dallas later, as well as Florida. Instead of organizing around specific chefs, the website offers menus with small customizations like choosing between one appetizer or another. The most visible meals without filters are event-based and charge per person (as low as $35), but there are also options available for at-home meal prep (starting at $610, but coming out to about $25 per serving). Book at gathar.com.

Austinites who love a free group workout are likely familiar with Swift Fit Events, which offers yoga, cardio, and even fireside tarot at easily accessible downtown locations. The group is opening a new "wellness oasis" at 918 Congress Avenue, which includes a nonalcoholic cocktail bar, Sans Bar. One Sans Bar location already exists on East 12th, where it offers cocktails, tours, events, and even classes for aspiring nonalcoholic mixologists. The space will be open to the public on Fridays starting at 5 pm, from March 31 on.

Other news and notes

James Beard Award-winning chefIliana de la Vega is hosting Mexico City chef Billy Maldonado of Fónico at El Naranjo, one of Austin’s most acclaimed Mexican restaurants. On March 23, Chef Maldonado takes charge of five of six courses including a ceviche, a local fish with beans and habañero ash, a pork chop with spicy broccoli puree, and vegetarian alternatives. The 8:30 seating still has space. Reserve ($110) at elnaranjorestaurant.com.

The always-anticipatedButcher’s Ball is back in Round Top on March 24 and 25. All the ingredients have been sourced from within 100 miles of the Central Texas town, so Austinites can enjoy some foods local to them, plus some in farther reaches east at just half the drive. In addition to cocktails and bites by celebrated Houston chefs, there will be live music and a fun barn atmosphere. A few tickets (starting at $175) remain available on Eventbrite.

It's pretty easy to get a beer with dinner, but The Driskill is escalating things to a multi-course affair as it is wont to do. It's rebooting its Beer Dinner Series on March 28 with help kicking it off from (512) Brewing Company, later leading to a four-part summer series in June. This installation will pair four beers (half IPAs) with salmon tartare, burrata and citrus salad, osso buco, and chocolate and peanut butter semifreddo. Tickets ($80) are available on Tock.

Willie Nelson receives prestigious honor and inaugural endowment at UT Austin

Willie forever

Willie Nelson has earned countless awards for his seven-decade music career, but the legend is also well known for his activism — particularly in the areas of farming and food security. In recognition of his longtime advocacy work, the LBJ Foundation will present its most prestigious honor, the LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award to Nelson this spring.

The award will be presented at a special gala tribute dinner on Friday, May 12, 2023, which in turn will benefit the newly established Willie Nelson Endowment for Uplifting Rural Communities at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, a part of The University of Texas at Austin.

According to a release, the endowment will fund research and student fellowships focused on sustainable agriculture, eliminating hunger, resilient energy, sustainable water, and natural disaster recovery to benefit rural and farm communities.

Along with Neil Young and John Mellencamp, Nelson organized the first Farm Aid concert in 1985 to raise funds for struggling farmers, which has since raised over $70 million for those who own and operate family farms throughout the United States. He has also helped raise millions around disaster relief, for families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks and for veterans, as well as working toward environmental and animal advocacy, and voting rights. His Luck Family Foundation provides financial grant assistance and other resources to artists, organizations, and programs in need, donating proceeds from Luck Reunion events to Farm Aid and other longtime charity partners like the Texas Food & Wine Alliance.

“Willie Nelson is a national treasure who gained fame through his sheer musical talent and won hearts as someone who truly cares about the lives of his fellow Americans," says Larry Temple, Chairman of the LBJ Foundation Board of Trustees, via release. "A product of rural Texas, Willie has never forgotten where he comes from. His longtime efforts to raise money and awareness for family farmers through Farm Aid and numerous other endeavors to help those in need throughout his career make him a true inspiration.”

The dinner will honor Nelson's lifelong support for rural communities, embodying President Lyndon Baines Johnson's commitment to public service, particularly in the areas of farming and food security. With their similar backgrounds as rural Texans, both President Johnson and Nelson shared a keen awareness of the struggles of those who work in the agricultural industry.

“The bounty of the earth is the foundation of our economy," President Johnson shared in a 1965 Special Message to Congress on Agriculture. "Programs in every aspect of our nation’s life depend on the abundant harvests of our farms.”