Photo courtesy of Waterloo Greenway Conservancy

A comprehensive revitalization plan for Waller Creek is now in its second phase, continuing construction of a 1.5-mile greenway from Waterloo Park to Lady Bird Lake. The project is the next step in an ongoing collaborative effort between nonprofit Waterloo Greenway Conservancy and the City of Austin’s Watershed Protection and Parks and Recreation departments.

This second phase, fittingly named The Confluence, will be located at the center of several downtown Austin recreational attractions, including the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, the Austin Convention Center, Rainey Street District, and more.

“The Confluence will directly connect people with one of the most beautiful natural areas in Austin, as well as some of our city’s most beloved cultural and historic destinations,” said Mayor Kirk Watson in a statement. “The City of Austin is proud to partner with Waterloo Greenway to inject new life into this section of Waller Creek through this legacy project, which will benefit our community for generations to come.”

Some highlighted features of The Confluence include:

  • Three pedestrian suspension bridges
  • A universally-accessible pedestrian and bike trail that connects 4th Street to Lady Bird Lake
  • An 800-foot boardwalk under Cesar Chavez Street
  • Public green spaces that can be used for community gatherings, such as Lagoon Overlook, Explorer Garden, and Lakeview Terrace
  • The planting of 1,550 new trees and 200,000 mature plants to help improve air quality downtown and reduce greenhouse gas emissions

In the release, Waterloo Greenway CEO Jesús Aguierre explained how The Confluence will “completely transform” the area between Waller Creek and Lady Bird Lake, while reconstructing sections of fallen creek banks that have eroded after decades of flooding.

“The Confluence will … [restore] the health of the creek and [give] visitors new green spaces to explore, gather in, and enjoy, in one of the densest and fastest growing parts of Downtown Austin,” said Aguirre. “Our mission at Waterloo Greenway is to create a connected urban park system that promotes the wellbeing of our community, our environment and our local economy — and the groundbreaking of The Confluence represents the next step in delivering on that promise to the people of Central Texas.”

Phase II of the Waterloo Greenway project is expected to be completed by the end of 2025, after which they will begin their final phase of revitalizing Palm Park and complete the 1.5-mile park system.

More information about Waterloo Greenway can be found on their website.

With no more events at Austin's Frank Erwin Center, it may be time to bring down the house

Sledgehammer, Wrecking Ball, etc.

The Frank C. Erwin Jr. Center's time on the side of Interstate 35 appears to be coming to an end.

Later this week, the University of Texas System's Board of Regents will meet to discuss demolishing the 500,000-square-foot arena, as well as the 44,000-square-foot Denton A. Cooley Pavilion next door.

According to an item on the board's agenda, the demolition of the two facilities would make room for expansion of the Dell Medical Center. The full demolition is estimated to cost $25 million, and the university hopes to finish the demolition project by October 2024.

Built in 1977, the Frank Erwin Center served as the arena for Texas Men's and Women's basketball games, as well as a concert venue and the location for UT's individual college graduations. The Denton A. Cooley Pavilion, built in 2003, has served as a basketball training facility.

Way back in December 2018, the board of regents voted to approve a new events arena to replace the Frank Erwin Center. In November 2019, the new arena got its name: Moody Center.


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

Photo courtesy of KVUE

Highly anticipated Austin skyscraper only half as tall as planned

not-so-tall order

What would have been the tallest skyscraper in the State of Texas has been cut in half to only 45 stories tall.

The Wilson Tower, which was first proposed in November 2022, was originally proposed to house 450 apartments, reach 1,035 feet in height, and break ground in the summer. Now five months later, the plans have been altered and the tower will only reach 45 stories.

The shortened plan comes three months after the tower failed to receive approval from the City of Austin's Design Commission to begin construction.

The denial from the commission, which was a nearly unanimous vote, required Wilson Capital, architect HKS Inc. and landscape architect Nudge Design to revise the project. The only board member who did not vote was Commissioner David Carroll. The rest of the board members stated that the skyscraper did not meet Austin's urban design standards.

Those standards included how the skyscraper would interact with the public and the floor-to-area ratio. The standard floor-to-area ratio is 8:1, and the developer requested 23:1.


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

Photo courtesy of LawnStarter

Austin digs up 8th best ranking nationwide for urban gardening, says report


Most Austinites probably started or picked back up on a hobby during the pandemic: crocheting, caring for houseplants, or reading, just to name a few. But now that we’ve adjusted, Austinites are focusing their attention on one hobby in particular: urban gardening.

In fact, Austin was ranked the No. 8 overall best city for urban gardening in a new report from local lawn care company LawnStarter. If you’re not familiar with the activity, it's about repurposing unused areas into green spaces for growing food or plants. Think of vertical plant walls, modular farming units, or the Central Austin Public Library’s rooftop garden. The 13.7-acre, green-focused transformation plans for Brodie Oaks also fits the bill.

The report is a way to commemorate April as Lawn and Garden Month (although we mostly recognize April as Earth Month). They compared 200 of the nation’s largest cities across four categories and 12 different metrics, such as easy access to gardening space, climate, number of gardening communities, and more.

Austin ranked No. 4 for the number of community food forests in the area and No. 2 for the highest number of local gardening social groups. In the category of the average annual number of cold days, the city came in at No. 66. And in the number of nurseries and gardening-supply stores per square mile, Austin ranked No. 93.

The top 10 best cities for urban gardening are:

  • No. 1 – New York City
  • No. 2 – Atlanta
  • No. 3 – San Francisco
  • No. 4 – Portland, Oregon
  • No. 5 – Tampa, Florida
  • No. 6 – Seattle
  • No. 7 – Miami
  • No. 8 – Austin
  • No. 9 – Pasadena, California
  • No. 10 – Orlando
If you live in an area with few or no community gardens, there are some alternatives. Kathy Kelley, a professor of horticultural marketing and business management at Penn State, says city dwellers can use their small patios or balconies to grow herbs and small fruits.

"Containers work for outdoor and indoor gardening, but there are many planters that will fit over outdoor balcony railings if there is a lack of floor space," she said. "There are lightweight containers that attach to glass for indoor gardening that can be used to grow microgreens, herbs, and small houseplants. Hanging baskets will also work for areas with limited floor space."

She also suggests trying out small hydroponic systems that require minimal effort.

"[They] only require homeowners to plug the unit in to an electrical socket, fill it with water, add fertilizer every other week, insert seed pods, and wait for flowers to bloom or plants to be ready for harvest," she added.

The report can be found on lawnstarter.com.

Austin, Texas - Your City Government/Facebook

New Red River development will double affordable housing units in downtown Austin

Affordable Living

As Austin continues to grow and real estate continues to get pricier, the city council is stepping in. On September 29, Austin City Council approved “full negotiations” to transform a piece of city-owned property on downtown's Red River Street, the former site of HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital. The project will make 232 units available for affordable housing, according to a news release.

The project is being negotiated between affordable and mixed-income business Capital A Housing, affordable housing nonprofit the NHP Foundation, and real estate developers Aspen Heights. The project at 1215 Red River St. and 606 E. 12th St. comprises multiple towers, and targets mixed-income residents, a tactic that aims to diversify the complex rather than creating a socio-economic bubble.

The approval allows negotiations for the Master Development Agreement (MDA), which will ultimately lead to a final approval back in the council. The lease under negotiation lasts 99 years, and should be finalized by spring of 2023 for a summer of 2027 delivery target.

Located near the newly revamped Waterloo Park and a Project Connect light rail line to come, this property has potential to be one of the most connected in the city. The neighborhood is easily walkable to most places downtown, and even some parts of East Austin. It is just up the street from some of the city’s busiest nightlife, a third of a mile from Mohawk, the northernmost of the densely situated Red River music venues.

“We are thrilled to join this project to help deliver an unprecedented level of affordable housing,” said CEO of Capital A Housing Fayez Kazi in the release. “[It] will double the number of income-restricted units in downtown Austin.” The city currently manages 233.

The residential towers contain a total of 921 units, with more than a quarter reserved for low-income Austin families. Of those 232 units, half have more than one bedroom — 90 with two bedrooms, and 23 with three bedrooms. These are all within the 27-floor south tower.

All of the previous hospital site will be redeveloped, and the project will take up almost the whole block. This includes amenities such as a 30,000-square-foot plaza, a food hall, a business incubator, and onsite childcare deemed “affordable.” In keeping with the neighborhood’s musical traditions, an onsite music venue will offer rent below the market rate.

Breaking with some of the uglier history in the area, this development attempts to balance out some of the errors of the '60s, when the city displaced 475 households for the Brackenridge Hospital, the Frank Erwin Center, parking, and the same park new residents will be able to enjoy outside their door. The release points out that while 218 families were displaced, this project gives back the same number of affordable housing units, plus an additional 14.

“It’s important to remember this history of this area,” said Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison. “The urgent need to reconcile those bad decisions is what drove me to push my colleagues to give our city staff more time to kick the tires on this proposal… .”

Mayor Steve Adler commented on the plans, noting the substantial increase of affordable housing. "We need more,” he said, “but this is an important step.”

More information about the project is available at austintexas.gov.

Photo by Dani Parsons

7 things to know in Austin food right now: Classic San Marcos pizza joint returns

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.


Movie pitch: a third-generation pizza joint gets reincarnated in its original building in San Marcos. It’s true! Valentino’s served the community for more than 35 years in a century-old building at 110 North LBJ Dr., before suddenly closing in 2018. The interior has been completely rebuilt, but owners Harlan Scott and Cody Taylor repurposed what they could and stayed true to the original menu (“pizza, salad, subs, wings, and the famous Valentino’s cheese breadsticks”). The new-old restaurant is open Sunday through Wednesday from 11 am to 11 pm, and until midnight all other days, selling slices until 3 am.

One unique Austin restaurant, plant-based gastropub the Beer Plant, is launching another August 25. Named Tellus Joe by day and simply Tellus by night, this Oaxacan restaurant and bar is completely plant-based while staying true to regional cuisine. Tellus Joe is keeping things casual with organic coffee, pastries, and breakfast tacos, while Tellus turns up the atmosphere for finer dining featuring tlayudas, aguachile negro, and cauliflower steaks with carrot mole. The restaurant at 3108 Windsor Rd. is very small; reservations should be made by phone or email (512- 220-0459 or reservations@tellusjoe.com).

Other news and notes

Cookie baker Tiff’s Treats and sign maker — uh, Tex-Mex restaurant — El Arroyo are teaming up to deliver cookies in style. El Arroyo signs featuring cookie one-liners will be printed as stickers for all one and two dozen cookie boxes starting August 25. The Tiff’s Treats truck will also make a stop at the restaurant from 10 am to 7 pm that day, handing out free cookies and delivery coupons. Photo opps are, of course, promised.

[Updated from last week's food news, which included the wrong date.] August 26 is National Dog Day, and surely in a place like Austin there will be plenty to do. Here’s one: Asian smokehouse Loro and dog treat makers the Pawstin Barkery are teaming up to provide free gourmet dog snacks on the restaurant’s patio, while they last. They’re made with peanut butter, bananas and Loro beef tallow. Loro is an easy place to eat with dogs year-round, and serves barbecue by James Beard award-winning chefs Tyson Cole and Aaron Franklin.

The ever-classy Watertrade cocktail bar announced a new bar manager in Nadia Hernandez, and a new cocktail menu along with her. The menu is inspired by the sekki, 24 short seasons used to organize agriculture, and includes a wide variety of alcohols and even some nonalcoholic spirits. The bar is more accessible than Otoko, the sushi restaurant where it resides, which now lends some hosomaki rolls (small maki rolls) so bar patrons can taste the fish, too.

September is National Bourbon Heritage Month, so Garrison Brothers Distillery is going on tour. Restaurants and bars nationwide are incorporating the distillery’s Small Batch or HoneyDew Bourbon into limited edition dishes and cocktails. Five Austin locations are participating: Eureka!, III Forks Steakhouse, and Blue Corn Harvest in Georgetown, Cedar Park, and Leander. Follow the itinerary and track your progress on the Bourbon Takeover of America Passport app.

It’s fun to indiscriminately inhale tacos, but why not kick it up a notch and learn something? Tacos of Texas, a podcast by James Beard nominee Mando Rayo, launched its second season on August 16, and has already covered the “intersection of tacos and music,” focusing on “screwmbia,” and LGBTQ+ taco lovers. Airing on Tuesdays, this KUT and KUTX joint production will explore culture through tacos in 12 more episodes this season. Listen on kutkutx.studio.

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4 Austin-inspired cocktail recipes to whisk you away from the Texas heat this summer


Now that summer weather has arrived in Austin, we can tell you’re thirsting for some new drinks to try. And with World Gin Day coming up on June 10, we’re sharing a few recipes from local Austin restaurants (and Austin’s favorite Topo Chico!) we hope you’ll enjoy.

The following recipes feature some of our favorite ingredients or mixers we’re loving at the moment. Whether your drink of choice is a cocktail or mocktail, we’ve gathered four bright and bubbly beverages to help whisk you away from the Texas heat. And if you prefer to drink them rather than make them, three of these lovely libations can be found on the seasonal summer menus at their respective restaurant.

Aba’s Rhubarb Rose Gin and Tonic
This cocktail was created by Senior Beverage Manager Thomas Mizuno-Moore.

½ oz lime juice
¼ oz honey syrup
½ oz Fruitful Mixology rhubarb liqueur
¾ oz Brockmans Gin
¾ oz Hendrick’s Flora Adora
2 oz tonic water
Rosebud tea, for garnish


  • Combine lime juice, honey syrup, Fruitful Mixology rhubarb liqueur, Brockmans Gin and Hendrick’s Flora Adora in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, shake until cold.
  • Add tonic water to the shaker, then strain over fresh ice in a double old fashioned glass.
  • Garnish with rosebud tea and enjoy!

Blueberry Sparkler Mocktail by Topo ChicoBecause everyone needs a good go-to mocktail recipe in their life.Photo courtesy of Topo Chico

Blueberry Sparkler Mocktail by Topo Chico
This beverage might not be gin-themed, but it does make a great refreshing mocktail. If you don’t have Topo Chico Sabores on hand, you can substitute it with sparkling water.

1 Blueberry Topo Chico Sabores
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ cup water
½ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
Lemon slices and additional blueberries, for garnish

Blueberry Syrup Directions:

  • In a small saucepan, combine the blueberries, sugar, and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the blueberries are soft and the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the blueberry mixture to cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Once cooled, use a fine-mesh strainer to strain the blueberry mixture into a bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the solids and set the blueberry syrup aside.

Mocktail Directions:

  • In a cocktail shaker, combine 1 ounce of the blueberry syrup, and lemon juice. Fill the shaker with ice and shake well until chilled, about 15-20 seconds.
  • Fill a glass with ice and strain the mixture into the glass. Top off the glass with Blueberry Topo Chico Sabores (or sparkling water) and give it a gentle stir to mix.
  • Garnish with lemon slices and additional blueberries, if desired. Enjoy your refreshing Blueberry Sparkler!

Tillie's seasonal summer cocktailThis colorful cocktail is a lively take on a gin martini.Photo courtesy of Tillie's at Camp Lucy

Empress Gin Martini by Tillie’s at Camp Lucy
This martini recipe was developed by Paolo Lazarich, the mixologist for Abbey Row Restaurant at The Old Bell Hotel in the United Kingdom. Fun fact: Camp Lucy owners Kim and White Hanks also own The Old Bell Hotel, which is rumored to be England’s oldest hotel.

3 oz Empress 1908 Gin
1 oz dry vermouth
Splash of lemon juice
Lemon and rosemary for garnish


  • Add the Empress 1908 Gin, dry vermouth, and lemon juice to a glass and stir gently.
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge and a sprig of rosemary. Enjoy.

\u200bSummertime Spritz by Dean's Italian Steakhouse There's nothing like a summer spritz.Photo courtesy of Dean's Italian Steakhouse

Summertime Spritz by Dean's Italian Steakhouse
This recipe is geared toward a mixologist who enjoys the little details that make a cocktail so unique, such as making their own oleo saccharum or curating the perfect flower as a garnish.

½ oz lemon juice
½ oz strawberry oleo saccharum
¼ oz Aperol
¼ oz Giffard Abricot
1.5 oz Zephyr Gin
2 oz Brut champagne
1 each cocktail flower


  • Combine all ingredients except Brut champagne into a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously, about 15-20 seconds.
  • Fill a wine glass with ice and add the Brut. Fine strain the cocktail into the glass.
  • Garnish with the cocktail flower

Extravagant estate in West Austin hits the market for $4.25 million


An imperial estate in the Lost Creek neighborhood of West Austin has become the latest addition to the city's stabilizing real estate market. The property was listed at $4.25 million.

The magnificent three-story home was originally built in 2009, making great use of Austin's Hill Country views that can be seen from every single room. The home spans 8,215 square feet on just over two acres of land, surrounded by lush trees and enclosed with a private gated entrance.

Natural light floods the inside of the home, highlighting intricate details and complimenting the high ceilings. The home boasts five bedrooms, four bathrooms, and three half-baths. The primary suite is reminiscent of an upscale resort, containing its own spa-like bathroom, walk-in closets, and access to a private balcony.

In the kitchen, the 60-inch wolf range is an aspiring chef's dream. The area has plenty of space and storage with its rich brown cabinets, a sub-zero refrigerator, a cabinet-mounted wine rack, two sinks, and more.

8105 Talbot Lane in AustinThe 60-inch wolf range is an aspiring chef's dream.Photo courtesy of JPM Real Estate Photography

A few other highlights of the home include a game room, media room, terraces, and a resort-style pool deck with an accompanying hot tub, kitchen, and fire pit. The two-car garage also includes a guest suite above it, with a single bedroom, kitchenette, and half bath.

Looking into the property's history, it was listed in June 2022 for $4.9 million, which was reduced to $3.9 million by September. The home was reported as sold in October of that year before being re-listed for its current $4.25 million price in 2023.

8105 Talbot Lane in Austin

Photo courtesy of JPM Real Estate Photography

The estate is located at 8105 Talbot Lane in West Austin.

The estate is located at 8105 Talbot Lane, which is a brief 10 minutes from downtown Austin, and is zoned for the highly-esteemed Eanes Independent School District. The listing is held by agent Wade Giles of Douglas Elliman.

Uchi spinoff to debut "whisky omakase," bar pairings, and bao in Austin

Raising the Bar

Uchibā isn't a new concept, nor is it newly promised to Austin, but it's finally getting closer to becoming a reality. The bar and restaurant spinoff from Uchi (translated as "Uchi Bar") announced today that it is set to open in late summer in the Google Tower.

Hai Hospitality, the parent group of famous omakase restaurant Uchi, more casual sushi restaurant Uchiko, and drop-in Asian barbecue restaurant Loro, announced the idea in October of 2021, setting a launch date in fall of 2022. The intent was always to open the restaurant in the Google Tower (601 West 2nd St.), so the difference now is just timing.

The original Uchibā opened in Dallas in 2019, operating upstairs from Uchi, an Austin export. This exchange is now coming back around, blurring the lines of what's from which Texas city. Similarly, the lines are blurred between what each restaurant serves, since Uchibā does include some of Uchi and Uchiko's most popular dishes: hot and cool tastings, agemono (deep fried bites), raw fish rolls, yakitori, and more, including dessert.

Of course, there will be lots of menu items that are unique to Uchibā, especially when informed by the spirits behind the bar. Some of these food and drink pairings include the Hawaiian-ish spiced ham misubi with nori, rice, and tepahe, a fermented pineapple drink; and the vodka and caviar with olive oil, burnt butter, brioche, and chives. As well as these "duos," the bar will offer omakase flights for whiskey and agave spirits.

“At Uchi we combine flavors and textures to create what we call the ‘perfect bite,’” said Chef Tyson Cole, the James Beard Award-winning chef who started the Uchi brand, in a press release. “With Uchibā, we wanted to take that a step further by unifying food with cocktails and spirits. Our 'Perfect Pairs' and the whisky omakase play off this idea with intentional combinations of food, cocktails and the the amazing array of Japanese whiskies behind the bar.”

Some menu items aren't just unique to Uchibā; They're also only available at the Austin location, thanks to its chef de cuisine, Vaidas Imsha. His menu includes categories that don't appear at the Dallas location — "Buns + Bao" and dumplings — and a long list of items that could constitute their own menu independently. Among these are a Caesar salad with Japanese twists; a Wagyu beef bulgogi with radish kimchi; two fish crudos with refreshing additions like asian pear and cucumber aguachile; and the more straightforward karaage spiced up with kimchi caramel and yuzu pear.

Uchibā will operate Sunday through Thursday from 4-10 pm; until midnight on Fridays; and until 11 pm on Saturdays. Happy Hour will be from 4-6 pm Monday through Friday.

Uchiba Austin

Photo courtesy of Uchibā

Although Uchi is from Austin, Uchiba, the upstairs bar, has only existed in Dallas until now.