Photo courtesy of Whataburger

Starting September 5, Austinites can get their favorite Whataburger meal hassle-free with the debut of the Texas chain's first digital kitchen in Austin. It's not just good for the body, it's good for the soul. And maybe even the future.

The new concept, located at 3201 Bee Caves Road #180, allows customers to experience the ultimate to-go experience with easy online ordering through the Whataburger app or website, cashless payments, and reduced time spent in drive-thru lines. It is the first digital-only restaurant in Whataburger's 70-year history.

The Whataburger Digital Kitchen will still be staffed by 50 employees, but will not have any in-house seating, curbside pick-up, or drive-thru areas. Instead, hungry customers can pick up their orders at one of their exterior temperature-controlled pick-up lockers, also known as the restaurant's "Digital Pick-up Lane".

Man looking in Whataburger lockerThe exterior food pick-up lockers are weather-resistant and temperature-controlled.Photo courtesy of Whataburger

"Making Whataburger quicker and more convenient for our guests means fully embracing the digital restaurant experience — but not forgetting who we are at our core: A Hometown Whataburger,” said Whataburger President and CEO Ed Nelson in a release. "Our Austin guests were early to embrace other digital innovations, making it a perfect fit for our first Whataburger Digital Kitchen."

The new Whataburger Digital Kitchen will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 364 days a year (closed on Christmas Day) with their classic breakfast served from 11 pm to 11 am.

Photo courtesy of Whataburger

Whataburger weighs in as healthiest cheeseburger in the nation


With its love of greasy enchiladas, gluttonous fried steaks, and fat-speckled brisket, Texas isn’t always known as a healthy eating mecca. But it turns out that one locally beloved dish isn’t as unhealthy as one might think.

Inspired by February’s American Heart Month (albeit belatedly), Gambling.com decided to dig deep into which fast-food burger was best for the ticker and the body overall. What that has to do with online slots is anyone’s guess, but perhaps open-heart surgeries are not conducive to risk-taking.

Surprise, surprise, surprise! Local favorite/ food cult Whataburger took the top slot, earning honors with its standby cheeseburger. Assumably, the gambling site considered the mustard-slathered original, eschewing calorie bombs like bacon slices and creamy pepper sauce. Where’s the fun of Whataburger if you can’t get it just like you like it?

To arrive at the rankings, Gambling.com analyzed each burger for sugar, fat, salt, and calorie content per ounce. Each metric was given a one to ten score that factored into the final report card shared with content-hungry food journalists everywhere.

Coming in a close second was In-N-Out’s cheeseburger, a comforting fact for Texans who enjoy complaining about Californians. Rounding out the top five were Checker’s Checkerburger with Cheese, Culver’s ButterBurger Cheese, and Del Taco’s del Cheese Burger.

For those trying to make better eating choices, that list should give some pause. Yes, Whataburger beats out other fast-food faves, but it was competing against a chain that literally toasts all their buns in churned cream. Health is a relative concept.

Elsewhere on the list was another Texas darling, the No. 6 ranked Dairy Queen. Apparently, all that “hungr” is being busted by a hefty dose of sodium. Yes, we will take fries with that.

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Famous Austin furniture store Louis Shanks shutters last remaining locations

closing up shop

After nearly 80 years in business, family-owned Texas furniture store Louis Shanks is closing down its business.

As reported by Furniture Today, Louis Shanks will host a liquidation sale beginning Thursday, September 21, at the last remaining store in San Antonio, at 11035 IH-10 West, and its flagship store in Austin.

The furniture retailer first opened in 1945, led by its namesake Louis Shanks and John Stanford, Furniture Today said. The business had been operated by the Shanks family for four generations, with the San Antonio store opening in 1983. The company previously had a second Austin store, and more locations Houston and Sugar Land, which have all since been closed.

"An independent, regional retailer became nationally recognized by the industry and its customers for its fine furniture selection and impeccably vignetted showrooms," the industry website said.

Furniture Today reported that Planned Furniture Promotions will be spearheading the liquidation sale for Louis Shanks. Senior vice president Tom Liddell said in a statement that his company is "honored to be a part of [the] historic moment" with the long-established furniture retailer.

"This is a celebration of their decades of excellence and an extraordinary opportunity for consumers in the Austin and San Antonio areas to experience the legacy of Louis Shanks Furniture one last time," Liddell said. "This marks the end of an era, and we at PFP are thrilled they have entrusted us with this pivotal project."

A combined 200,000 square feet of merchandise will be liquidated, according to the report.

Austin food truck chef licks the competition on Guy Fieri's chaotic cooking show

Vegan Victory

Austin keeps gaining bragging rights in the food category, and this one comes with a plant-based twist.

Chef and founder of plant-based Austin food truck Lick It Up was crowned winner in the latest episode of Guy’s Grocery Games. The episode titled “Meatless Marvels,” which aired Wednesday, September 20, challenged four talented chefs to make a meat-free steakhouse dinner and appetizer using only ingredients that fit into the "world's smallest produce case."

In this cooking competition — in its staggering 33rd season — chefs play mini-games in a set modeled after a grocery store, collecting what items they can with certain restraints based on the challenge, and preparing a meal that may include a twist mid-preparation. This time, contestants had to improvise and incorporate a mushroom jerky.

Ultimately, Chef Edgar Delfin won the hearts and taste buds of the judges with his fully plant-based dishes.

"I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to represent plant-based cuisine and showcase the incredible flavors inspired by the El Paso/Juarez border, and it's an honor to bring the tastes of the region to a national stage," said Chef Delfin in a release.

This is not Delfin’s first claim to fame on the Food Network. The Lick It Up food truck in El Paso was featured in Season 30 of Diners, Drive-in, and Dives, also hosted by Chef Guy Fieri for its truly delicious and healthy flavors that pleased vegans and non-vegans alike.

The first Lick It Up opened in 2017 and later turned into a brick-and-mortar in downtown El Paso. The vegan menu recreates traditional Mexican flavors with vegetable-forward alternatives like mushroom chorizo.

After the success in West Texas, Delfin decided to expand Lick It Up to Austin in 2020 to reach a wider audience of plant-based food lovers. The truck, located at East Austin’s Lost Well Bar, features street-food staples such as “carne” asada fries, tacos, flautas, and burritos.

Lick It Up hours of operation are Sunday to Thursday from 7 pm to midnight, and Friday and Saturday from 7 pm to 1 am. Learn more about Guy's Grocery Games at foodnetwork.com.

Here are the top 7 things to do in Austin this weekend

Weekend Event Guide

Nonstop cinema, critically acclaimed comedy, and tons of festival fun are in our sights for the next several days. Enjoy riveting conversation and expert journalism up close at the Texas Tribune Festival, or enjoy nonstop cinema with the return of Fantastic Fest. Check out the top seven things to do in Austin this weekend. For a complete list of events, go to our calendar.

Thursday, September 21

Fantastic Fest
The country’s largest genre film festival returns to Alamo Drafthouse Cinema South Lamar for another year of all things fantasy, horror, sci-fi, and action. Attendees will have the opportunity to screen a curated selection of daring and thought-provoking cinema by filmmakers from around the world. Notable festival events include screenings of the opening night film The Toxic Avenger, the first two episodes of Netflix's The Fall of the House of Usher, the mystery thriller Eileen, the closing night film Totally Killer, and more. Screenings and events are scheduled through September 28. Badges are available at fantasticfest.com.

Texas Tribune Festival
Lone Star journalism takes center stage at the return of the Texas Tribune Festival. The three-day event is curated by the journalists of the Texas Tribune itself and features interviews, surprise talent mashups, panel discussions, and several guest speakers all in one jam-packed weekend. Confirmed speakers for this year’s festival include Jake Tapper, Katie Couric, Coln Allred, and many more. For a full schedule of events and to attend the festival, go to texastribune.org.

ACL Live presents "Jim Gaffigan: Barely Alive Tour"
ACL Live hosts multihyphenate entertainer Jim Gaffigan for two nights back-to-back. He’s widely known for his keenly hilarious observations on life and is also a New York Times best-selling author and three-time Emmy-winning recording artist. Ticket information can be found on acllive.com.

Cap City Comedy Club presents Kevin Nealon
Comedic great Kevin Nealon is the newest featured artist to take up a residency at Capitol City Comedy Club. He’s best known for his decade-long stint on Saturday Night Live and other popular television series including Weeds and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Shows are scheduled through September 23. Get more details at capcitycomedy.com.

Public Power Block Party
Photo by Leah Muse Photography

Bust out your best moves at the Public Power Block Party on September 24.

Friday, September 22

Beerthoven Inc. presents "From the Top: A Duet for the Beginning of Time"
Duo da Capo, a local harp and oboe ensemble, explores the story of creation with a special live concert at Saengerrunde Hall. Guests can expect a program of contemporary music accompanied by creation artwork, for a dynamic showing for multiple senses. Pastries, beer and wine, and non-alcoholic beverages will be served. For tickets, go to Eventbrite.

Saturday, September 23

Dripping Springs Pumpkin Festival
Take a short trip to the Dr. Pound Historical Farmstead in Dripping Springs to welcome the fall season with a cornucopia of autumn-inspired activities for all ages. Pumpkin Festival highlights include live musical performances, seasonal food offerings, photo opportunities, games, attractions, a marketplace, and more. Following opening weekend, festival programming continues through October 29. For tickets and additional event information, visit geoji.com.

Sunday, September 24

Sierra Club Texas presents Public Power Block Party
Moontower Cider Company partners with the Texas Sierra Club to open its doors and grounds for a block party to raise awareness about clean energy plans and sustainability efforts. Visitors can enjoy food, drinks, live music, and other family-friendly activities all while learning about Austin Energy’s upcoming resource plan and other new initiatives. Block party admission is free and open to the public. Go to sierraclub.org for more details.