Closed: Iron Cactus at Hill Country Galleria & Jasper’s at Domain

Iron Cactus 011 interior

The Iron Cactus at the Hill Country Galleria has closed. The locations downtown and in North Austin remain open, according to the Tex-Mex restaurant’s website. The shutter out west is accompanied by a shutter up north, as the Austin location of Dallas-based Jasper’s has closed at the Domain. The New American restaurant says it is searching for another Austin location, and will update via social media channels.


UberEats expands deeper into North Austin and South Austin


UberEats continues to spread its services across the Austin area, today announcing that they have expanded north past the Arboretum and Domain and south to William Cannon Drive. UberEats offers food delivery daily from over a dozen restaurants, with specific quick delivery spots designated for lunch hours on weekdays. Check out for more info.

Torchy’s Tacos and Mama Fu’s Asian House headed to Dripping Springs area

Sky Cinemas will anchor Belterra Village, a shopping center set to open next year. Credit: Douglas Payne, Domiteaux + Baggett Architects
Sky Cinemas will anchor Belterra Village, a shopping center set to open next year.
Credit: Douglas Payne, Domiteaux + Baggett Architects

The expansion of the Austin metro area creeps ever southwestward with news that Torchy’s Tacos and Mama Fu’s Asian House will open locations at the Belterra Village mixed-use development at the southwest corner of U.S. 290 and Nutty Brown Road. The two restaurants are part of a group of tenants that includes Sky Cinemas from the owner of downtown Austin’s Violet Crown Cinema, according to Statesman business reporter Gary Dinges. The location off U.S. 290 is about halfway between the Y at Oak Hill and the main highway intersection in Dripping Springs where FM 12 meets U.S. 290. For more on the other tenants and expected open dates, head to the story on

Report: Austin restaurants busier than restaurants in 25 biggest U.S. cities

We all know Austin’s restaurant scene is booming, even with the recent spate of closures, but how does it stack up to other big cities? Alignable and studied transactions during the first six months of the year in the 25 biggest cities in America. And, according to the results, Austinites like to eat out. A lot.

The study crunched numbers to come up with the number of visits and purchases for the average Austin restaurant, along with the average meal price. Judging by this study, it pays to be in the restaurant business in Austin. The average restaurant has had more daily transactions through the first six months (17,714, or about just under 100 a day) than the average restaurant in any other big city in America.

Though many have complained about rising prices in Austin, the average cost of a meal in Austin these days is just over $30, placing Austin 16th on the list. But the sheer volume of meals purchased means the average restaurant in the city has raked about $539,000 to date this year, placing Austin restaurants fourth on the list behind Boston, Washington D.C. and New York City.




Chinese sandwich shop General Tso’Boy opens Tuesday


Rock Rose at the Domain Northside adds to its roster of restaurants tomorrow, when General Tso’Boy opens at 11501 Rock Rose, Suite 152. Owners Gary and Jessica Wu will serve their versions of modern Chinese take-out, with a menu mostly comprised of sandwiches on Easy Tiger French bread rolls, like the namesake General Tso’s chicken, honey-walnut shrimp and mapo tofu. Sides include crinkle-cut fries and cheeseburger spring rolls. General Tso’Boy got its start as a flea market pop-up in New York City, where Jessica Wu worked for Union Square Hospitality Group and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. General Tso’Boy celebrates its grand opening tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. with a fortune cookie for each guest, with the sweet stuffed with a coupon for a future free menu item.

Pollo Tropical opening five Austin-area locations


As we told you earlier this year, Pollo Tropical will open its first location in the city limits of Austin at 211 S. Lamar Blvd. (at Riverside Drive) this year. It turns out that location, slated to open July 22 on land owned by Longhorn great Huston Street, isn’t the only Austin-area location of the Caribbean-themed restaurant that specializes in citrus-marinated grilled chicken. Pollo Tropical opened at 20471 S. I-35 in Kyle last month and will open three more location in the area in early 2017. They include RM 620 and Glen Heather Drive in Lakeway, Airport Boulevard and I-35 between Hyde Park and Mueller development, and U.S. 183 and E. Whitestone Boulevard in Cedar Park. Pollo Tropical is a subsidiary of Texas-based Fiesta Restaurant Group, which also owns Taco Cabana.

Update: An earlier version of this blog said the South Lamar location would be the first to open.


Satay closing Thursday night after almost 30 years in business

Foo Swasdee is the owner of Satay, a Thai restaurant that has been in business since 1987. (Laura Skelding AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Foo Swasdee is the owner of Satay, a Thai restaurant that has been in business since 1987. (Laura Skelding AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

One of the first Asian restaurants in Austin will close its doors after service tomorrow night, as Dr. Foo Swasdee sets to embark on a new journey. Dr. Foo, as she is affectionately known, opened Satay in 1987 and says the North Austin restaurant is the oldest Thai restaurant in town.

Dr. Foo will close the restaurant at 3202 W. Anderson Lane, but she has plans for the space. The Bangkok native will be a part of a new project called Sumptuary, which she describes as a hybrid pop-up/rentable restaurant and an incubator. The space will host chefs, both from in an and out of town, who will cook their own menus for a period of days or weeks.

“I’m getting old and thought it would be a good time to have young people in the city of Austin show their talents,” Dr. Foo said with a laugh. “I want to be able to use the restaurant to help people who want to test out the concept of their restaurant.”

Dr. Foo said she will be on hand to serve in the capacity of a culinary and creative advisor, and that she intends to continue cooking on occasion and teaching classes. People can stay abreast of her teaching and cooking schedule, which will be available through the Satay Club. Guests can join the club free of charge via a link on the forthcoming Sumptuary website. Additionally, Dr. Foo said she will use the space at times to host dinners to benefit various non-profits in her adopted hometown.

“I love cooking. I love creating, and I love Austin,” Dr. Foo said.

The design and logistics are still being finalized for Sumptuary, but Dr. Foo said she hopes to be operation by the holiday season or early next year.

Satay is taking reservations and accepting walk-in guests for its final night of service tomorrow.

From the archives. Former Statesman food writer Kitty Crider wrote the following about the beloved Swasdee in 1998:

Owner of Satay and Thai Noodle, Etc., House restaurants and maker of 19 Thai sauces

Saucy Spice? Ph.D. Spice? Many names fit Foo, a 50-year-old entrepreneur who has a doctorate in food science from Texas A&M University, has worked for Kellogg’s, owned a clothing boutique, operates an import business, been a restaurateur 11 years and a commercial sauce-maker for six.

Her 19 products, spun off the menu of her Satay restaurant and distributed internationally, include the award-winning and best-selling Original Spicy Peanut Sauce, Thai Roast Coconut Salsa, Thai Jungle Salsa, and Pad Thai Sauce . In Austin, these items can be found at Albertsons, H-E-B, Randalls, Whole Foods and Central Market. (See her Web site: .)

The veteran Austin Spice Girl, Foo, married 23 years, has been cooking since age 8 in Thailand, where her mother had three restaurants. But in the 24 years that Foo has been in the U.S., she has definitely seen food get hotter. At Satay, an Anderson Lane restaurant she opened 11 years ago, more children are eating hot and spicy food than in previous years .

A vivacious speaker, she travels frequently both nationally and internationally, promoting and teaching Thai food. (Next class is Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Texas Fiery Food Show ).

Favorite spice: chile and Thai ginger

Favorite spice cookbook: “The Complete Book of Herbs and Spices” by Sarah Garland and “Cooking Thai Food in an American Kitchen” by Malulee Pinsuvana

Favorite way to turn up the heat: add Thai chile pepper or jalapeno and serrano, which are the closest to it.


L’Oca d’Oro opens at Mueller on Wednesday


Chef Fiore Tedesco will open L’Oca d’Oro at 1900 Simond Ave. in the Mueller development on Wednesday. The restaurant from the veteran of Roberta’s in Brooklyn, Gramercy Tavern in Manhattan and Franklin Barbecue is billed as a contemporary Italian with a neighborhood feel. L’Oca d’Oro, which means Golden Goose in Italian, will serve homemade pastas and salamis cured in house and feature a full bar, wood-burning grill and rotisserie.

The menu will feature dishes like grilled black drum with fennel and loquat; black pepper tagliatelle with pancetta, squash blossoms, and pecorino; and family-style entrees like porchetta with dandelion salsa verde.

“My grandparents were working class Italian immigrants. They made the most elegant simple food out of very humble ingredients. I remind myself about this every day. In essence, this is the goal of our cuisine,” Tedesco said.

L’Oca d’Oro will be open Wednesday-Monday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. The restaurant, named loosely after Tedesco’s daughter’s nickname, also features a kids’ menu, with dishes, like zucchini boats, that were selected through a children’s coloring contest in partnership with the the neighboring Thinkery children’s museum.

L’Oca D’Oro intends to add lunch and brunch service in the fall.

Now open: Delicious grocery and cafe at Lamar Union

Credit: Matthew Odam
Credit: Matthew Odam

Upmarket grocery (think artisan salsas, funky Asian shrimp chips and earth-friendly toilet paper), cafe and beer bar Delicious opened at 1100 S. Lamar Blvd. in the southeast corner of the Lamar Union complex. The menu at the grocery owned by Raj Singh (Live Oak Market) is helmed by Tyler Johnson, who helped open Bacon. Delicious serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with breakfast tacos in the morning and day and evening eats like green chorizo corndog bites and a selection of sandwiches like pastrami, fancy grilled cheese and grilled fish. Delicious also features about 20 beers, including many local names, on tap. It opens at 9 a.m. daily, closing at midnight Thursday-Saturday.

Musashino opens in new location Saturday

The new Musashino on San Gabriel Street. (Credit:
The new Musashino on San Gabriel Street. (Credit:

After a brief hiatus in between locations, Musashino will open at 2905 San Gabriel St. on Saturday, according to a post on its Facebook page. The sushi restaurant from owner Takehiko “Smokey” Fuse, who first opened Musashino off MoPac in 1993, takes over the space inhabited by Fino for 10 years. According to an earlier Facebook post, Musashino will initially only be open for dinner and then open for lunch after about a month of service.