Salt Lick to open in North Texas

North Texas is going to get a taste of Central Texas. A really famous taste. Scott Roberts plans to open a location in Grapevine in 2018. Details are slim as of now, but the restaurant is planned to seat 450 and feature 6,000 square feet of patios and decks, with large trees and views of Denton Creek. An exact address has not been released.

(Credit: Kenny Braun)

Denizens of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex are undoubtedly familiar with the Central Texas legend that has been smoking for more than 50 years, but they may be happy to know that a recent poll shows that Austinites prefer Salt Lick to any other barbecue restaurant in the area.


Austin360 Dining Guide: Best barbecue in Central Texas


Fixe expanding to Fort Worth; names new executive chef in Austin

Fixe, Austin’s Southern House, is located on the ground floor of the IBC Bank Plaza in downtown Austin. (Tamir Kalifa for American-Statesman)

Southern restaurant Fixe is heading north.  But not all of the way into Yankee territory. Owners Keith House and chef James Robert will open a Fort Worth location this fall at The Shops at Clear Fork. The 6100 square-foot restaurant will feature an open kitchen, patio, wine room, bar and two private dining spaces.

As Fixe makes plans to open in Fort Worth, Adam Puksorius takes over the role of executive chef in Austin. (Credit: Logan Crable FIXE)

With Robert’s attention turned to the new location, Fixe announced that Adam Puksorius will take over executive chef duties at the downtown Austin location. The chef’s resume includes time at Asti, Mark’s American Cuisine in Houston, and Eddie V’s, where he worked with House and Robert.

“Having worked alongside Keith and James in the past I know that their commitment to quality and hospitality mirrors my own,” Puksorius said. “As they set their sights on opening the new location, I look forward to serving up the experience that guests have come to know and love from Fixe while also expanding the core menu with new dishes and bar collaborations that reflect my passion for progressive Southern cuisine.”


Austin chef Paul Qui opening restaurant named Aqui in Houston

Austin chef Paul Qui is expanding his demi empire to Houston. The co-founder of East Side King and owner of Kuneho, a re-imagining of the eponymous restaurant he first opened in East Austin in 2013, will open Aqui at 520 Westheimer Road in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston later this year.

“The focus is on wood and wok cooking with a heavy emphasis on meats and seafood,” Qui told the Statesman. “There will be a big raw bar and open kitchen with counter seating and full bar with cocktails. I’m super excited about the kitchen; it will be the first full kitchen suite that I designed from scratch.”

Paul Qui at his restaurant in East Austin in 2016. (Kelly West AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Paul Qui at his restaurant in East Austin in 2016. (Kelly West AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Qui opened Kuneho the first week of January following the shuttering of Qui, which he closed about six months after being arrested for assault.

As with the restaurant he opened in 2013, Aqui is being designed by A Parallel Architecture, and the chef posted a photo of the rendering today on Instagram (see below). We spoke to the chef last year about his battles with addiction, his arrest and his plans for the future. You can read that here.

View this post on Instagram

it's almost time…

A post shared by paul qui (@pqui) on


Blue Dahlia Bistro to open in San Marcos next year

Crepes at Blue Dahlia Bistro. (Credit: Matthew Odam)
Crepes at Blue Dahlia Bistro. (Credit: Matthew Odam)

San Marcos has long been in need of some better dining options, and it seems as though a bit of relief will come next year, when Austin-based Blue Dahlia Bistro opens at 107 Hopkins St. on the town’s downtown historic square.

Owners Amy and Sam Ramirez, who have split their time between Austin and San Marcos since they married in 2008, plan to open the bistro in January. The French-inspired restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, with a menu that includes items like croissants, frittaras, crêpes salade Niçoise, a selection of tartines (open-faced sandwiches), and traditional French entrees such as beef bourguignon, mussels Provençal, ratatouille and coq au vin.

“Our mission has always been to create a restaurant that serves as a dining destination, but also acts as a community hub for friends and neighbors to come together, relax and enjoy a leisurely meal,” Amy Ramirez said. “Blue Dahlia is our answer to the casual bistros that act as community centers in small villages and country towns throughout Europe.”

Blue Dahlia in San Marcos will be located in an 18th-century building at the corner of Hopkins and North Guadalupe streets, and like the original on East Sixth Street in Austin, it will feature indoor and outdoor seating, including a front patio and back garden.

“Opening Blue Dahlia in San Marcos is definitely a passion project for us,” Sam Ramirez said.  “It has been an honor and pleasure raising my family in San Marcos and we are thrilled to bring new business to this growing town and offer a new dining destination for our wonderful community.”



Ramen Tatsu-Ya opening location in Houston

ramenHouston continues to look to Austin for great food and drink ideas. After nabbing their own Uchi, JuiceLand and Tacodeli, the Bayou City will soon have their own Ramen Tatsu-Ya. The Austin-based operation will be opening a location in the Montrose neighborhood this winter, according to Greg Morago of the Houston Chronicle. Read his story on for more details.


Aaron Franklin and a slew of James Beard winners headed to Chris Shepherd’s Southern Smoke in Houston this weekend

Houston’s unofficial culinary mayor, Chris Shepherd, and the HOUBBQ Collective will welcome Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue and a roster of stellar chefs from across the South this Sunday for Southern Smoke. The 2nd annual block party, which takes place on Westheimer Road in front of James Beard Award winner Shepherd’s Underbelly, is an evening of smoked meat, wine and beer, and serves as a fundraiser for the MS Society, a cause near to Shepherd’s heart.

The collection of chefs includes Rodney Scott of Scott’s Bar-B-Que in South Carolina, and fellow James Beard Award winners Tandy Wilson of City House in Nashville, Justin Yu of Houston’s Oxheart, Ryan Prewitt of Peche in New Orleans, Stephen Stryjewski, Ashley Christensen from Poole’s Diner (among others) in Raleigh. Houston will be also be repped by Ryan Pera of Coltivare and Terrence Galivan and Seth Siegel-Gardner of the Pass & Provisions in Houston. There will be live music from New Orleans’ Rebirth Brass Band and Folk Family Revival from Magnolia.

The event runs from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. this Sunday. Tickets cost $200 for general admission and $350 for VIP (which includes early entry and special goodies like cookbooks). Purchase them online here.

Chris Shepherd and his Indian Style Puffy Taco at the Austin Food and Wine Festival's Rock Your Taco event at Republic Square Park on Saturday, April 25, 2015.
Chris Shepherd and his Indian Style Puffy Taco at the Austin Food and Wine Festival’s Rock Your Taco event at Republic Square Park on Saturday, April 25, 2015.

Inaugural Park & Palate festival in Dallas will welcome roster of Austin culinary talent

Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas will host Park & Palate in late September. (Credit:
Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas will host Park & Palate in late September. (Credit:

The inaugural Park and Palate food and beverage festival featuring some of the biggest names from the Texas culinary landscape will take place September 25 and 26 at Dallas’ Klyde Warren Park. The urban deck park, a 5.2-acre green expanse that stretches for several blocks over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway, will host two major events on the two days.

The Austin contingency at Park and Palate will include Andrew Wisehart (Contigo, Gardner), Michael Fojtasek and Grae Nonas of Olamaie, Jodi Elliott of Bribery Bakery, and Lenoir’s Todd Duplechan.

The September 25 event, Down to Roots, will see 12 Texas chefs compete head-to-head in a comfort food showdown judged by a panel including Amanda Freitag, a frequent Food Network guest and judge on “Chopped.” Austin chefs participating in Down to Roots include

Down to the Roots participants include Austin chefs Alma Alcocer of El Alma, Tyson Cole of Uchi, Wisehart, Fojtasek and Nonas, who will compete against Texas chefs like San Antonio’s Jason Dady, Dallas’ John Tesar, and Tre Wilcox of Dallas.

The second day features a Grand Tasting with food, wine, cocktails and spirits from a group that includes Anastacia Quinones of Kitchen LTO, Andrea Shackelford of Harvest, Brian Luscher of Luscher’s Red Hots, Dennis Kelley and Melody Bishop of Lark on the Park, Diego Galicia and Rico Torres of Mixtli Progressive Mexican Culinaria, Joel Harrington of Bolsa, Richard Blankenship of CBD Provisions, and many more.

Tickets go on sale online Tuesday at 9 a.m. and start at $150. The two-day event will raise money for the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation, the non-profit organization that operates Klyde Warren Park, which offers a variety of free programming and events year-round.

“Klyde Warren Park is more than a beautiful green space in our urban core. It’s a mission to bring friends, family, and community together to create real and lasting memories,” Klyde Warren Park chairman Jody Grant said. “Few things bring people together like great food and wine, so we feel like Park & Palate is both on-mission and a great way to raise awareness and funds for the park.”