Downtown hot dog restaurant Frank closed temporarily

Frank, the upmarket hot dog restaurant and bar on Colorado Street, has temporarily closed as it attempts to catch up on back taxes and get its financial house in order. Owners say that the closure, which happened Monday, should only last a matter of days and that they fully expect to have the restaurant operational into the foreseeable future. 

Contributed

The restaurant shuttered briefly earlier this year following the permanent closure of its San Antonio location. The short-loved campus location also permanently closed earlier this year. The Frank at Scholz Garten, which has been seeing a steady stream of this year, is owned by a different partnership and has not been affected by the financial struggles of the downtown or campus locations. 

Irish pub Darcy’s Donkey coming to old Austin Java space on Barton Springs Road

For a city that loves a pint and some craic as much as we do, it’s surprising Austin has such a small number of Irish pubs.

A selection of food at Darcy’s Donkey. (Contributed by Chris Olfers)

Neville Joyce is hoping to change that. The County Gallway native is opening Irish pub Darcy’s Donkey in the coming weeks in the old Austin Java space at 1608 Barton Springs Road.

Joyce is a longtime veteran of the hospitality industry, having worked in Ireland, France and Italy before a stint opening pubs for other folks in the D.C. area. He moved to Austin about a decade ago and has worked at Trufy’s and as the opening general manager at Banger’s. Now, he’s opening his first place.

The kitchen will be helmed by chef Ryan Durham, who will put his energies and talents into “elevating the humble potato.” According to a release, the menu will feature six different variations on the potato, as well as traditional Irish meat pies with fillings like house-smoked pastrami and a truffled-mushroom filling.

Expect ales, stouts, lagers, whiskeys, craft cocktails, football and Gaelic games (and the Horns) on the televisions and live music inside and outside. Darcy’s Donkey, the name is taken from the recognizable Irish name Darcy and the Donkey Derby Championships, of which Joyce is apparently a multi-time champion, plans to open in early October.

Austin Java has seen quite a bit of change in the last year. The original location off Lamar Boulevard closed last fall after 20 years and the most visible location on Barton Springs Road closed this year. But with closures have come new beginnings, as Austin Java has opened locations at the Met Center on Metropolis and in San Marcos and Dripping Springs, with a location scheduled to open soon at 5404 Manchaca Road.

Home Slice Pizza North Loop now open Tuesdays; online ordering available at both locations

There was a unique frustration when I lived in Rome. You’d get excited about going to lunch, only to arrive and realize that the restaurant was chiuso per giorno di riposo. Closed for a day of rest. I remember it happening a lot on Tuesdays and also on Sundays, obviously. In the always-open United States of America, that is known as the Chick-Fil-A Sunday. You wake up hungover and want a fried chicken sandwich and are all sorts of out of luck (until you remember all of the great fried chicken sandwiches you can get in Austin from local vendors).

A classic mushroom and pepperoni New York City style pizza from Home Slice Pizza. 02/04/15 Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

But, I digress. Maybe out of consideration for its employees or electric bill or maybe simply to take a page out of Italy’s book, Home Slice Pizza has long been closed on Tuesdays. That problem was somewhat alleviated down in South Austin when More Home Slice opened its windows for Tuesday customers. Now, the problem is being solved up north. The new location on North Loop is now open on Tuesdays. And they are celebrating with  all day drink specials on Sept. 25 to Oct. 30, called “3 Cheers for Tuesday!” which includes $3 draft beer pints and glasses of house wine, and $3 off draft cocktails.

And for those of you, like the Twitter follower of mine I can’t seem to locate, who don’t like the zany music-filled hold music you hear when placing a to-go order at Home Slice, you’re in luck. The pizza joint (that also serves some of the best sandwiches in town), now accepts online orders for pick-up. 

Willie Nelson’s Luck, TX culinary grant will award $5,000 to Texas chef

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Farm-Aid founder and Texas legend Willie Nelson’s annual Luck Reunion has teamed with the Austin Food & Wine Alliance to award a $5,000 culinary grant to a chef “whose inspiration and vision have contributed to the American roots narrative by leaving a distinctive mark on culinary culture.”

Willie Nelson performs at the Luck Reunion on March 16, 2017. Suzanne Cordeiro/FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The grant will be one of six from the Austin Food & Wine Alliance that will distribute $60,000 in support of culinary innovation and community giveback projects in Central Texas. The Alliance awards specific grants each year funded by supporters, and this year’s Willie Nelson’s Luck, TX grant stems from the Luck Reunion, an arts, music, cultural and food event that takes place each year at Nelson’s Luck, Texas.

“Luck Reunion was established to celebrate creative communities influenced by the no-holds-barred, rogue creative culture pioneered by our landlord Willie Nelson; and brought to life in the Texas ‘town’ of Luck,” said Ellee Fletcher, producer of Luck Reunion and Nelson’s great-niece. “This grant will be awarded to a chef whose inspiration and vision have similarly contributed to the American roots narrative by leaving a distinctive mark on culinary culture.”

Grant applications are being accepted through October 12 at austinfoodwinealliance.org. Grant winners will be announced and awarded at a ceremony in early December.     

Previous AFWA grants include the state’s first organic apple orchard (Argus Cidery), the first USDA-inspected salumi producer in Texas (Salt & Time Butcher Shop & Salumeria), the state’s first locally grown and malted barley to support craft beer production (Blacklands Malt), a unique volunteer program teaching farming skills to diverse populations and culinary students (New Farm Institute at Green Gate Farms), Austin’s first and only community-supported bakeshop (Miche Bread) and a Georgetown farm producing stress-free, free-range meat while helping wounded veterans (Snodgrass Farms).

Cole and Franklin’s Loro now accepting online to-go orders

If you’ve snooped around the north side of the Loro parking lot and ambled over to the bar counter at the north end of the restaurant, you know that Tyson Cole and Aaron Franklin’s ‘fine-casual’ concept Loro already has dedicated parking spots and pick-up area for to-go orders. Today the restaurant took another step toward making things convenient and efficient for guests by introducing online to-go ordering.

Chicken Karaage with chili aioli and Szechuan salt; Garlic Rice Noodles with pineapple, mint, currants, cashews, and fish sauce; Texas Smoked Sweet Corn with yuzu kosho aioli, lime, and sunburst tomato; Oak Grilled Snap Peas with kimchi emulsion, are menu offerings at Loro. Seen on Tuesday, August 21, 2018 in Austin, TX. AMANDA VOISARD / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The to-go menu includes daytime items like oak-grilled snap peas; char siew pork belly, Thai green curry pork sausage, smoked prime bavette and more. Since the sliced brisket is only available at dinner, it is not available via to-go service.

To-go ordering is available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Guests can order online here and pay online or in person, and enter the dedicated door on the northwest side of the building. Guests can also order ahead by calling 512-916-4858.

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Bird Bird Biscuit opens Thursday in East Austin

The unofficial breakfast food of the South and Instagram will get some serious spotlight this week, as biscuit-centric cafe Bird Bird Biscuit opens Thursday at 2701 Manor Road.

(Contributed by Chelsea Francis)
The restaurant, which will specialize in biscuits, biscuit sandwiches and doughnuts, was founded by Thunderbird Coffee’s co-owner Ryan McElroy and that popular coffee shop’s former general manager Brian Batch.
Bird Bird will serve breakfast and lunch, with a menu that includes the Bird BirdBacon (bacon, over-medium egg, cheddar and bacon-infused chipotle mayo) and the Queen Beak (spiced and breaded chicken thigh, cayenne black pepper honey and bacon-infused chipotle mayo).
Bird Bird Biscuit’s will be open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

15 great dishes for Dad this Father’s Day weekend

Dads don’t quite get the same love as mom on their special holidays. There are fewer fancy prix fixe brunch menus and bottomless mimosas to draw you in. But you should still show dad some love, whether at a special brunch or dinner. I compiled 15 dishes that Dad might love. When I think of Dad food, I think of straight-ahead dishes that give comfort and don’t challenge Dad’s vocabulary too greatly. Of course, I realize some dads are vegetarians or pescetarians or hate eating out or whatever; well, this isn’t a list for them.

Beef short rib Benedict at Freedmen’s. (Credit: Ashlyn Allison)

BRUNCH

Shrimp and grits ($19.95) at Chez Zee

Huevos rancheros ($10) at El Naranjo

Beef Short Rib Benedict ($35) with house-made buttermilk biscuits at Freedmen’s and available by pre-order only

Pastrami hash ($15) at Launderette

Broxton Burger ($15), made with brisket, lamb and pancetta, at L’Oca d’Oro

Whole grilled quail, soft boiled egg, greens, cornbread, pecan ($21) at Odd Duck 

Dim sum (various prices) on Sunday at Wu Chow

DINNER

Sausage pizza ($15) at Bufalina

Pastrami sandwich ($14) at lunch or pork chop ($31) at dinner at Dai Due

Blue Beard durum spaghetti cacio e pepe ($16) at Emmer & Rye

Pappardelle with oxtail ragu ($17/$31) at Juniper

Wagyu strip with Southern sideboard for two ($120) at Olamaie

Fried chicken with red chile and buttermilk dressing ($31) at Pitchfork Pretty

Confit brisket tacos with black magic oil at Suerte ($15)

Capelletti with ricotta in brown butter and sage sauce ($17) and dry-aged porterhouse “la Fiorentina” at Red Ash ($2.95/ounce)

Anthony Bourdain changed the food, travel and media worlds

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My wife and I went to Thailand last year on our honeymoon. Had we never known of Anthony Bourdain, we might have just headed for Hawaii (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

But Bourdain changed me. And not just me. Bourdain changed the restaurant world. He changed the travel world. And he changed the media world. In no small way, he helped change the world at large. He made it feel simultaneously much smaller and much bigger. He died from an apparent suicide last week, and the world will be less colorful and feel slightly less accessible without him.

Anthony Bourdain talks about the future of food and travel media at SXSW interactive on Sunday March 13, 2016. Charlotte Carpenter/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The brash chef, a bubbling cauldron of irreverence and respect, made the foreign familiar, dissolving borders both physical and literal with his works of New Journalism for the Travel Channel (“No Reservations”) and CNN (“Parts Unknown”). But before he created the platform which celebrated, investigated and marveled at cultures ranging from Iceland to Malaysia and West Virginia to Tokyo, he revealed a world equally as foreign to so many: the professional kitchen. His 2000 book “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly” pulled back the curtain on the rebellious, creative, hard-working and sometimes destructive cast of characters that found refuge and purpose in cooking. As he would later do traveling the world, Bourdain helped his audience understand a culture beyond their own personal experience, and he allowed his subjects to be truly seen and heard.

Bourdain spent the better part of 20 years showing us to ourselves, helping us recognize that behind every bowl of oxtail stew or plate of fried chicken, there is a person, a culture and a story. Yes, he had what seemed the enviable job of traveling the world, constantly maintaining a childlike wonder on a very grown-up budget, but he was not trying to be an exalted rock star; he was simply a searcher, and our proxy.

A brilliant wordsmith, underrated filmmaker and reluctantly vulnerable humanist, Bourdain re-calibrated the way we thought about food. He wasn’t a vamping chef in pristine whites jazzing up meals you can cook at home or a clown peddling in redundancy with how “delicious!!” every bite of chicken-fried steak was that he encountered across the country. He was a storyteller, a raconteur, an excited student of the world that reminded us that connection with another person or culture is often just one meal or bite of food away. He made you want to head to the airport with just your wallet and travel to Bangkok or Dublin, hungry for a meal, a conversation, an adventure, a lesson in life.

I didn’t know Bourdain, though as with any great artist you feel you come to know at least a layer or two of the person, and I am in no place to make judgments about how his life ended. I just know that I have never endured the crippling despair of depression, and can only imagine its dark grip. His daughter and dearest loved ones have my deepest sympathy. If you or anyone you know is battling depression or thoughts of suicide, please know there is help out there and recovery is possible. And please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline phone number at 1-800-273-8255. Chefs with Issues is also a resource if you are struggling and work in the food world. Locally, you can call 512-472-4357 to connect with mental health services.

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Chef James Dumapit is out at Asian smokehouse Loro

Chef de cuisine James Dumapit and Loro, the Asian smokehouse from Hai Hospitality in collaboration with Aaron Franklin, have parted ways. Dumapit previously served as the opening co-executive chef at Old Thousand before returning to the Hai Hospitality team for which he once worked as executive sous chef at Uchiko. The departure of Dumapit leaves a vacancy that the Hai team says it is not currently considering filling. The casual restaurant opened at  2115 S. Lamar Blvd. on April 4.

Loro on South Lamar Boulevard. (Credit: Facebook.com/loroaustin)

“Chef James Dumapit is a very talented chef and we are grateful for his contributions to Loro.  We wish him all the best and future success,” Hai Hospitality president John Baydale said. “We do not have plans for a replacement at this time but are happy with the amazing team we have in place “

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John Mueller Black Box BBQ celebrates anniversary Sunday with free barbecue

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The Dark Prince of Texas barbecue has a soft side, it seems. John Mueller is getting nostalgic this weekend and hosting Tonto Fest, a party to celebrate his Black Box BBQ trailer’s first year in business in Georgetown (and his love for his new metal tomahawk). Following the conclusion of regular service at 2 p.m., Mueller will smoke a half cow with Jim Buchanan of Buck’s BBQ in Houston. The event takes place during the weekend-long Red Poppy Festival in downtown Georgetown.

John Mueller loading the pit at his old trailer on South First Street in 2012. (Ralph Barrera AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

The men, who will be joined by special guests like Bill Kerlin of Kerlin BBQ, John Brotherton of Black Iron Eats and some other unannounced barbecue stars from Central Texas, will hand out the smoked meat, along with St. Arnold’s Beer and Tito’s Vodka. Mueller will also be mic’d up for some color(ful) commentary and a taping of the Tales from the Pits podcast. John Mueller’s Black Box BBQ is located at 201 E. 9th St. in downtown Georgetown.

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