Rio’s Brazilian Cafe closes, Cover 3 opens near downtown

Rios Brazilian 010 exterior

Rio’s Brazilian Café in East Austin is closing, according to a Facebook post by the restaurant. The funky café with the drive-thru always felt-like a beachside hostel. It was scrappy and delivered flavorful Brazilian dishes and a mean take on a breakfast pocket. This weekend will be its last.

Sports Bar Cover 3 opened today in the old Third Base location on West Sixth Street near MoPac. The restaurant features the same menu as the Anderson Lane location with a few items from its sister restaurant, Cover 2.

Matthew Odam’s 2014 Dining Guide livechat

Austin360’s 2014 Austin Dining Guide has been released, featuring critic Matthew Odam’s picks for the Top 25 restaurants in Austin, as well as 100 other places to have in your pocket as suggestions for a night out.

At 11 a.m. Friday, October 31, you can join Matthew for a live chat to discuss the dining guide, his criteria for picking the best restaurants in Austin and what it’s like to be the guy who gets to make those calls

Lenoir chef Todd Duplechan and partners to revitalize legendary Youngblood’s Fried Chicken

Todd Duplechan of Lenoir is teaming with partners to bring back Youngblood's Fried Chicken. (Credit: Laura Skelding)
Todd Duplechan of Lenoir is teaming with partners to bring back Youngblood’s Fried Chicken. (Credit: Laura Skelding)

Lenoir chef-owner Todd Duplechan is teaming with Jeffrey’s co-founder Jeffrey Weinberger, former Trio at the Four Seasons general manager Jeff Haber, and a member of the Youngblood family to reboot legendary Youngblood’s Fried Chicken.

Youngblood’s was a massively popular group of chicken restaurants that opened in the 1940s and grew to more than 30 locations across Texas before shuttering around 1970.

“We’re trying to usher in a new style of fast food,” Duplechan said. “The Southern food your grandparents would have had. Not Paula Deen-Southern, but from-the-garden Southern. Good, fresh healthy food.”

The counter-service restaurant’s menu will include fried chicken, oak-roasted rotisserie chicken and homemade sides. The first Austin location, expected to open sometime next year, will be on Airport Boulevard west of I-35.

Duplechan said he was inspired in part by the influx of out-of-state brands like In-N-Out Burger and Gus’s Fried Chicken invading the Austin market in recent years. He wanted to build a home-grown concept that could represent Texas at home and outside of the state. The former chef at the Four Seasons also wanted to create a family-friendly environment that didn’t sacrifice quality for flavor.

“I wanted to open a place where you can bring your family and feed them real food. I don’t feed my kids health food, but I feed them good food,” Duplechan said. “I want them to eat food that tastes good but is also sound in a lot of ways … I’m trying to figure out how to live my life and not raise my kids on ramen noodles and Twinkies. But I’m also not going to tag along to the health food store every five minutes, because I’m not going to sacrifice my lifestyle.”

The original Youngblood’s had an Austin location near the current P. Terry’s on South Lamar Boulevard. Austin native and former adman Forrest Preece has fond memories.

“I still remember the smell of that place — the fried chicken and yeast rolls. My version of nirvana in the fifties,” Preece said via email. “The breading on that chicken had a certain crispy pop that made each bite special. Of course, it was a day of total entertainment when my parents would take me to the Kiddie Park directly across South Lamar and I could ride the ponies and the merry-go-round and then we ate at Youngblood’s.”

Duplechan said his group is currently focused on the Airport Boulevard location, but they hope to eventually expand outside of Austin.

El Chile on South First to transition into group’s Latin Coastal Kitchen concept, AlcoMar


Clarification: A previous headline suggested El Chile would close. It will simply transition and transform into AlcoMar.

The El Chile restaurant group will introduce a new concept to an existing space early next year. AlcoMar will take the place of El Chile at the space at 1816 S. First St. The restaurant, its name a portmanteau of El Alma chef Alma Alcocer and El Chile chef Jeff Martinez, will be a Latin American seafood concept, with dishes from Latin America’s coastlines. During the transition period, the two chefs will introduce forthcoming AlcoMar dishes as weekly specials at El Chile.

“We want to bring our years of culinary experience and constantly evolving palates to this neighborhood that we’ve had such great success in,” Alcocer said. “We plan to source Austin ingredients and marry them with our coastal aspirations.”

The space will apparently undergo some changes, as well, transforming to a “contemporary, yet rustic beach house kitchen.”



Kebabalicious celebrates eight years with baklava ice cream sandwich

 Kebabalicious 010 wraps

It’s hard to believe it’s been eight years since the blue and yellow Kebabalicious trailer started filling bellies downtown. The kebab-slingers, who now operate two trucks (Congress Avenue and Seventh Street, and the Picnic on Barton Springs Road) and a brick-and-mortar at 1311 E. Seventh St. are celebrating their birthday Saturday with a day of music

(featuring Soul Track Mind, the Naked Maja, Jordan Price and The Nationals, and Transit Method), and they’re using the birthday to launch a new dessert item – the baklava ice cream sandwich, made with Southern Oracle sorbet. The tunes kick off at 7 p.m.

Now open: Black’s Barbecue on Guadalupe Street

Legendary Lockhart smoked meat purveyors Black’s Barbecue opened at 3110 Guadalupe St. in the former home of Boomerang’s.

The restaurant, which brings in post oak-smoked meat daily from the Lockhart original, is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., serving beef brisket, pork spare ribs, beef ribs, jalapeno and original sausage links, and smoked turkey breast.

The restaurant will celebrate barbecue scion Edgar Black’s birthday on November 8 as part of a grand opening event. Details to come, but expect the late-morning/early-afternoon event to feature giveaways and signings by the man who worked the pit for more than five decades in Lockhart.

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This happened. And I for one am a happy camper.

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Gardner opens Monday on East Sixth Street, Counter Cafe to open first week of November

Gardner is located at 1914 East Sixth St.
Gardner is located at 1914 East Sixth St.

Veggie-forward restaurant Gardner, from the owners of Contigo, will officially open Monday. at 1914 E. Sixth St. in the old U.S. Post Office building.

The restaurant will be open Sunday-Wednesday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. and Thursday-Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. The gorgeous restaurant (a collaboration between Baldridge Architects, CC Designs & Ann Lowe Design) has an open-air lounge area, utilizes brick from the old post office inside, and features a handsome dining room full of slate grays and handcrafted wooden furniture, with a horizontal skylight filling the space with natural light. The bar, which will initially serve beer and wine, is tucked away at the back of the restaurant and can be accessed directly from the parking lot.

Andrew Francisco, formerly of Mettle and Olivia, will serve as the chef de cuisine for the restaurant owned by Ben Edgerton and executive chef Andrew Wiseheart. The initial menu includes a section of one- or two-bite plates such as sunchoke custard with seaweed and crispy onions, and yellow squash with bonito butter and pea tendrils. Items from the next section will include dishes like beets with urfa mayo, pine nuts and mint; and cured mackerel with fennel, marigold and elderberry. Entrees include root vegetables with fermented mushroom broth and salted purslane; and dry-aged beef with zucchini and black garlic.

The second location of Counter Café is located in the adjacent space on Sixth Street and owners there said today they expect their diner to be opened sometime in the first week of November. Counter Café will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Pinthouse Pizza to open location in South Austin


The original Pinthouse Pizza on Burnet Road. (Credit: Emma Janzen)
The original Pinthouse Pizza on Burnet Road. (Credit: Emma Janzen)

Pinthouse Pizza will open its second location next year, filling the space previously occupied by Chili’s in the Brodie Oaks shopping center (4236 S. Lamar Blvd.). The restaurant is in the middle of the bureaucracy-hurdling process. They speculate that they may be able to open by the middle of next year, depending on the permitting process. The brew pub and pizzeria will be larger than the original on Burnet Road and will feature an outdoor area for dining and drinking.

Red Star Southern chef Erica Waksmunski joins Cirkiel’s Parkside Projects

Erica Waksmunski has joined Shawn Cirkiel’s Parkside Projects as executive pastry chef. (Credit: Ryan Taylor)
Erica Waksmunski has joined Shawn Cirkiel’s Parkside Projects as executive pastry chef. (Credit: Ryan Taylor)

Red Star Southern comfort food trailer chef Erica Waksmunski has joined Shawn Cirkiel’s Parkside Projects as executive pastry chef and will oversee all the dessert programs and menus at Parkside, Olive & June and Backspace, Parkside announced today.

New Orleans-born and Virginia-bred Waksmunski, who has drawn attention to her East Austin trailer on the strength of items like her pulled pork sandwiched and irreverent humor on social media, previously served as executive pastry chef at David Bull’s Congress.

Waksmunski, who has also spent time staging in illustrious kitchens like Thomas Keller’s and Sons & Daughters in San Francisco, will continue to operate her trailer outside the Grackle bar on East Sixth Street.

“Shawn is giving her complete flexibility to make her own schedule appropriately at Parkside Projects so she can still physically be at the trailer, too,” a representative said.

Dog and Duck Pub closing, negotiating move to East Austin



Update: Management at Dog and Duck says pub owner are in negotiations and finalizing a lease for a space located off East Seventh Street. They hope to open in January. (More details as they become available.)

After 24 years of serving beer and fish and chips at 406 W. 17th St., the Dog and Duck Pub, which opened in May of 1990, will serve its final pint at that location on October 31, according to sources. More details about the future of the pub and the space at 17th and Guadalupe streets as they become available.