“As a company, we evaluate our portfolio of restaurants as a normal course of business,” the company said in a written statement. “We had difficulty overcoming operational setbacks in the Austin area, despite investing considerable resources, and decided to close our locations there.
Hotel Van Zandt opens its flagship restaurant, Geraldine’s, on Tuesday. The Tex-centric restaurant helmed by executive chef Frank Mnuk features shared plates and “feasts,” with menu items like the Texas heritage pork rack with polenta; buttermilk fried quail with sweet onion confit and fermented habanero butter; and grouper with acorn squash, tangerine and hazelnut brown butter. Mnuk previously served as corporate operations chef for Uchi Restaurants and St. Philip Pizza Parlor + Bakeshop, and his career has included stints in Thomas Keller’s Bouchon, L20in Chicago, and Eleven Madison Park in New York City. The dessert program is led by accomplished pastry chef Callie Speer, formerly of Swift’s Attic.
Geraldine’s will serve breakfast Monday-Saturday, with Sunday brunch planned for the coming weeks. Dinner is served 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
The Van Zandt will also open Café 605 on the first floor. Open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., it will serve breakfast items, ready-made sandwiches, salads and pastries.
Well, that was some fast construction. In-N-Out Burger opened at 3701 S. Lamar Blvd. this morning in the old Wendy’s space. It is the fourth Austin-area location for the California-based burger chain. The restaurant features double drive-thrus and is open Sunday-Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. and until 1:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Chef Rene Ortiz’s popular East Austin restaurant Launderette will begin lunch service on Monday. The restaurant at 2115 Holly St. will serve some of its signature snacky bits and specialties, along with new dishes like salt cod croquettes, a cheese plate, and halibut a la Catalana. Launderette will be open for lunch Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Related: See where Launderette ranked on my list of Top 25 restaurants in Austin at austin360.com/eats.
Customers at 18 Joe’s Crab Shacks around the country will no longer be expected to tip, as the restaurant chain founded in Houston and owned by Ignite Restaurant Group has introduced fixed hourly rates for servers as part of a major nationwide test.
Prices have been raised on menus in the participating market but are generally less than the standard 20-percent tip, according to a press release.
“We believe that consistently great service should always be included in the menu price, so we are taking the responsibility for paying the service staff,” Ignite Restaurants CEO Ray Blanchette said in the release. “I personally believe tipping is an antiquated model, and you have seen most businesses in America migrate away from it over the last 50 to 100 years.”
No Texas locations are participating in the test, and no nationwide rollout plans have been announced. The cities in the no-tipping test include Indianapolis, IN, Hobart, IN, Columbus, OH, Bellevue, KY, Ann Arbor MI, Auburn Hills, MI, Sterling Heights, MI, Omaha, NE, Fairview, IL, Peoria, IL, Schaumburg, IL, Robinson, PA, Pittsburgh, PA, St. Louis, MO, Independence, MO, Olathe, KS, West Jordan, UT, and Salt Lake City, UT.
The move comes on the heels of the announcement by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group that it would do away with tipping in most of its restaurants, but this appears to be the first national chain to test the model, which it began doing in August and continues to expand.
Amazon Prime Now members in Austin can get hundreds of items delivered in an hour or two without having to get off their couches. Soon they will be able to get restaurant meals delivered, as well, according to Tech Crunch.
The member-based service, which costs $99 annually and requires downloading an app, will deliver meals to Austin members for the restaurant’s listed price, no delivery fee or additional charges beyond the $99 fee (for now).
The service first rolled out in Seattle this summer, then Portland, and today it tackles Los Angeles. Austin is one of 20 Prime Now cities that will be getting the service. There is no word what local restaurants will be involved or when Austin or the other Prime Now cities will get the food-delivery service, which Tech Crunch identifies as simply an added perk to being a Prime Now member. Currently Prime Now members get free two-hour delivery of retail items and one-hour delivery for $7.99.
South Congress (1412 S. Congress Ave.) staple Guero’s Taco Bar will be closed this week for repairs to its flooring. Owner Rob Lippincott said back-of-house-staff will earn its regular wages while the restaurant is temporarily closed and servers will receive minimum wage for the time of the closure. Lippincott said he hopes to have the restaurant re-opened by Sunday. More details when they become available.
Paperboy delivered its first breakfasts this morning. The food trailer serves breakfast Tuesday-Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1203 E. 11th St. The menu includes sandwiches (hangar steak with chimichurri mayo; and bacon, egg and cheese), toasts (sourdough toast with ricotta, pepper jam, house made granola, apples, pears and basil, bowls, and coffee.