Austin’s oldest dining and drinking establishment will tap back into Central Texas traditions this weekend, as Scholz Garten introduces a new barbecue menu. The oldest bar in Austin will serve its new barbecue menu on Sundays only, with a menu that includes brisket turkey, ribs, sausage (and vegan sausage) and more. Customers can order a three-meat plate with three sides, with options like cole slaw, charro beans and a corn cup, for $24.95 or a kids plate of one meat and two sides for $12.95. The owners of downtown haute dog restaurant and bar Frank took over food and beverage operations of the historic German beer hall last summer, taking over from longtime helmers Green Mesquite.
The ever-changing landscape of the downtown dining scene will receive some more action next month when Annies Cafe & Bar closes after an almost-10-year run at 319 Congress Ave..
Love Nance, who founded Annies in 1982 and moved it to its Congress location in June 2009, has sold the hot piece of real estate where the restaurant sits on Congress Avenue and will turn her energy to her concepts at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA), Annies & Farm Aireand I Vini, a fast-casual Italian restaurant, wine bar and market. In an emailed statement, Nance also hinted at a future street-side home for Annies.
“To our treasured downtown customers and family of employees, thank you for years of extraordinary memories,” Nance said. “All of your favorite Annies menu items and classic dishes are still available at our Annies & Farm Aire location (gate 18) at the Austin airport. Until we see you again street-side, we look forward to seeing you at the airport.”
The last day of service at the restaurant’s Congress Avenue location will be April 22.
The downtown Austin lunch scene has seen increased competition in recent years with the arrival of chains like Mad Greens, Flower Child, Modern Market and Newk’s Eatery.
Punch Bowl Social will open a second Austin location late this year.
The entertainment venue has signed a letter of intent for 22,000 square feet in the Scarborough Building at West Sixth Street and Congress Avenue.
Plans call for Punch Bowl Social to occupy spaces on the first floor and in the basement that were vacated by Brooks Brothers and Gold’s Gym. An outdoor patio along Congress Avenue is envisioned, as well.
Can’t everybody just let people like what they like and let it rest? I guess not when it comes to barbecue. (And, hey, pot calling kettle “black,” I confess.) And, especially when it comes to Salt Lick BBQ. CNN political analyst/serial hot taker/comedian Chris Cillizza did something he probably thought was fairly innocuous (and it should have been). He went to an unarguably charming and pastoral setting (Salt Lick), ate some barbecue and declared he had found heaven. Trust me, after living in D.C. and eating some barbecue out that way and points further north, I have no doubt that for a District denizen drifting into Driftwood, the Salt Lick would feel heavenly, especially on a beautiful spring evening when twilight seems to last for four hours.
As the popularity of barbecue and the proliferation of great barbecue options in the Austin area has increased, so has the vitriol for anyone who dare say anything nice about Salt Lick, one of the places that many of us who have decades of history in Austin will always hold close to our hearts for nostalgic purposes, if nothing else.
So, without further ado, the public shaming and rushing to defense of a reporter who his Tweet. Folks, if we keep treating visitors like this, nobody will ever move here.
Chris, you might ask us in Central Texas first before you put out this kind of statement.
The Austin-born cafe, which opened its first location at Brodie and Slaughter Lanes in 2004, plans to relocate the shuttered business to a location with more of a neighborhood vibe, and one with fewer parking and logistical distractions, allowing the business to focus on food and guests, according to co-owner Kelly Chappell. The partners hope to make an announcement on expansion by the end of the year, if not sooner.
West End Italian restaurant, happy hour hang and listening room Winflo Osteria (1315 W. Sixth St.), which is owned by the Dickson family of Austin, will close on March 30 after five years in business. A new restaurant group will take over the space in the coming months.
“We are thankful and grateful for our customers, neighbors, staff, family, and friends for their support,” the family said in a statement. “After much deliberation, we’ve decided to close the restaurant with service concluding on March 30. We are transitioning to a new operator from New Orleans with strong restaurant experience that has great plans for our little bungalow and we are very supportive of the next chapter of this special place.”
In the comments section, Mueller expounded on the change at the establishment that is currently BYOB: “Yes, it’s been a byob place for about 7 years. Thank you for your continued support during our ‘dry’ era. Recently, we decided to offer convenience to the majority of our patrons wishing to share in libations but for reasons specific to them, are unable to bring it with them. We also hope to participate in the enrichment of the burgeoning night life in Taylor’s downtown district with later hours of operation, beers and spirits, occasional music and special Pitmaster events. Fun and festive times ahead!!!”
Louie Mueller Barbecue is not only adding alcohol, they are also looking to expand their hours. They are currently open until 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday but are targeting opening on Sundays and being open later on weekdays and as late as 2 a.m. on weekends.
“We want to generate some night life. We have had enough influx of people moving from Austin looking for a little less stress and traffic nightmares,” Mueller said. “If that demographic is flowing into Taylor, we really need more amenities to keep them here.”
They will also add live music one or two nights a week to the mix. The alcohol offerings will slowly roll in, starting with keg beer and a frozen margarita machine, before expanding.
While liquor will be new to the legacy barbecue restaurant, it won’t be the first time cold beer has been served at the Taylor destination. Louie Mueller Barbecue sold beer from 1959 to 2011.
The world will soon get a taste of what happens when two of Texas’ best chefs combine their talents and minds.
Hai Hospitality’s Loro, a collaborative effort between Uchi co-founder chef Tyson Cole and Aaron Franklin will open to the public on April 4, and we have the first look at the menu from the Japanese smokehouse from the two James Beard Award winners.
The casual restaurant located at 2115 South Lamar Blvd. will feature a menu divided into snacks, starters, sandwiches, rice bowls, plates and sides, with smoked and grilled dishes heightened by Asian flavor profiles serving as a major centerpiece. The restaurant will open daily at 11 a.m., closing at 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. (See the full menu below.)
“The complex flavors of Southeast Asian food, ranging from the acidity in citrus, to heat from a variety of spices, to all the clean fresh flavors of the herbs, create a balance that is the perfect counterpoint to the richness of smoked meat,” Cole said.
The snacks and starters have a variety of Asian influences, including togarashi-dusted kettle corn served with brisket burnt ends, oak-grill snap peas with kimchi emulsion and siracha powder, a Vietnamese kale salad with yuzu vinaigrette, and chicken karrage with sweet Thai chili gastrique and Szechuan peppercorns.
People likely will be the most excited about the hallmark dish of the collaboration between Franklin and Cole, the smoked beef brisket. The beef is marinated in Vietnamese nuoc mam and Thai chili gastrique and finished with herbs and chili oil. It will be served only at dinner, though the brisket finds its way to a sandwich with papaya salad, Thai herbs and jalapeno aioli served at lunch.
“That dish is probably one of the most literal combinations of our styles,” Franklin said.
Other entrees include Malaysian chicken bo ssam served with lettuce wraps and curry dipping sauce, Thai green curry sausage (also available on a sandwich), char siu pork shoulder, oak-smoked salmon and smoked turkey breast (a Franklin secret weapon) served with apricot gastrique.
“Aaron rubs it with black pepper and we use Korean chilies,” Cole said. “It adds a colorful component to it but it also – Korean chilies have this great, kinda smoky quality. They’re not very spicy but they have like a little hint of spice and a lot of savory character.”
Coconut rice bowls with proteins like crispy Szechuan tofu and grilled Malaysian chicken, along with an assortment of sides such as Texas sweet corn with miso beurre blanc finished with shiso and edamame round out the menu from the kitchen will be helmed by chef de cuisine James Dumapit, an Uchi alumnus and one of the founding chefs of Old Thousand.
The restaurant, full of natural light, patio seating and open space, was designed by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture in collaboration with interior designer Craig Stanghetta of Ste. Marie Design and inspired by the historic dance halls of the Texas Hill Country. That casual feel is complemented by counter-service and table delivery. To-Go service will be available and encouraged, with a separate pick up area at the bar.
The truck donated profits to Comfort Cafe in Smithville, which supports the Serenity Star recovery center. My Name is Joe raised over $50,000 in 2017 and sent 100 percent of that to Serenity Star to fund the completion of their Women’s Center and their Family Center, according to Speer.
“We are happy to continue to work with Serenity Star and Comfort Cafe, not only with fundraising but with job placement as well,” Speer said. “With My Name is Joe, we have been able to employ several people in recovery and move them on to restaurants such as Holy Roller, Juniper, Bonhomie, etc.”
While the truck has shuttered for now, Speer, who got sober in 2014 and has since raised awareness also by running marathons and rappelling down buildings with chefs, says the work helping those in recovery continues.
“For us, this is our focus right now, being as impactful as we can be. Joe is absolutely still alive, we are just refocusing our efforts right now!”