Austin gives its support to black-owned restaurants following protests—a lot of support. And it's sticking.
Welcome to austonia.com, a new local news site for Austin. We're local people producing local stories. 100% free for news, trends, controversies, celebrities. Sign up for daily updates to get our latest stories in your inbox.
When Burgerlicious, a food truck stationed at Skull Mechanix Brewery in the St. Elmo district, reopened in late May, post-pandemic sales were not good.
"I think one day we sold two burgers," owner Vernetta Weston said. "The next day, we might have sold like four or five burgers, and this was a Friday and Saturday."
But then, almost as quickly as the coronavirus forced the local business to close for two-and-a-half months, the tables turned again.
"The next week, everything happened. Everybody started rallying behind the Black Lives Matter movement, and the lists started going up," Weston said. "My phone was ringing off the hook."
In response to the police killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Mike Ramos in Austin, thousands of residents joined protests—and they sought out black-owned businesses to support.
Jane Ko, a local influencer who runs the blog A Taste of Koko, published a widely shared list of black-owned restaurants on June 1. Similar round-ups appeared in Austin Monthly, Eater and other outlets.
Austin residents turned up in droves.
"I haven't been this busy since EVER!" Sassy's Vegetarian Soul Food owner Andrea Dawson posted on the food truck's Facebook page last week. "Had to turn away customers … first time that ever happened."
Login • Instagram
Last Sunday, Taste of Ethiopia closed its South Congress location after selling out.
That same day, Bird Bird Biscuit closed so its staff could rest.
"Thank you so, so, so, so much for all the support that you've shown us over this past week," Bird Bird Biscuit chef and co-founder Brian Batch said in a video update posted to Instagram. "It's been so much support that we actually are going to have to take a little break and regroup."
Login • Instagram
Burgerlicious saw a similar influx. "We had orders pouring in, and we were able to get enough product," Weston said. "We filled the truck up to the rafters."
Nearly all of the orders—86%—were from new customers. "It was faces that we hadn't seen," she said.
In response, Burgerlicious expanded its opening hours to include Wednesday and introduced a vegan menu. Sales held steady, even as the new customer rate dropped to 43%, suggesting that many had returned from the week prior.
"We really feel like it's building a base, and then the customers will continue to come back because the food is good," Weston said.
For Burgerlicious, this support comes at exactly the right time. The pandemic delayed plans to open a second food truck and a brick-and-mortar location. But the outpouring of support related to the Black Lives Matter movement is helping the local business recoup its losses and expand its customer base. "There's a silver lining in everything," she said.
Moving forward, Weston hopes to see more investment in minority-owned businesses in Austin. "I think the biggest barrier is capital," she said, adding that she'd like for the city to offer more grants, banks to extend loans "not wrapped up in red tape" and landlords to welcome black owners in upscale spaces. "We're trying to get our foot in the door, and then the door's closed," she said.
- Coronavirus fuels changes in supply chain for farmers, distributors ... ›
- Patios may be 'the only game in town this summer' for Austin ... ›
- Business isn't bad at restaurants reopened at low capacity, but 'you ... ›
- Many Austin restaurants can't afford reduced capacity - austonia ›
- Austin Chef Page Pressley on next of season 'The Bachelorette' - austonia ›
- Austin's Natalie Sideserf goes viral with realistic cake videos - austonia ›
- TABC reverses breweries guidelines, forcing patio shutdown - austonia ›
- Austin's amateur sleuths spotlight police violence - austonia ›
- 7 ways enjoy Labor Day weekend in Austin and Central Texas - austonia ›
- Kerbey Lane server does caricatures near UT Austin - austonia ›
- Austin restaurants and businesses struggle due to COVID-19 - austonia ›
- For an authentic Austin burger, head to Balikesir, Turkey - austonia ›
- This week in Austin food and drink news, Dec. 4 edition - austonia ›
- Restaurant industry on the brink in Austin and nationally - austonia ›
- New mid-pandemic restaurant openings in Austin - austonia ›
- New mid-pandemic restaurant openings in Austin - austonia ›
- Ubuntu Life, Austin black business makes Oprah's favorites - austonia ›
- Austin food under $10, cheap and delicious - austonia ›
- Hidden oasis, Aba, on South Congress grows in popularity - austonia ›
- How to keep on supporting Austin's Black-owned restaurants - austonia ›
- Three influencers who made a free meal network during the storm - austonia ›
Some Austin restaurants, bars will keep masking requirements, capacity limits when statewide orders lift next week
Two days shy of the one-year anniversary of Texas' first confirmed case of COVID-19, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that he will rescind statewide pandemic restrictions, including business capacity limits and mask mandates, next week. Although businesses—especially those tied to the hospitality industry—have suffered financially over the last year, many Austin establishments are rejecting Abbott's order.
- With cases down, Austin could lift restrictions to Stage 3 - austonia ›
- 10 iconic Austin businesses that have closed due to COVID-19 (and ... ›
- Gov. Abbott: All businesses can open at 100%, masks no longer ... ›
(AUSTIN, TEXAS) Austonia has hired Claire Partain as a reporter covering Austin FC, the MLS expansion team that will be Austin's first major league sports franchise.
Partain is a former sports editor for the The University Star, Texas State University's daily newspaper. She edited, covered sports, produced podcasts, and hosted a pre-game TXST football tailgate live series. Partain has been freelancing with the company since January, prior to accepting a staff position.
A native of Fairfield, Texas, Partain grew up playing youth soccer. In her high school years, she played alongside her mother in what was then called the Freestone County Hispanic Women's Soccer League.
Claire's coverage philosophy: "I like to bring out the humanity of sports, and I want to make this the most accessible sports coverage possible."
She notes that soccer is the predominant sport for young people. "It's a global sport, and we're more connected to the world than older generations."
That approach fits the team's already visible presence in Austin, says Austonia CEO Mark Dewey. "Austin FC has established itself as a leading Austin brand, one that stands for a more unified Austin community, a bigger global presence for Austin and fun. Austonia shares those values."
Partain's soccer coverage begins immediately, with her free, hosted text service—Austonia FC. For updates, special access and inside info, all moderated by Claire, sign up below.
Austonia is the city's independent, free, locally-owned and all-digital source for Austin news, information and entertainment.
Connect with Austonia through its daily email newsletter and text updates, @austonianews Instagram feed, @austonianews and @austinist Twitter feeds, @austonianews Facebook page and its website austonia.com.
- Austin FC acquires midfielder Diego Fagundez - austonia ›
- Austin FC official 2021 home jersey revealed - austonia ›
- austin-fc - austonia ›
- Austin FC acquires four new players in MLS Expansion Draft ... ›
- An inside look at Austin FC's new stadium - austonia ›
- Drone: Verde grows at new Austin FC stadium - austonia ›
- Austin FC's 2021 debut season shines as bright spot for fans ... ›
Two hours after Gov. Greg Abbott announced that state mandates on wearing masks and limiting business capacities would be lifted, Mayor Steve Adler wrote a letter to the city urging residents to keep their masks on and stay safe.
- Texas gov promises wider COVID-19 vaccine access - austonia ›
- Gov. Abbott signs anti-defunding pledge after Austin police cuts ... ›
- Governor will require masks in most Texas counties - austonia ›