After nearly two months of waiting and wondering by the Fonda San Miguel staff and customers, their beloved bronze fountain was finally returned by an anonymous source this past weekend.
Tom Gilliland, owner and founder of Fonda San Miguel, thought fondly of this fountain and he, along with the restaurant's employees and visitors, was extremely concerned about its whereabouts.
"It felt like having a dear friend return safely from an unexpected trip without knowing when or if they would ever return."
The fountain, which featured an elongated face and was entitled "Rostro Rectangular, Ojos Cerrados" (eyes closed), was stolen the morning of July 6 and was immediately reported to the Austin Police Department. The restaurant offered a $500 reward for anyone who could help locate their dearest fountain piece.
The piece was created by Mexican artist Sergio Bustamante and weighs over 60 pounds. The heist was not one for beginners.
The fountain was stolen off this wall in July. (Fonda San Miguel)
"(The fountain) is massive and would have required at least two strong individuals and a truck to pull this off," Gilliland said. "My guess is the thieves knew exactly what they were stealing."
It sat tucked away behind a wooden screen and stone wall, making it not easily visible by any passersby. However, many customers adored the iconic fountain and viewed it through the window in the main dining room.
Gilliland first bought the fountain in 2019 while visiting Bustamante's gallery in Mexico. Other pieces by the renowned artist can be seen on display within the restaurant.
Art pieces from the same artist line the restaurant. (Fonda San Miguel)
After the fountain was stolen, Bustamante crafted a new fountain, which was slightly darker than the original. They implemented additional security measures with this installment.
When the fountain was returned, they also increased security measures in hopes of preventing a situation like this from happening again. Though it luckily only endured minimal damage while it was gone, the original fountain will return to its display spot soon, the owners say.
Gilliland encourages those who want to see the fountain back in its rightful place to visit their restaurant located on West North Loop. Fonda San Miguel is open every day starting at 5 p.m. and is closed on Sundays.
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After months of speculation, a new report says political personality Beto O'Rourke is mulling a run for Texas governor that he will announce later this year.
Sources tell Axios the former congressman is preparing his campaign for the 2022 election, where he will likely vie for the position against incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott. The only other candidate that has announced he will take on Abbott for governor is former Texas GOP Chairman Allen West—no Democrats have announced they are running as of yet.
"No decision has been made," Axios reports David Wysong, O'Rourke's former House chief of staff and a longtime adviser, said. "He has been making and receiving calls with people from all over the state."
A new poll from The Dallas Morning News and University of Texas at Tyler shows O'Rourke is narrowing the gap between himself and Abbott's prospects for governor. In the poll, 37% said they'd vote for O'Rourke over Abbott, while 42% said they'd vote for Abbott.
Abbott has been in the hot seat due to his handling of COVID-19 and the signing of landmark legislation into law, including new abortion and voting rights laws; 54% of poll respondents voted they think the state is headed in the "wrong direction." Still, Texas hasn't had a Democrat as governor since the 90s.
O'Rourke's people-focused approach to the 2018 Senator race, which he lost to Sen. Ted Cruz, gave him a widespread following and many hoped he'd throw his hat into the ring since he said he was considering it earlier this year.
"We hope that he's going to run," Gilberto Hinojosa, the state chair of the Democratic Party, told Axios. "We think he'll be our strongest candidate. We think he can beat Abbott because he's vulnerable."
Austin rapper Jordi Esparza may not have won the 2021 Red Bull Batalla, the world's largest Spanish freestyle rap competition, but for a spirited two rounds, the 22-year old Mexican native looked like he had every right to.
On Saturday evening in Los Angeles, the event itself looked like Cobra Kai meets Star Search with graphics adding a very Batman Beyond aesthetic. Over a dozen rappers hoping to represent the U.S. in the international round of the competition took to the stage with in-your-face jabs at accents, sexual orientation and odors, among other things.
This was Esparza's second rodeo; he had placed third at the 2020 National Finals, automatically securing him a spot this year.
However, things were different this year. He was not nervous about the contest. Unlike in 2020, when he made his Red Bull Batalla debut, the anxiety of the event led him to "feeling so bad."
Affecting a casual calm, the locally-based landscaper said he just felt "so relaxed, so happy" and primarily wanted to "enjoy everything."
Choosing his first-round opponent, Esparza, whose stage name is Jordi, elected to go against LA-based Boss.
Esparza freestyled an attack on his opponent's weight and cholo style of dress.
Boss—bracketing his Latin freestyle with English appeals to the crowd—mocked Jordi's lack of education, made fun of how clean Jordi's shoes looked and suggested that Jordi just came back from a Footlocker.
That first round went to Jordi.
But his next opponent Eckonn would prove to be his undoing.
Eckonn compared Jordi to Hannah Montana, while Jordi soulfully explained that he had learned from the best.
Esparza's verbal dexterity is matched by a rattling rhythm and a game face that is as mawkish as it is mockish. The overall effect is that of an underdog with bite.
Eckonn beat Esparza in that round with the overall championship going to Palm Beach-based rapper Reverse.
However, Esparza was just happy to be there. He recently told Austonia going to the finals again was a dream come true—a pinnacle that he said he won't know how to top.
With his nimble jabs and sneaky prowess, honed from pop culture and the swagger of a young working man hungry to be more, Jordi Esparza is just getting started.