This year has been rough on the bar and restaurant industry, marked by the ebb and flow of businesses moving in and out of existence. With closures like Sellers Underground, Black Walnut Cafe, Full English and Threadgills this year, 2020 has done away with many Austin eateries.
But when one door closes, another one opens. After a respectful period of mourning, you might want to check out one of these new restaurants in town.
Chicken as Cluck
Coming into Austin from the Bay area, Chicken as Cluck is operating in Austin exclusively as a ghost kitchen—a restaurant that only serves delivery and takeout—for now. Located on 5610 North Interstate Highway 35, Chicken as Cluck opened its second location in Austin at the beginning of December, though the restaurant has plans to open another soon in Dallas. The restaurant has a fresh, rotating menu every week and specializes in pressure-fried chicken sandwiches and "chunks."
C.L. Butaud and Wine for the People
Two Texas small-batch wineries are joining forces to open up a joint tasting room, taking over what was previously Argus Cidery, on 12345 Pauls Valley Road. C.L. Butaud and Wine for the People opened their tasting room last week, featuring $25 wine flights, cheese boards and choice outdoor seating for COVID-19 safety. Members of the respective wine clubs get additional benefits and reservations are recommended.
Curry Up Now
From one food truck-loving city to another, San Francisco-native Indian food restaurant Curry Up Now started as a food truck and is now making a move to Austin in 2021. No date has been announced yet for a grand opening, though the restaurant is working on expanding 40 locations across the U.S. Featuring mash-up options like tikka masala burritos and tandoori fried chicken sandwiches, and naughty creations like "sexy fries" and "naughty naan," this restaurant is sure to have you wondering why you've never had food quite like it before.
Paying homage to the iconic Midwestern chain White Castle, the temporary burger joint is operating inside the temporarily-closed Original Hoffbrau Steakhouse, located on 613 West 6th St. Golden Castle is selling its beef, onion and American cheese-on-a-potato-roll sliders by the half-dozen or full dozen, made complete with some crinkle-cut fries and a frosty beer. Golden Castle is only a pop-up for now—the restaurant is planning to move into a food truck by the second week of January.
Luck's Wagyu Burger Shoppe
Coming to you from the minds behind Lucky Robot and Zen Japanese Food Fast, Luck's Wagyu Burger Shop made its debut last month. The casual dining restaurant, located on 2900 West Anderson Lane, sells Asian-inspired burgers and sandwiches made with premium ingredients, like rare wagyu beef. Go for the tempura onion rings, panko-fried patties and Asian-fusion condiments. The restaurant also sells options for non-hamburger-eaters like chicken and vegan Beyond burgers.
According to its website, Austin needs Cambodian soul food and Mama Kong is bringing it to the city via a pop-up kitchen, supper club, caterer, speakeasy and online cooking classes. With a rotating menu on deck, Mama Kong serves different "snackies," "soupies" and "biggies" every day. Stop by and get Puh Hut, or fried fish cakes with lemongrass, to start; a Somlar Kaw, caramelized chicken, soup; and finish with an order of Nyom Samot, or squid and shrimp salad over glass noodles. The pop-up has kept their location hush-hush, but you can place orders here.
Man vs Fries
Man vs Fries will make you rethink fries as a side dish. The french-fry centric restaurant is yet another move from the Bay area, also operating as a ghost kitchen while under COVID-19 restrictions. Bringing you the "maximum version of the french fry" and inspired by the Texas State Fair, Man vs Fries's menu puts fries in burritos, carne asada fries and plans to bring its newfound Lone Star State audience unique Texas-specific items in the spring. Man vs Fries is currently operating at 11410 Manchaca Road, but plans to open two more locations on East Cesar Chavez and South 1st before the end of the year.
Specializing in the classics, cheese and pepperoni, Sammataro started as a pop-up in Austin before it became a permanent fixture. The pizza truck, located on1158 Lost Creek Blvd., opened this month, after a group of former New Yorkers moved to Austin, mid-pandemic, with the goal of bringing Silician pizza to town. Using pepperoni from the famous Ezzo's, flour from Barton Springs Mill and a host of toppings, Sammataro's pizza is meant to reflect a Sicilian experience.
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After two years of no in-person events, Austin festival South by Southwest has agreed to give 50% of ownership to P-MRC, a Los Angeles company that controls publishing operations for Rolling Stone and Billboard.
The media venture was founded in 2020 and is part-owned by Jay Penske, racer Roger Penske's son and head of Penske Racing and Penske Media.
The move comes after the COVID-19 pandemic left the festival with two years worth of hemorrhaging funds. SXSW organizers were left scrambling for solutions in March 2020 when the city of Austin canceled the festival at the onset of the pandemic. One-third of the festival's 175 year-round employees were laid off, and the festival ran a shortened virtual event in 2021.
SXSW CEO and co-founder Roland Swenson said in a statement that the company is grateful to get aid when they need it most and that they are now looking to the future.
"It has been an incredibly tough period for small businesses, SXSW included," Swenson said. "When Jay Penske approached us with an interest in becoming a partner, it was a true lifeline for us. Both of our companies share a passion for producing high-quality content that helps shape modern culture, so this feels like a natural alliance."
Both of Austin's big-name festivals are now in the hands of out-of-town buyers. In 2014, homegrown festival Austin City Limits was bought in part by LiveNation, who took 51% ownership in Austin live promoter C3 Presents.
.@MLS Commissioner @thesoccerdon and @AustinFC's Minister of Culture and part-owner Matthew @McConaughey will discuss how the League is deepening fan engagement, and how Clubs are becoming cultural mainstays at 10am on Channel 3. ⚽ #SXSW pic.twitter.com/2XFj4XEdwL
— SXSW (@sxsw) March 18, 2021
The fest has captured the essence of Austin arts and culture for 34 years, and it doesn't plan on stopping now. With P-MRC by its side, SXSW said it plans on keeping its unique identity but expanding operations as it prepares for an in-person celebration next spring.
"Since 1987, SXSW has been the world's premier festival centered at the convergence of tech, media, film, and music," Penske said. "Today SXSW continues to be one of the most recognized brands for empowering creative talent and bringing together the brightest creators of our time. As part of this significant investment, we plan to build upon SXSW's incredible foundation while extending the platform further digitally and assisting Roland and his incredible team to bring their vision to even greater heights."
With their future restored, SXSW's newest slogan rings truer than ever: "See you next year at SXSW!"
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Update: Former Travis County deputy suspected of killing 3 in northwest Austin now in police custody
Stephen Broderick is now in police custody for a suspected domestic violence incident that killed three in northwest Austin on Sunday.
After initially being called an active shooting incident, joint local law enforcement and more than 75 FBI agents proceeded with an almost day-long manhunt with three helicopters and on-ground teams for former Travis County deputy Broderick. Police captured him after a 911 caller reported a suspicious man walking along U.S. 290, where he was taken into custody.
Police believe the victims, who have been identified as two Hispanic women and one Black man, knew their assailant. A child was involved but is now safely in police custody. Two of the victims have been identified as former and current Elgin ISD students: Alyssa Broderick and Willie Simmons III.
The school district released a statement offering its condolences to the families. Alyssa was enrolled until October 2020 and played on the basketball team. Simmons was a senior at Elgin High School where he was captain of the football team and had been recruited to play football at the University of North Texas.
Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez released the following statement on the incident: "I'm truly heartbroken that a former Travis County Sheriff's Office Deputy is the suspect in such a horrific incident. TCSO is standing by to provide any, and all assistance we can to the families of the victims in their time of need. I'm proud of the integrity and professionalism shown by the men and women of TCSO, APD and other law enforcement agencies, who worked tirelessly throughout the night to locate Stephen Broderick. I'm especially grateful to the vigilant citizen who called 911 after seeing Broderick, and to the Manor PD officers and TCSO deputies who took him into custody this morning."
APD @Chief_Chacon provides updated media briefing in relation to Great Hills Trail incident. - PIO8 https://t.co/47siNWhARI
— Austin Police Department (@Austin_Police) April 18, 2021
During a press briefing at 4:45 p.m. on Sunday, Interim Police Chief Joe Chacon said law enforcement was on the scene for several hours investigating the incident with 41-year-old Broderick.
"We're very sorry that obviously this has happened and we continue to try and locate this individual, we are transitioning from a search in this area to a fugitive search and those efforts will continue until this person is located," Chacon said. "I don't want anyone to think that we're packing up and going home. We're going to continue to look for this individual because he continues to pose a threat to this community."
#texasshooting #masshooting Arboretum shooting Austin. pic.twitter.com/SkIsgDoYHt
— Jamie Hammonds (@jamie_hammonds5) April 18, 2021
This story has been updated at 8 a.m. Monday to include the latest information.
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Formula 1 is returning to Florida for the first time since 1959, announcing that the brand-new Miami Grand Prix will join the calendar in 2022 and Austin will no longer be the only F1 race in the U.S.
Held at the Hard Rock Stadium complex in Miami Gardens, this will be the first race in the Sunshine State in 62 years. With a new track setup, F1 will loop the stadium, home of the NFL's Miami Dolphins.
Excited for @F1 @f1miami @HardRockStadium - a Global Entertainment Destination. This event will bring opportunities for so many and will be world-class. Thank you to @gregmaffei #chasecarey #stefanodomenicali @MayorRHarris @Ogilbert @CommishDiaz @MayorDaniella pic.twitter.com/n6dDDD1cPX
— Tom Garfinkel (@TomGarfinkel) April 18, 2021
The new 3.36 mile circuit has 19 corners, three straights and potential for three DRS zones, with expected top speeds of 198 mph.
Now with two races in the U.S., F1 President Stefano Domenicali said they will avoid having back-to-back events by keeping the Miami Grand Prix separate from the U.S. Grand Prix, which is held at Austin's Circuit of the Americas.
The date of the race has yet to be confirmed, though Domenicali said he expects the first race in a 10-year deal to take place in the second quarter of 2022. Austin's race will take place on Oct. 24 this year.
"The USA is a key growth market for us, and we are greatly encouraged by our growing reach in the U.S. which will be further supported by this exciting second race," Domenicali said.
Miami will mark the 11th race location in the U.S. since the Championship began in 1950: Circuit of The Americas in Austin; Dallas, Texas; Indianapolis, Indiana; Sebring, Florida; Riverside, California; Watkins Glen, New York; Long Beach, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Detroit, Michigan and Phoenix, Arizona. COTA was first opened in 2012.
Domenicali said F1 will be working with the FIA and the Hard Rock Stadium to leave a lasting impact on the community: discounted tickets for residents, a program to support local businesses and a STEM education program through F1 in schools.
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