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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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Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced a record-setting second quarter during an earnings call broadcasted from the Giga Texas construction site in Southeast Travis County on Monday.
The electric carmaker reported more than $1 billion in quarterly net income and the production of more than 200,000 vehicles for the first time despite challenges such as a global semiconductor shortage.
"It … seems that public sentiment towards electric vehicles is at an inflection point, and at this point, I think, almost everyone agrees electric vehicles are the only way forward," Musk said.
Exterior shots taken just a while ago of Giga Texas (while @elonmusk is reportedly at the Gigafactory!) during today's earnings call!
Hope @peterdog15 got to catch the technoking in his video! #fastestinhistory #Tesla pic.twitter.com/WqeDlb5wU3
— Austin Tesla Club (@AustinTeslaClub) July 26, 2021
Despite rising consumer demand and adequate factory capacity, Tesla faces what Musk described as a "quite serious" global semiconductor shortage, which will determine the company's growth rate for the rest of the year.
With increased revenue and production, Tesla is investing in new factories, Chief Financial Officer Zachary Kirkhorn said. These include Giga Texas, the $1.1 billion manufacturing plant that broke ground last summer and is slated to open later this year.
The Giga Texas factory in Southeast Travis County has rapidly increased in size since ground broke last August. (Tesla)
Musk commended the construction team for "incredible progress," transforming what was basically a vacant site into "a mostly complete large factory a year later."
I was at Giga Texas yesterday. Team is making excellent progress. Building will be almost a mile long when complete.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 25, 2021
Giga Texas will produce the highly anticipated Cybertruck, along with other models, but Musk said scaling its production will be difficult, especially given the supply chain delays caused by the pandemic. "It's going to move as fast as the slowest of its up to 10,000 unique parts," he said.
In other news, Musk said Monday's earnings call would likely be his last regular appearance, only jumping on future quarterly calls when big announcements warrant it.
Tesla Solar recently made news when it announced plans to build the nation's most sustainable residential community in Southeast Austin earlier this month. The newly built homes will feature Tesla solar roof tiles and Powerwall battery storage as well as electric vehicle charging stations.
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The city of Austin released a shortlist of seven candidates for the police chief position left vacant when Brian Manley retired in March.
City Manager Spencer Cronk hopes to announce an appointment by the end of August, which will require City Council approval.
The finalists, chosen from a field of 46 applicants, include:
- APD Interim Chief Joseph Chacon, who previously served as an assistant chief in the department for almost five years
- Anne Kirkpatrick, former police chief in Oakland, California, who was fired last year after a federal monitor criticized her handling of a fatal 2018 police shooting of a homeless man
- Dallas Police Department Assistant Chief Avery L. Moore, who is a 30-year veteran of the department
- Atlanta Police Department Deputy Chief Celeste Murphy, who manages the department's community services division
- Dekalb County Police Chief Mirtha V. Ramos, who previously served as division chief in the Miami-Dade Police Department
- Wichita Police Department Chief Gordon Ramsay, who is a former president of the Minnesota Police Chief's Association as well as one of the first police chiefs of a major U.S. City to call George Floyd's death a murder, as reported by the Wichita Eagle
- Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Emada E. Tingirides, who is also commanding officer of the department's newly formed Community Safety Partnership Bureau, which serves L.A.'s underserved communities
City staff will interview the finalists in the coming weeks, with several community input opportunities to come, according to a Monday press release.
The city conducted a public survey in March and hosted community input meetings in April to learn more about what residents are looking for in their next police chief, which helped shape the selection criteria for the position.
"They want to see the Chief be reform-minded and transparent and have a track record of fostering community involvement and accountability," Cronk said in the release. "The candidates selected show these characteristics in various ways."
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Days after Austin began once again recommending masks in public spaces, Austin ISD announced Monday that kindergarten through sixth-grade classes will have virtual options this fall.
The district will discuss the move in a special board meeting Monday evening starting at 5 p.m., while full details will be released Friday.
Teachers will not have to fret about the new option—no educators will have to juggle both virtual and in-person learning. Instead, certain teachers will specialize in virtual education, according to a press release.
The news comes after a recent spike in COVID cases in Travis County and across the nation. Children typically suffer fewer symptoms of COVID when contracted, but they are now catching the virus more often than their older counterparts without a vaccine available to them and as the more contagious Delta variant is quickly being spread.
While local health officials are recommending everyone wear masks, public school districts are unable to mandate masks due to an executive order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott in May.
Parents have expressed concern about classrooms with masks unenforceable and children under the age of 12 ineligible for a vaccine. Some have even said they would look for alternative schooling if AISD did not offer a virtual option for students.
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