Summer is finally here and Austin's food scene is following suit with fresh and vibrant specials, pop-ups and announcements. Uniquely-flavored ice creams, classic burgers fresh off the grill and new takes on classic dishes are the anthem for the new bites of 2021.
Whether you're spending the season by the grill, indulging in all kinds of frozen treats or trying out new things this summer, these new Austin restaurants have you covered.
Z’Tejas Southwest Grill announces Woo Woo Burgers ghost kitchen
(Woo Woo Burgers)
Operating out of a 6th Street ghost kitchen, Woo Woo Burgers is a new restaurant concept by Z'Tejas Southwest Grill to serve simple burgers made with simple ingredients—1/3 lb patties with lettuce, tomatoes, red onions and cheese. The kitchen, which opened on May 28, serves a menu celebrating American culture: burgers, chicken sandwiches, sides and all the fixin's. The brand new burger joint is celebrating the launch by donating 10% of proceeds to the Special Olympics until June 7.
Ramen Tatsu-Ya summer spicy chilled ramen
After gracing Austin with Japanese soul food for almost 10 years, Ramen Tatsu-Ya, with a location in South, East and North Austin, is bringing back the favorite summer special—spicy chilled ramen. Famous for some unique menu items like the Tsukemen dip ramen, the Spicy Chilled ramen is a similarly brothless noodle with citrus soy dressing, ajitama, pork, cucumber, tomatoes and chili oil for a simultaneously spicy and cooling bowl. The ramen will be available all summer but after that, it's gone!
De Nada Cantina opening
(De Nada Cantina)
Coming from some of Austin's prevalent foodies like former ATX Cocina Chef Allie McMillan, Sawyer & Co. Head Chef Alex Amar, 2 Dine 4 Head Chef Nick Barrera and Half Step Bar owner Chris Bostick, De Nada Cantina is a modern take on traditional tacos and margaritas. Featuring blue corn tacos with interior Mexican flavors like Pollo Escabeche and Camarones, Nada Cantina will also have an extensive cocktail menu with drinks like "the Cadillac" of margaritas "El Chingon," and fresh palomas. The restaurant, 4715 East Cesar Chavez, opens on June 2.
DipDipDip Ice Cream brings back specials
Just in time for summer, DipDipDip Ice Cream, 7301 Burnet Road, is bringing back two original sundae creations: Sum Yum Yuzu and Shroom of Doom. Black pepper-yuzu-mascarpone ice cream, meringue kisses, berry preserve and shiso leaf are served in a pink lemon dipped cone to create the Sum Yum Yuzu sundae and the umami-filled Shroom of Doom is made with caramel-chocolate-shiitake ice cream, sherry sauce, hazelnuts and fried parsnips. There are plenty of other sweet treats available from the pop-up: boozy milkshakes, ice cream tacos and pints of cookies and matcha ice cream.
Bobo's Snack Bar opening
(Bobo's Snack Bar)
After South Congress' Snack Bar was shuttered in 2016, owners Bethany Andrée and Karl Gilkey are trying again on 3850 Airport Blvd. Owners consider the new space to be a community tasting room, as all the food they serve is sourced within a 100-mile radius from Austin: produce from VRDNT Farms and edamame hummus from Fat Belly Pretzels are just a few of the unique flavors from Lone Star artisans you can try while you visit.
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Republic Square Park has turned into a Ford-themed fiesta for its Built to Connect pop-up experience, complete with test drives, off-roading and an inside look at the Tesla-rivaling electric vehicles that the motor vehicle company is planning to integrate over the next decade.
The outdoor driving event is free, open to the public and will stay in the park from now until Oct. 24, offering rides on Bronco Mountain, a 0-40 mph zip in the 2022 all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning and a chance to win an original Ford Bronco.
The event kicked off with a panel of speakers, including Austin Director of Transportation Rob Spillar, Ford General Manager Darren Palmer and engineering specialists discussing Ford's goals to make it so that 50% of the vehicles on the road are electric by 2030.
As an eco-conscious city, Spillar said that around 4,000 vehicles, or 22% of the Texas electric vehicle market, as well as over 15,000 plugins lie in Austin, meaning driving electric just got accessible.
"Austin, as you know, is a fast-growing modern city that is committed to protecting the long term health and viability of our communities and strategies that reduce greenhouse gases, mitigate the effects of climate change and improve the drone quality of life here in Central Texas for all of our residents," Spillar said.
And Ford's electric vehicles are putting up some steep competition for newly-Austin-based company Tesla. The new electric Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lighting offer amenities that used to be exclusive to Musk's brand, such as the BlueCruise self-driving network. The cars also boast a 300-mile range on a single charge, assisted reverse technology and access to the biggest charging network outside of the home.
Plus, Ford's got affordability on its side. The F-150 Lightning starts at $39,974 and the Mustang Mach-E starts at $42,895, while the cheapest Tesla model, the Model 3, starts at $41,990 and averages 262 miles on a single charge.
Speaking of price, the numbers on the electric vehicles may look like a little more than you'd like to pay for your transport, but Palmer promises it will pay off. In addition to a $7,500 tax credit you can earn for your sustainability, you'll never have to buy a pricey tank of gas again.
"Personally, I have not found one customer ever, who would go back to gas so that says something," Palmer said. "I realized, at $51,000, that car outruns every childhood hero car I ever had."
Texas buyers: take note. The Ford Lightning can power your house for three to 10 days, just in case the statewide power grid fails. You can take it glamping with you, so you don't have to leave the comfort of modern life behind, and in a pinch, Palmer said he's even seen a wedding party powered by the truck.
Ford is investing $30 billion into the U.S. market to meet demand by 2025 and the new electric truck already has over 150,000 reservations.
"I think they're going to take off much faster than you expect—they're going to be extremely, extremely popular next year," Palmer said. "With the incentives that are available today, this is starting to become more mainstream and viable for more and more families. We couldn't have done that before, we didn't have the technology, or the technology at that price."
The event is ongoing through next weekend from 12-9 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.- 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
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The Austin Police Department is searching for a man who is believed to be behind a series of robberies that is "sexual in nature and is escalating."
Three robbery cases that took place in North Austin within a 30-day period are being investigated by police, who report the victims all had similar descriptions for suspects in the case. The suspect is described as a 20-25-year-old Spanish-speaking Hispanic man, approximately 5'3, thin build, recently shaved with black hair. Police say he is known to typically wear athletic clothing and used a knife on each of the victims.
Here's a breakdown of the cases:
1. At 7:56 a.m. on Sept. 22 at the 1600 block of Rutland Drive, a woman was walking alone and returning from her child's school when a suspect walking by inappropriately touched her. The suspect then grabbed her by the arm, threatened her with a knife and demanded "her property."
2. At 8:10 a.m. on Oct. 11 at 1700 block of Colony Creek Drive, a woman was walking to her child's school when a man approached her with a knife and then demanded her personal items. The suspect then said he would return the items in return for sex.
3. At 11:03 a.m. on Oct. 13 at the 9300 block of Northgate Boulevard, a woman was with her child in the laundry room of an apartment complex when a man walked in performing a sexual act. The suspect demanded personal items from the victim, threatening to hurt the victim and take her child.
Police cautioned the public to walk without earbuds, stay alert and report suspicious activity to the police.
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