Austin's food scene is like a phoenix rising from the ashes as restaurants expand and grow after a grueling year in the service industry.
From pop-ups going permanent to local expansions, here are some developments in Austin food.
Fat City Stacks opening permanently at Yard Bar
Born from the need to adapt to the hardship COVID-19 imposed on the restaurant industry, Fat City Stacks comes from the same minds behind Asian-Southern fusion restaurants the Peached Tortilla and Bar Peached. Originally a pop-up restaurant, Fat City Stacks is putting down permanent roots at Yard Bar, a dog-loving cocktail bar, selling chicken and beef sliders or "stacks," plus golden crinkle-cut fries and tater tots that pair with the restaurant's numerous craft sauces. The move is mutually beneficial—Fat City is currently in the process of renovating Yard Bar's patio, located at 6700 Burnett Road, adding a play area for kids and revamping the putt-putt holes. According to its website, Fat City will open in person around "June...ish" but presently offers delivery.
Tso Chinese Delivery x Bom Bakeshop
In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, ghost kitchen Tso Chinese Delivery, which has made a name for itself by offering no-tip free delivery service, is pairing up with local bakery pop-up Bom Bakeshop to celebrate Asian cuisine. The bakeshop, known for bringing Austin its first mochi donuts, created a new Mandarin Orange donut flavor that will only be available for the rest of the month and will raise money for #tsogiving, Tso's charity to help end hunger in the city. The fruity donut comes in a two-pack, along with a chocolate sprinkle mochi donut, for $9 with $2 donated for every order.
Though it's only available for a very limited time, Mooby's, the fake fast-food chain featured in Kevin Smith movies like "Dogma" and "Clerks II," has transcended the silver screen and can be enjoyed at 3TEN ACL Live, located at 310 Willie Nelson Blvd, through Saturday. With the signature golden calf mascot watching over you, you'll find classic and vegan fast-food items like the "Cow Tipper" burger, "Cock Smoker Chicken Sandwich," "Hater Tots," and "Onion Rings to Rule Them All." You'll also get to enjoy an immersive, retro-themed environment to chow down in and relive the classic 1990's movies. You can make reservations here.
Simply Pho House relocation
Moving from its former Bee Cave location to the Hill Country Galleria at 12913 Galleria Circle, Simply Pho House is relocating and making room for a menu upgrade that will include a weekend Dim Sum brunch. The Vietnamese, Chinese and Thai fusion restaurant has been serving Austinites since 2014 and will take over the former spot of Pei Wei. If you're not hungry for some Pho or Pad Thai, the restaurant also has an extensive boba tea menu!
New Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ brick-and-mortar
Moving a little outside Austin, official Austin FC vendor and Austin's beloved blend of Tex Mex barbecue, Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ, is gearing up to head south and set up a brick-and-mortar location in Buda. Currently operating as a food truck on 11500 Menchaca Road, the restaurant is moving to the Buda Mill & Grain Co. shopping center at 306 S. Main Street "within the next year or so," so there's still plenty of time to enjoy the truck. Valentina's will only be a 15-minute drive South, so they aren't going far, and you'll still be able to get your fix at Q2 Stadium!
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An Austin-based program manager for Apple Maps and one of two leaders for the #AppleToo activist movement said she has been fired after a suspension.
According to the New York Times, Janneke Parrish said she was put on suspension for several days while the company investigated her activities before she was fired by a human resources employee via phone call on Thursday.
Parrish was under investigation for allegedly leaking a recording of an Apple staff meeting to the media, which she said she didn't do.
The report said the company told Parrish, who is 30, that she was being fired for having deleted files off her company-issued phone and computer before handing them in for examination. Parrish said the files she deleted contained her personal and financial information.
Among the files she deleted were the Robinhood app, which she said was to keep Apple from seeing "how much money I lost investing in GameStop," the Pokemon Go app and screenshots of programming bugs she was fixing.
Parrish said she believes Apple was retaliating against her efforts in organizing #AppleToo, a group of employees working to expose the company's "culture of secrecy" that has been "faced disproportionately by our Black, Indigenous, and other colleagues from minoritized racial, gender and historically marginalized groups of people."
Parrish had been publishing weekly accounts of workplace problems that had been shared anonymously with her from other employees, though she did not verify employment on all of them. The accounts she received were in the hundreds, so Parrish said she was hopeful her termination would lead to some justice within the company.
Employees at tech giants have been more outspoken than usual in recent months—with former Facebook data scientist Frances Haugen speaking out against her former employer—and Parrish said the company's desire to keep under wraps has eroded trust by discouraging employees to come forward with issues like harassment or wage disparity.
Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock commented on the matter: "We are and have always been deeply committed to creating and maintaining a positive and inclusive workplace. We take all concerns seriously and we thoroughly investigate whenever a concern is raised and, out of respect for the privacy of any individuals involved, we do not discuss specific employee matters."
Additionally, the email detailing her termination, which was obtained by the New York Times, said Apple had determined that Parrish "engaged in conduct in violation of Apple policies including, but not limited to, interfering with an investigation by deleting files on your company provided equipment after being specifically instructed not to do so."
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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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