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!
- Salt & Time adjusts to the apocalypse - austonia ›
- COVID weight is America's second pandemic - austonia ›
- 10 iconic Austin businesses that have closed due to COVID-19 (and ... ›
- 7 Asian-owned businesses to support during AAPI month - austonia ›
- Bad Larry Burger Club serves burgers in a chute - austonia ›
- Austin-based chef of Suerte named in “Best New Chefs” List - austonia ›
Austin's Delta 8 industry has been turned on its head after Texas health officials clarified that the cannabinoid is on the state list of illegal substances, though it was previously believed to be legal by most retailers, consumers and manufacturers.
House Bill 1325, which was signed in June 2019 by Gov. Greg Abbott, and the Farm Bill, signed into law by former President Donald Trump in 2018, legalized any hemp product containing less than .3% THC. The same bills were thought to have made Delta 8 legal, though the Texas Department of State Health Services added a notice on its website saying it was still a controlled substance as of Friday, Oct. 15.
Both the federal and state governments keep separate lists on what is considered a controlled substance. Marijuana is considered Schedule I, a category reserved for substances with "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse," both statewide and federally.
Austin-based CBD retailer Grassroots Harvest CEO Kemal Whyte, like many CBD shop retailers, was blindsided by the announcement. Many small businesses rely on Delta 8 for their sales—Green Herbal Care CBD said about 90% of its sales come from Delta 8—and Whyte said he is frustrated by the inconsistencies in the drug scheduling system.
Since 87% of Texans support the legalization of marijuana, at least for medical use, per a recent poll, Whyte said he wonders who this legislation is for.
"It's gonna have a massive impact on small businesses—there's just no way around it," Whyte said. "The reality is, we don't want to push out anything bad for our customers, we want this to benefit our customers and to help them. If we can make money while doing it, that's the American dream. What are we doing, whose benefit is this for?"
Delta 8 surged in popularity after the perceived legalization—consumers enjoyed its lower psychotropic potency, decreased anxiety while using it and the peace of mind as a legal way to get high. So in order to protect their products and livelihoods, both Grassroots Harvest and Austin-based manufacturer Hometown Heroes are taking legal action.
Whyte said Grassroots Harvest is suing DSHS, saying their action is creating negative effects in the market. Meanwhile, a Hometown Heroes spokesperson said the company is in the process of filing a temporary restraining order that would pause the ban on Delta-8 in the state of Texas.
Threats against Delta 8 are not new—DSHS lost a lawsuit trying to make "smokable hemp products" illegal last year and Texas lawmakers had been considering a bill that would make Delta 8 illegal, though it was dropped after the clarification was made.
Hometown Heroes released a formal statement in response to the DSHS rule.
"I need to be clear—we love Texas, we're just choosing to fight for the will of the people in regards to cannabis in Texas," Hometown Hero CEO Lukas Gilkey said in a statement. "(Texas DSHS) are using backhanded ways to create legislation and go against the will of the people."
Whyte laments the fact that it would be easier legally to "open up a strip club that also sells guns," and said he can't post customer testimonials that mention the benefits of Delta 8 without getting hit with a cease and desist from the Food and Drug Administration. Whyte said he isn't opposed to regulation—far from it—he just wants to see it go through the correct channels.
"The fact that they're stunting our ability to communicate with our clients that want to learn about this, you're preventing us from communicating with them and teaching them, or spreading information that we know," Whyte said. "I think that that in and of itself opens up a lot of questions."
Grassroots Harvest still has Delta 8 products on its shelves for the time being but for how long, Whyte doesn't know.
- Willie Nelson to host cannabis convention for 88th birthday - austonia ›
- First hemp vodka in Texas makes its way to Austin - austonia ›
- Travis County approves first Texas Hemp Harvest Festival - austonia ›
- Delta 8 has landed in Austin: what is it and who uses it? - austonia ›
Austin Public Health and other clinics around Austin are now providing booster shots for all three vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, to fully vaccinated individuals after both Pfizer and J & J were approved by the CDC on Wednesday.
APH and Austin clinics, which were already administering the approved Pfizer booster, will begin distributing shots as soon as Friday.
Those who received the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine more than six months ago are elligble to receive a booster if they are over 65 or if they are over 18 and:
- Live in a long-term care environment
- Have underlying medical conditions
- Work or live in high-risk settings, such as schools, hospitals or correctional facilities
Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said in a media Q&A Friday that APH is encouraging boosters just as much as they have urged residents to get their first and second doses.
"Boosters are incredibly important to keeping our community protected and hospitalizations low," Walkes said. "If we can stay on top of our vaccinations, we provide protections for our most vulnerable and make it that much harder for COVID to spread in our community."
Eligible residents are free to choose the same booster as their first doses or "mix and match," per the CDC announcement.
Those looking for another dose can simply bring their vaccination card to APH centers or the dozens of Walgreens and CVS locations in the metro, which began administering doses Friday.
Additional updated guidance from the CDC allows for all eligible individuals to choose which vaccine they receive as a "mix-and-match" booster dose. It is advised to remember to bring your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Card showing the original doses with you when going for booster shots.
- Austin downgrades to Stage 4 as COVID cases decline - austonia ›
- Joe Rogan incorrectly says vaccinated people cause mutant strains ... ›
- Everything you need to know about breakthrough cases in Austin ... ›
- After racing for a first dose of the vaccine, some Austinites find ... ›
- COVID in Austin: 9 ICU beds, alternate care site, booster shots ... ›