Family-friendly pizza place with a pedigree comes to Round Rock

12:00 a.m. Thursday, June 1, 2017 Austin360 Eats
Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Micklethwait Craft Meats is one of the big names that will be at Stomp’n’Holler BBQ and Music Festival in Taylor this weekend. Matthew Odam/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Pizza lovers in Austin likely remember 40 North, the former South First Street pizza trailer that landed on my list of the best pizza in Austin in 2015. Chef Clint Elmore, who studied in Naples and worked at Paulie Gee’s in Brooklyn before moving to Austin, said at the time of the trailer’s closure that he hoped to eventually be serving his pies from a brick-and-mortar restaurant, and that time has arrived.

Elmore has moved his focus from Neapolitan pies to New York City-style pizzas at PS 35 in Round Rock , which opened Tuesday at 1500 N. Interstate 35 in Round Rock. The restaurant is operated by SMGB Hospitality Co., the group behind the successful East Austin casual Chinese restaurant Old Thousand. The name is a hybrid of the public school naming conventions of New York City and the location on I-35.

The menu includes some pizza stylings familiar to 40 North customers, like the Hot Honey, with pepperoni, Italian sausage, ricotta, Parmesan and Mike’s Hot Honey. In addition to pizzas, the restaurant serves thin-crust pizza, hot and cold sandwiches on fresh-baked bread, a selection of pasta dishes, salads, soft-serve ice cream, craft beer, and cocktails. The family-friendly restaurant features classic video games and an outdoor pavilion for live music, yard games, dining and drinking.

PS 35 is initially open only for dinner, from 5 to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Barbecue and music fest

The inaugural Stomp’n’Holler BBQ and Music Festival is bringing together some of the biggest names in Texas barbecue and a mixture of rockabilly, Texana, country and bluegrass musical acts in downtown Taylor’s Heritage Square on Saturday.

Taylor’s Louie Mueller Barbecue, Black’s Barbecue of Lockhart, Elgin’s Southside Market, and Austin’s Stiles Switch BBQ and Brew and Micklethwait Craft Meats are the biggest names of a group of 10 pitmasters that will serve smoked meat throughout the day. Grammy-winning band the Mavericks will headline the list of bands that includes the Whiskey Shivers and Rosie Flores.

Three levels of tickets are on sale, from $35 to $100. Visit stompnhollerfest.com for tickets and more information.

Burger love

I don’t know Kevin Alexander, but I have to hand it to the guy. Dude puts in work. He visited 30 cities in one year to compile a list of the 100 Best Burgers in America for Thrillist.com. And he didn’t just go with the obvious choices, or PR-championed restaurants. There are some deep cuts on his list.

As someone who researches and writes his own lists (and one big Dining Guide) each year, looking at the amount of work that went into this makes me exhausted, and a little queasy. Of course, any great burger list must include strong representation from Texas. And while there are nine from the Lone Star State, only two from Austin made it in: the Royale with Cheese at Justine’s (#61) and the Plancha Burger at Launderette (#31). The burger critic actually picked five from Dallas, including the sixth-ranked the Ozersky Burger (named after late, great food writer Josh Ozersky) at John Tesar’s Knife in Dallas. For the complete Thrillist list of the best burgers in America, and a list of my favorite burgers in Austin, visit Austin360.com/thefeed.

New hours

Two new faces have joined the list of options during Austin’s two favorite dining and drinking portions of the week.

Mueller development fried chicken restaurant J.T. Youngblood’s started weekday happy hour, Tuesday-Friday from 2 to 6 p.m. The restaurant helmed by Todd Duplechan of Lenoir serves $3 beers, $4 cocktails and wine and $5 nuggets, wings and more.

Philip Speer’s new French-bistro-meets-Waffle-House spot Bonhomie (5350 Burnet Road) recently began brunch service. Bonhomie serves brunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The brunch menu includes a roster of pommes rosti (think fancy hash browns) made with toppings like pear butter, yogurt and chive; and foie gras gravy, cognac and a soft egg.

Closures

One of the early movers on Rainey Street is bowing out of the game. No Va Kitchen + Bar will close after service June 3.

“Our first priority is to find new career paths for all of our staff. They are the backbone of this restaurant, and we want the best for them,” said No Va’s director of operations Lorenzo Laurel, whose family owns the property and hopes to find a tenant that will “keep the friendly vibe of the street.”

No Va will be running specials and discounts from the kitchen and bar and 50 percent off all wine up through the last day of service. No Va, which first announced its presence to the world with executive chef Brad Sorenson in 2011, opened for business in August 2013 on the street that is widely known as a drinking destination. Chef Iliana de la Vega’s neighboring El Naranjo and chef Kevin Fink’s Emmer & Rye have proven the exceptions to the booze-centric street that is also home to several food trailers and food-trailer-turned-restaurant G’Raj Mahal.

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