Odam: Indie Chefs Table series brings national names to Austin for food and conversation


North Loop restaurant Foreign & Domestic launches its Indie Chefs Table event series Monday night when it welcomes chef Jason Vincent of Nightwood, a restaurant the Chicago Tribune has named one of the Windy City’s best.

The evening became a lot more interesting when, two weeks ago, Vincent announced he would be leaving Nightwood after more than five years. The celebrated chef who won Food & Wine’s Best New Chef in 2013 worked his last shift at the acclaimed Chicago restaurant this week. He is stepping down in preparation for the birth of his second child and to take some personal time before making his next move. That means Monday night’s dinner at Foreign & Domestic will be the last public meal Vincent is slated to cook for the foreseeable future.

The event will start with a conversation and Q&A with Vincent, who will then work solo and with the kitchen crew at F&D to create a seven-course meal using local produce and protein. The meal costs $100 (including tip) for table seats and $125 for counter seats, and the price includes a glass of bubbles during the conversation.

The series is an expansion of Foreign & Domestic’s annual Indie Chefs Week, when the North Loop restaurant hosts more than two dozen chefs from around the nation to prepare dinners for a week. Dining is about entertainment and comfort. It’s also a conversation between chef and diners. It gives chefs a chance to communicate who they are, where they come from and what their culinary vision is.

Vincent’s visit is the first in a series that will continue each month, with nationally acclaimed chefs visiting chef Ned Elliott’s restaurant for a conversation and multi-course meal. The series will give Austin diners insight into the people behind the food, as well as what’s happening in esteemed kitchens around the country. (fndaustin.com)

Now open

Pleasant Storage Room opened at 204 W. Fourth St. in the Warehouse District space previously occupied by Stack Burger Bar. The aesthetic and menu of the restaurant and bar nod to Cuban culture. The design includes marble counters, brass fixtures and graffiti, and Pleasant Storage Room (named after the first cocktail bar in Havana) serves classic Cuban sandwiches, ceviche and a host of rum-based cocktails and punches. (facebook.com/PleasantStorageRoom)

The owners of Spanish food truck Tapas Bravas plan to open Tiger Lily on Friday at the Midway Food Park (1905 Loop 360). The truck will serve Southeast Asian street food inspired by the owners’ travels. The menu includes sweet and spicy pickled cucumber ($4), Vietnamese chicken wings ($9), Asian street corn ($6) and an assortment of bubble teas.

Looking ahead

Torchy’s Tacos will move into the building previously occupied by Fran’s Hamburgers at 1822 S. Congress Ave., Chad Kimbell of KBGE engineering confirmed. KBGE has filed an application for administrative approval of a site plan.

The location will be the ninth brick-and-mortar store for the taco slingers who started in a trailer in South Austin. No word from Torchy’s on a possible opening date, but charting a timeline given the site plan app, sometime early or middle of next year would seem logical, according to Kimbell.

Is there an In-N-Out Burger coming to South Lamar Boulevard? It sure looks like it. A permit for construction at 3701 S. Lamar Blvd. was filed with the city of Austin on March 14.

The file reads: “The applicant is proposing to construct an In-N-Out Burger restaurant and associated improvements.” Project name: In-N-Out Burger. Status: In review.

That address is currently home to a Wendy’s, and it looks like In-N-Out would make changes to the building and leave the drive-thru. The master report due date for the project is April 30.

A co-worker who lives in East Austin has been eagerly awaiting a couple of excellent new additions to her neighborhood, so I checked in with Dai Due and Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop on her behalf.

Farmers Market staples and longtime supper clubbers Dai Due plan to open their butcher shop and restaurant on Manor Road in late June or early July. Jesse Griffiths and Tamara Mayfield will initially open their retail operation and serve dinner, with an eye on expanding to breakfast and lunch soon after. While you wait for the store and restaurant to open, you can order some Easter goodies from Dai Due, including lamb porchetta, brined and stuffed boneless rabbit and a Swiss chard, artichoke and cream cheese spread. (daidueaustin.net)

Olivia and Steve O’Neal’s Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop hopes to open at 2406 Manor Road in late June. The purveyors of excellent cupcakes (cookies, pies and more) on South First Street are expanding their operation with a dessert bar with beer and wine cocktails from the Tipsy Texan, a regular pie menu, cake and cheesecake by the slice and a rotating seasonal menu of plated desserts from pastry chef Karina Akhavan. (sugarmamasbakeshop.com)


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