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Odam: A veggie-focused favorite returns, and big barbecue news

Beloved Austin restaurant Veggie Heaven will reopen at a new location next year. The restaurant in the 5th Street Commons building at 1611 W. Fifth St. will be operated by Stacy Chen, daughter of Veggie Heaven founder Mei Wang. The original Veggie Heaven on Guadalupe Street next to the University of Texas, which opened in 1998, closed in December, and Chen says she has received an outpouring of support since that time from people who miss the restaurant.

“We feel like we are a real part of the Austin community,” Stacy Chen said. “We’re very happy to be opening back up in Austin. Hopefully we can help keep Austin weird.”

The new Veggie Heaven will feature customer favorites from the original location, as well as new menu items, and it will (of course) be vegetarian, with many vegan options. Veggie Heaven will also serve beer and wine. Chen says she hopes to have the restaurant open in March, and customers can expect to see her retired mother on the floor welcoming guests at the new space. (

New location

La Barbecue moved to 1906 E. Cesar Chavez St. next to the bar Stay Gold. The move will eventually mean later hours and more menu items. Once they staff their night crew (they hope to do that within the next week or so), the trailer will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Starting at 6 p.m., in addition to any regular menu items that remain unsold, La Barbecue will serve nightly specials like smoked quail, lamb and duck. The trailer is open for lunch from 11 a.m. until sold out on Wednesday through Sunday.


If you want Franklin Barbecue, you’re gonna have to wait like everyone else. In case you missed my report in Monday’s paper, the barbecue titans have banned all professional line standers and order takers, effective immediately. After several customer complaints about the for-hire placeholders, Aaron and Stacy Franklin had had enough.

“It has gotten out of hand, and we owe it to the rest of our faithful customers to not allow the distraction,” the Franklins said in a messaged statement. “As the amount of line holders has multiplied, the large orders have begun to bog down the line. We prefer to serve our customers in house, and not to have a second party representing our food and brand.”

Regular customers can still have a friend join them after waiting in line.

“We still want our regular customers to limit the amount of joiners they have,” Stacy Franklin said. “Our normal customers are very conscious of this, but line holders continue to push the limits of what is fair for others.”

Now open

Rebel Pizza Bar opened at 7858 Shoal Creek Blvd. The counter-service restaurant, owned by the partners at neighboring Suzi’s China Grill, serves appetizers, salads, pizza and desserts and offers a full-service bar and rooftop seating. Rebel Pizza Bar is open Monday-Thursday from 4 to 11 p.m., Friday from 4 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. View the full menu, which includes pizzas like the Goldenpye (olive oil, spicy sausage, caramelized onion, farm egg, crispy potato, rosemary, goat cheese and Parmesan), at


Aaron Franklin, Michael Fojtasek and Grae Nonas of Olamaie, and Launderette’s Rene Ortiz are among the Texas chefs who will participate in the fifth annual Wine & Swine event on Nov. 8 at Star Hill Ranch. The pork-centric event, which features more than two dozen chefs preparing whole Berkshire pigs in a multitude of styles, is one of the main fundraisers for the Austin Food and Wine Alliance grant program.

Tickets are on sale for $95 at Tickets will be sold at the door for $100. Round-trip shuttles, which include sparkling wine and snacks, will be available for $20. More information at

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