Papalote opens second South Austin location; Harvey relief continues

Papalote Taco House opened last week at 3632 S. Congress Ave. It’s the third taqueria of that name opened by brothers Sergio and Erica Varela, natives of Tejupilco, Mexico, who got their start in the service industry in Austin working as bussers at places like Granite Cafe and Mezaluna. The taco shop, which features street tacos inspired by their childhood, like mushrooms and hominy and shredded pork loin covered in mole pipian, serves the same menu as the original on 2803 S. Lamar Blvd. and the second location at 13219 N. U.S. 183.

The new location offers much more indoor seating than the original, as well as covered patio dining, sharing space with their barbecue truck, Twelve Bones BBQ. Papalote South Congress is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. The Varela family also owns Azul Tequila locations in South and North Austin.

Now open

Phoebe’s Diner, the new comfort food cafe from the owners of Winebelly and chef Cameron Stuerzenberger (formerly of Fork & Vine and Bess Bistro, among others), opened last week at 533 W. Oltorf St., in the same strip as Winebelly. Phoebe’s Diner takes its culinary cues from classic American diners and also serves some barbecue dishes. Think buttermilk pancakes, fried chicken, smoked pork ribs, smoked ham and more. Phoebe’s serves breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

New trailer

Looking to enjoy the rich creaminess of a milkshake without the, um, cream? Milky Way vegan milkshake food trailer is now open at 2908 Fruth St. next to Spiderhouse. The dairy-free trailer uses coconut milk for its desserts. Check out the flavors and more information at


El Sapo, the Tex-Mex burger operation from the El Chile Group, closed without advance notice recently. The restaurant originally opened on Manor Road in 2014 and moved to Lamar in June. Known for Tex-Mex hamburger preparations, the spot actually took home the No. 9 spot on my recent list of Best Veggie Burgers in Austin.

“We are sad to report that due to circumstances beyond our control, El Sapo will be closing permanently effective today. We want to thank our loyal customers for your amazing support,” the restaurant’s management said in a statement.

Eat, drink, help relief efforts

The Austin hospitality industry stepped up in a big way, with dozens of bars and restaurants donating proceeds to Hurricane Harvey relief and collecting relief supplies. Many of the campaigns have ended, but a few businesses continue to collect money and goods.

When you purchase an Alamo Drafthouse ticket online, the site gives you the opportunity to contribute to Americares, Greater Houston Community Foundation’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, and the Food Bank of Corpus Christi. The Drafthouse, which matched $20,000 in donations, will continue the campaign through the month.

Downtown seafood restaurant Coast is donating $2 per poke bowl sold through the end of September to relief efforts.

The Hightower teamed with Antonelli’s Cheese and will donate 30 percent of sales of their Queso Fundido (which uses Antonelli’s Cheese) to Austin Disaster Relief Network until Sept. 30.

Through the end of September, Hopdoddy will donate $1 from each Goodnight/Good Cause Burger.

Each Wednesday in September, the Infinite Monkey Theorem winery will donate 100 percent of profits to the town of Rockport’s recovery fund.

Through the end of September, Kerbey Lane Cafe will donate $1 from every crispy chicken Benedict and green chile mac & cheese sold at its seven locations to the Austin Community Foundation Central Texas Long-Term Hurricane Recovery Fund.

Houston-based Perry’s Steakhouse and Grille is donating $5 from each of its discounted three-course menus to J.J. Watt’s flood relief fund through the end of September.

Through the end of the month, Tiny Pies on South Lamar Boulevard will donate $1 from every Texas Two Step pie sold to the Houston Food Bank.

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