Austin Restaurant News

Four Seasons chef Elmar Prambs enraptures Austin for 30 years

Four Seasons chef Elmar Prambs enraptures Austin for 30 years

Six days a week, Elmar Prambs arrives at the Four Seasons Hotel Austin at 6 a.m. “Everything is clean and fresh, and you have the kitchen to yourself,” says Prambs, who has been the hotel’s chef for its entire history in downtown Austin. “Of course, it’s a 24-hour kitchen, including a night cook. In 30 years, it has never closed.” Prambs, 60, a German native who...
Bonhomie weaves French and American influences and makes it look easy

Bonhomie weaves French and American influences and makes it look easy

My fiancee stole a cursory glance at the Bonhomie menu and then surveyed the minimalist space from our seats at the end of the open kitchen. “What exactly is the concept again?” she asked. I’d tossed her a few adjectives to describe the restaurant earlier in the week, but if you live with me, I probably start to sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher after a while. And she certainly...
Do Texas restaurants shortchange on food by the pound? Mostly not.

Do Texas restaurants shortchange on food by the pound? Mostly not.

When Sid Miller squawked about a proposed change in law ending state oversight of scales in restaurants, we wondered if Texas Department of Agriculture inspectors have uncovered a lot of weighty problems when it comes to sales of barbecue and other vittles. That is, do customers stand a good chance of ordering a pound of brisket and getting less than that? Not so, at least according to the results...
Cultural exchange: Excellent Kemuri Tatsu-Ya mashes up Texas and Japan

Cultural exchange: Excellent Kemuri Tatsu-Ya mashes up Texas and Japan

Think about the idea of “fusion cuisine.” What comes to mind? Spicy chicken pizza from Wolfgang Puck? Maybe wasabi mashed potatoes or, that recent abomination, sushi burritos? Of course, those are the easy targets. There’s nothing inherently wrong or hackneyed about melding cuisines — without the concept we wouldn’t have the Vietnamese banh mi; tam ka shrimp and grits...
Grizzelda’s has more flair than focus

Grizzelda’s has more flair than focus

The server at Grizzelda’s explained the restaurant’s concept to the adjacent table: “It’s interior Mexican cuisine meets coastal Mexican. With a Tex-Mex flair.” The description left me searching my mental database for the chin-scratching emoji, but it also validated the story the decor had already communicated. The East Austin restaurant that opened near the end of last...
The best pizza in Austin

The best pizza in Austin

Pizza was my first food love, and it’s never abandoned me. Pizza is comfort. It’s nostalgia. It’s beautiful in its simplicity, and it can dazzle when used as a clean slate for culinary creativity. Memories of pizza serve as mile markers in my personal history. I remember eating 14 slices at Shakey’s as a kid while my babysitter looked on, dumbstruck. (That number grew, of course...
East Side Pies responds to ‘Pizzagate’ with anti-bullying fundraiser

East Side Pies responds to ‘Pizzagate’ with anti-bullying fundraiser

East Side Pies pizzeria owners Noah Polk and Michael Freid, who have been the target of harassment sparked by the fake online news story known as “Pizzagate,” appeared at their Airport Boulevard location Thursday to announce an anti-bullying partnership with East Austin nonprofit Creative Action. With every purchase from East Side Pies, customers can donate $1 to Creative Action, which...
How Austin’s East Side Pies became target of fake #pizzagate

How Austin’s East Side Pies became target of fake #pizzagate

East Side Pies co-owner Noah Polk first heard of the conspiracy theory known as “pizzagate” around the time of the presidential election. The fake news story was started by an online community, fueled by misinterpretations of emails released by WikiLeaks, that claimed associates of Hillary Clinton were behind a child sex-trafficking ring headquartered at the Comet Ping Pong pizza...

Austin restaurant owners shorted workers on pay, federal officials say

Nearly all of the Austin-area restaurant owners under scrutiny by federal investigators violated federal labor law by not paying their workers the wages they were legally owed, the U.S. Labor Department announced Tuesday. The Wage and Hour Division of the Labor Department said it found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 95 percent of the restaurants it investigated from Oct. 1, 2015, to...

Things to do Monday, July 25

“The Steadfast Tin Soldier.” From the creative minds of Allen Robertson and Damon Brown of the “Biscuit Brothers” band comes a brand-new family-friendly musical based on the classic fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. Opens Monday. Multiple shows through Aug. 13. Rollins Studio Theater, Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. $12. 512-474-5664, thelongcenter.org. — Jeanne...
Restaurant review: Unexpected pleasures at the Hollow in Georgetown

Restaurant review: Unexpected pleasures at the Hollow in Georgetown

Georgetown was never part of Jacob Hilbert’s original plan. But when you’re looking to start over, sometimes the where isn’t as important as the how. The 40-year-old chef spent the first part of his cooking career earning praise in his native North Carolina and New Mexico before personal demons derailed his life. He regrouped and reestablished himself back in Wilmington, N.C. But...
La Crawfish pays tribute to Houston’s melting pot of flavors

La Crawfish pays tribute to Houston’s melting pot of flavors

Our smiling co-conspirator behind the cash register handed us a wadded plastic sheet. We shuffled away, spread it over a wooden table and awaited our prey. Their vermilion bodies arrived in a plastic bag breathing steam and coated on the inside with a glistening mixture of butter and spice. My partner dumped the bright pile of crawfish onto the table, and we went to work, turning our pristine setting...
Austin diner closed for now after fire causes $400,000 in damage

Austin diner closed for now after fire causes $400,000 in damage

The Central Austin restaurant EZ’s Brick Oven and Grill will be closed for now after a Wednesday night kitchen fire caused an estimated $400,000 in damage, employees and firefighters said. Managers at EZ’s, a restaurant that has been on North Lamar Boulevard since 1994, said they had an insurance meeting Thursday to discuss when EZ’s might reopen. Firefighters responded to the fire...
Bullfight draws on Spanish influence for its colorful dance

Bullfight draws on Spanish influence for its colorful dance

If you think Austin has changed in just the past decade, imagine what the late Gene Johnson would think if he could see it. Most nights you can now find a fleet of luxury cars valet-parked on the piece of land where Johnson repaired cars in the middle of the last century. That was when Airport Boulevard was a gravel road, not a booming restaurant destination. The home to those glimmering German sports...
Muslim woman recounts bigoted customer at Kerbey Lane; CEO apologizes

Muslim woman recounts bigoted customer at Kerbey Lane; CEO apologizes

Kerbey Lane Cafe’s chief executive has apologized after a Muslim woman recounted bigoted comments directed toward her and her friend by a customer at the restaurant’s Guadalupe Street location near the University of Texas campus. They wrote about their experience on Facebook, and the post went viral. The restaurant posted CEO Mason Ayer’s apology on its Facebook page and its website...
Fukumoto serves as a welcome change, despite its flaws

Fukumoto serves as a welcome change, despite its flaws

My friend and I recently marveled at the limited amount of sushi served in and around downtown Austin. For a city that prides itself on a robust food scene, the paucity of options bewildered us. Yes, there’s one sleek spot with a nightclub vibe and specials that include a tuna pizza, and a statewide operation that serves dozens of kitchen-sink rolls that lean on cloying sweetness and globs of...
Some fumbles on the way to family comfort at Sala & Betty

Some fumbles on the way to family comfort at Sala & Betty

Aquarelle hid in plain sight just off West Sixth Street for more than a decade. Amid the strip stuffed with burgers, pizzas and sandwiches, the French culinary artistry practiced at Aquarelle felt like an indulgent and rewarding retreat. Chef Teresa Wilson co-founded the charming dollhouse restaurant in 2000, after 17 years at Italian restaurant Basil’s, and she brought the French restaurant...
Thanksgiving dining (and take-out) spots in and around Austin.

Thanksgiving dining (and take-out) spots in and around Austin.

Looking for a new dining experience this Thanksgiving? Here are some spots in and around Austin offering holiday specials. Asterisk is for take-out options; plus sign indicates critic’s pick. 24 Diner. 600 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-472-5400, 24diner.com. The restaurant will offer a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, including brined and roasted turkey breast, turkey leg confit, Beeler’s house-cured...
Lonesome Dove flies in the face of Texas steakhouse conventions

Lonesome Dove flies in the face of Texas steakhouse conventions

My dinner guest turned to me with a grin, wide-eyed, during a recent dinner at Lonesome Dove Western Bistro. “I really feel like I’m in Texas,” she said with a faint chuckle and mixture of awe and confusion. A native Southerner, she’s lived in Austin for more than two years. But it was a visit to the Warehouse District outpost of Fort Worth celebrity chef Tim Love’s restaurant...
Fonda San Miguel, ThunderCloud Subs and County Line make it to 40

Fonda San Miguel, ThunderCloud Subs and County Line make it to 40

Contrary to popular opinion, Austin was not a food desert in 1975 when Fonda San Miguel, ThunderCloud Subs and the County Line opened. Along with steaks, seafood, Tex-Mex and barbecue, the growing city supported Italian, Continental and Asian eateries, albeit in much smaller numbers than today. Yet the aforementioned three outfits, all celebrating their 40th anniversaries this year, added something...
Juliet is a beauty, but the packaging is misleading

Juliet is a beauty, but the packaging is misleading

An advertising and marketing guru once told me (over and over) that the first question you should ask yourself before opening a business is, “Do you have a product the customer wants?” The second question was, “Are you ready for the customer?” The third: “Are you absolutely sure you’re ready for the customer?” Austinites love high design, and there are few...
Personal pizzas bring Spanish flavors to Austin

Personal pizzas bring Spanish flavors to Austin

When Carlos Tremont helped launch a franchise of the Spanish pizza chain 100 Pizzitas (or Cien Pizzitas) in July, he infused Austin with a taste of Spain while embarking on a new personal journey. The East Austin eatery, situated in a cozy cottage with a hilltop view of downtown, brings a new twist to the Austin pizza scene. It offers diners 100 personal-size pizza options with more than 60 natural...
Uber adding on-demand meal delivery service in Austin

Uber adding on-demand meal delivery service in Austin

Uber, the app-driven ride-hailing service that has been operating legally in Austin since October, now wants to serve you a fast lunch. On Wednesday, the company will roll out UberEATS, which promises on-demand meals, delivered curbside in 10 minutes or less in the downtown area from Lamar Boulevard to Interstate 35 and from Cesar Chavez Street to 38th Street. That area will expand as the service...
Prelog’s gives Austin a taste of Europe via Austria

Prelog’s gives Austin a taste of Europe via Austria

Only a hint of smoke lingered in the air. It didn’t drift in thick waves from a worn pit. The wisps lifted from the plate like the fading evidence of an extinguished candle. The chef had torched the brisket with a cherry wood-fueled flame seconds earlier, applying the essence of smoke. It was the final step in preparing the velvety meat that had been brined for three days and cooked sous vide...
Readers tap their favorite places to grab a beer

Readers tap their favorite places to grab a beer

To put it simply, our readers’ poll for Austin’s favorite places to grab a beer exploded. With over 10,000 votes in a little over a week, it was by far our most popular yet, with readers chiming in to vote on their most-loved brewpubs, taprooms and sports bars in the Austin area. Over a dozen places received more than a hundred votes each, but no place received more votes than our winner...
Mongers navigates middle ground of Austin seafood scene

Mongers navigates middle ground of Austin seafood scene

Landlocked Austin tends to take two approaches to the seafood game. At one end you have the domain of extensive bi-coastal oyster programs, white tablecloths, and a yacht-club vibe, at the other, elbows-on-the-table fried-fish emporiums where a specialty drink means you get a cold mug with your beer. A few places navigate the spaces between, but there remains a large need for fresh, quality seafood...
Attention to detail elevates Counter 357

Attention to detail elevates Counter 357

The sunglow yellow cucumber flower that brightened a plate of sumptuous country pâté came from chef Lawrence Kocurek’s garden. The pickled and sliced quail eggs, magenta on the outside with jonquil yellow yolks, paid homage to his grandparents. We didn’t learn this information from the menu or a news release. Kocurek told us from his position across the counter as he served...
Chef Thai Changthong brings the heat at Thai-Kun

Chef Thai Changthong brings the heat at Thai-Kun

I lined up the small plastic cups of water like a man prepared to extinguish a controlled burn. I had worn a path from my picnic table to the water jug on my first visit to East Side King’s Thai-Kun trailer at Whisler’s. This time, I was prepared. Chef Thai Changthong doesn’t shy away from the heat. And he doesn’t pull punches. He and his team serve colorful and electric flavors...

Readers rate their favorite frozen treats

We put out a call for our readers’ favorite frozen treats, and Austin’s ice cream, gelato and snow cone lovers answered. We compiled the results and created a readers’ guide to Austin’s favorite frozen treats for your sweet treat-indulging pleasure. There was no overwhelmingly majority — indicating to us that worthy frozen treats are aplenty in Austin — but with...
Chef Rene Ortiz turns dinner into a house party at Launderette

Chef Rene Ortiz turns dinner into a house party at Launderette

Wind your way through the relatively calm evening streets of East Austin and you’ll find a flickering cursive sign from Neon Jungle pulsating like the heart of a party. The conspicuous high-end sedans that fill much of Launderette’s parking lot and adjacent streets may feel out of place in the historically working-class area, but the energy and spirit of the new restaurant fit the communal...
Apis Restaurant and Apiary should have Central Texans buzzing

Apis Restaurant and Apiary should have Central Texans buzzing

Swimming holes. Willie Nelson’s ranch. Opie’s Barbecue. Spicewood is known for several things. Fine dining hasn’t historically been one of them. Apis Restaurant and Apiary could change that. Bowie native Taylor Hall opened the restaurant in February on a six-acre piece of property that backs up to the Pedernales River. The kitchen merges classic and modern approaches for a contemporary...
Southern charm sometimes strained at Fixe

Southern charm sometimes strained at Fixe

The owners of Fixe named their restaurant in part as a nod to the satisfaction received from eating comfort food. Diners around the country, and here in Austin, inarguably crave the familiar and reworked tastes of the South. And the supply has finally caught up (and maybe surpassed) the long-standing latent demand, as new spins on old classics arrive seemingly each month. With dishes of the American...
Hopdoddy suit says Oklahoma restaurant is an ‘unauthorized clone’

Hopdoddy suit says Oklahoma restaurant is an ‘unauthorized clone’

It’s a battle over Bunz. HopBunz, a Tulsa, Okla., burger joint, to be exact. The owners of Austin-based Hopdoddy Burger Bar have filed suit against the Oklahoma restaurant, accusing it of trademark infringement, copyright infringement, unfair competition and unjust enrichment. The saga began in March 2014 when Oklahoma restaurateur James Blacketer allegedly approached Hopdoddy, asking to buy...

Republic of Sandwich takes an unrestrained approach to sandwich making

Walk into the tiny Republic of Sandwich deli and you won’t encounter the processed meats and cookie-cutter bins of shredded lettuce and pre-chopped veggies that you find at ubiquitous chain sandwich shops. Instead you’ll catch scented wafts of savory meats roasted in house and glimpses of Brussels sprouts being removed from the oven. I haven’t asked partners Thomas Gardner and Pete...

Jacoby’s brings the flavors and feel of the ranch to the city

Wooden ceilings, an expansive back patio, vintage needlepoint art, flower petal lighting fixtures, a copper-backed bar, exposed brick and white cinder-block walls … your aunt and uncle from the country would love Jacoby’s Restaurant and Mercantile. It would help if they subscribed to Garden and Gun magazine and enjoyed thoughtful bourbon cocktails and Australian psych rockers Tame Impala...

The best pizza in Austin

Pizza was my first food love, and it’s never abandoned me. Pizza is comfort. It’s nostalgia. It’s beautiful in its simplicity, and it can dazzle when used as a clean slate for culinary creativity. Memories of pizza serve as mile markers in my personal history. I remember eating 14 slices at Shakey’s as a kid while my babysitter looked on, dumbstruck. (That number grew, of course...

Barley Swine, Bufalina, Lick to headline shopping center rebirth

A tired 1970s-era shopping center on Burnet Road is getting a fresh new look as it prepares to welcome three of the city’s trendiest restaurants. Austin-based Endeavor Real Estate Group, which owns the vacant center at 6555 Burnet Road, told the American-Statesman it has signed leases with Barley Swine, Bufalina Due and Lick Honest Ice Creams. “We’re thrilled all three concepts will...

Odam: Beloved ramen shop, popular Korean concept coming to South Lamar

Booming South Lamar Boulevard will get a blast of Asian flavors in the coming days with the openings of Chi’Lantro and Ramen Tatsu-ya. Korean-Mexican hybrid Chi’Lantro will open at 1509 S. Lamar Blvd. in the former A-OK Chinese space on Monday. The second location of insanely popular North Austin restaurant Ramen Tatsu-ya opens Jan. 25 at 1234 S. Lamar Blvd. Chi’Lantro, which found...

Gardner sets elegant stage, gives vegetables top billing

I circled the Taste of Texas event at the 2013 Austin Food and Wine Festival encountering some expected (but no less exceptional) bites of beef, pork and seafood from some of the state’s best chefs. My surprise came when I landed at the table operated by Contigo owners Ben Edgerton and executive chef Andrew Wiseheart. Known for their hearty ranch-style fare (rabbit and dumplings, ox tongue slider)...

It’s not a miracle, but St. Philip answers some South Austin prayers

Uchi: In the Austin restaurant world, there is no more vaunted name. Chef Tyson Cole and his business and culinary partners irrevocably altered the Austin fine dining scene and what we could expect from local sushi when the restaurant opened in 2003. Within a few years, Uchi claimed a permanent spot in the pantheon of Austin’s great dining establishments. So, when people heard the team behind...
The substance doesn’t match the style at Sawyer & Co.

The substance doesn’t match the style at Sawyer & Co.

The aging Quonset hut-style Central Machine Works on Cesar Chavez Street in deep East Austin reminds me of an old Hollywood soundstage. The highly stylized Sawyer & Co., its new neighbor across the street, looks like it might have been designed on one of those soundstages. Swoop Events and 2Dine4 Catering owners Stephen Shallcross and his wife, Lauren, purchased the former Arkie’s Grill in 2012...
Olamaie still searching for perfect pitch with its song of the South

Olamaie still searching for perfect pitch with its song of the South

The stunning Olamaie looks like it has been plucked from the grounds of Augusta National Golf Club and placed on San Antonio Street in the Judge’s Hill neighborhood. The 83-year-old white building with the dark trim resembles the Eisenhower Cabin at the lofty home of the Masters golf tournament. It’s fitting that the restaurant’s exterior would echo the aesthetics of one of the South&rsquo...
Dai Due’s mission and execution make it one of Austin’s best restaurants

Dai Due’s mission and execution make it one of Austin’s best restaurants

If you or I strolled through the alley behind the Vortex Theater on Manor Road we’d probably see a nondescript concrete path colored with unidentifiable vegetation. Dai Due chef-owner Jesse Griffiths saw inspiration. He foraged wild grapes from the alley the day he signed the lease at his butcher shop and restaurant located across the street. Griffiths used the grapes and a recipe from a Chez...
Two for the road: Trailers bring Mexican twist to barbecue, hot dogs

Two for the road: Trailers bring Mexican twist to barbecue, hot dogs

A trip to two trailers that take inspiration from Mexico to put a spin on American classics. The name Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ might seem a bit unwieldy, the kind of gimmicky hybridization used to stand out in a crowd of food trailers in a city full of Tex-Mex and barbecue offerings. But for trailer owner Miguel Vidal, the name nods to culinary and cultural traditions that represent his native...
LaV brings elegance to evolving East Austin

LaV brings elegance to evolving East Austin

When people discuss the current epoch of evolving East Austin, they will likely point to the March opening of LaV as a turning point and potential catalyst for expedited change. Some will argue about the propriety and audacity of a high-end restaurant moving into a modest neighborhood historically home to working-class families, but as the city grows, Austinites can expect to see a wider array of...
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