- By Matthew Odam American-Statesman Staff
One of Austin’s best barbecue operators is finally getting some air conditioning to go with its smoked meats. La Barbecue will move into the Quickie Pickie at 2027 E. Cesar Chavez St. and open for business there Aug. 2. The menu will feature the same roster of barbecue currently sold at the trailer, which will close following service July 30.
Quickie Pickie will continue to serve sodas, water, beer, wine and so on to customers, but La Barbecue, which will have a sign under QP’s, will handle all food operations. The brick-and-mortar version of the barbecue joint founded by LeAnn Mueller in 2012 will keep the same hours, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, with plans to eventually add Tuesday hours, and offer indoor and outdoor seating.
The La Barbecue trailer opened in 2012 in South Austin and moved to its current East Austin lot in 2015.
Lola Stephens-Bell closed her Nubian Queen Lola’s Cajun Soul Food Cafe at 1815 Rosewood Ave. The space has sat dormant for weeks. Calls to the restaurant were met with a recording that lists a new phone number in Taylor. Stephens-Bell, who opened the restaurant in 2004, has long served as a vocal advocate for the homeless during her tenure at the East Austin restaurant, giving out free meals several days a week and even taking to the radio airwaves to spread the gospel of charity and kindness. Tyson Foods donated a bus and a year’s worth of chicken to Stephens-Bell in 2016 to aide in her efforts to fight hunger in the Austin area, and Stephens-Bell’s generosity was repaid in 2011 when members of various churches and other philanthropists joined to help the Lake Charles, La., native renovate her small building.
Longhorns ready for their close-up?
Food and sports are intertwined in the national consciousness. “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack” — it says it right there in the unofficial song of Major League Baseball. When you go to a San Francisco Giants game, you know you’re getting Parmesan fries, and a trip to a Longhorns game probably involves brisket (if it’s a really good tailgate) or ribs outside the stadium. At least burgers. To that end, Sports Illustrated has jumped into the food coverage game, a topic that remains hot in online journalism from Seattle to Miami.
In its post announcing SI Eats, magazine senior writer Andy Staples said the new vertical from the stalwart brand would focus on where to eat near stadiums, on the way to games and at the games (both inside and out). The site will tell the stories of the people behind the food and focus on the type of cuisine (casual and comforting) we associate with sports, not foie gras.
Considering how big a role food plays at college football tailgates and in the college towns across America, expect the fall to be a big time of year for SI Eats and expect them to come a-knockin’ in Austin. I envision artisanal hot dogs from Frank at Scholz Garten, barbecue at Franklin, Micklethwait and more, and maybe some tailgate burgers or fajitas. You can follow the nascent site at SI.com/eats.
Freedmen’s Bar owner Cuatro Kowalski has purchased Texas 46 Bar & Grill in the Texas Hill Country town of Spring Branch. The bar and burger joint near Canyon Lake was owned for about 30 years by Gary Stebbins, who recently died. Kowalski eventually plans to turn Stebbins’ old house on the property into a cafe and bakery, likely serving barbecue. Most of the changes currently happening at Texas 46 are cosmetic, including an expansion of the patio space.
With the growth of his restaurant operations, Kowalski has brought on chef Austin Fry to serve as culinary director for both Freedmen’s and Texas 46, along with future culinary adventures. Fry, whose resume includes serving as executive chef and general manager at La Condesa in 2009, has spent much of the past eight years living in Asia, where he worked as executive chef at Blue Smoke in Hong Kong, among others.