Editor’s note: We understand It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of Austin’s restaurant and bar scene. We have kept you informed with our regular round-up of the most important food news.
Openings and closings
The original Counter Cafe turned off the frying pan and lowered the bright yellow sunshades. After nearly 15 years at 626 N. Lamar Blvd. the owner Debbie Davis closed the restaurant. The news is not that surprising, however. In a 2018 interview with CultureMap, Davis revealed that the building is for sale. Counter Cafe fans can have breakfast all day at the restaurant’s other two locations – 603 W. 29th St. and 914 E. Sixth St. – both of which are still open. “It’s the end of an era,” says Davis, “and what a show it was. Fortunately, the show goes on.”
Thyme Island GrillBrothers Michael and Patrick Butigain’s fast-casual restaurant offers flavors from different Caribbean countries. Items from the campus concept, which recently opened at 2915 Guadalupe Street, can now be ordered, delivered, and roadside pick-up online. Dishes start with a base made from a rice bowl, salad bowl, or pack of proteins like jerk chicken, curry ground beef, or plantains. Customers can then choose from a variety of toppings and sauces such as island pico, palm hearts, and blood orange vinaigrette. Island Thyme is open Monday through Saturday, 11am to 8pm. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 a.m.
Popular Asian comfort food chain Bao’d Up expands its in-house selection of Boba tea drinks with a new virtual brand. Synchronized Bubble HouseThe new concept was introduced by Bao’d Up on November 9th at the existing Mueller, Sunset Valley and Burnet Road locations. Various new drinks to take away and deliver are available now, including a pumpkin spice milk tea. a toasted lassi with mango Thai tea; and build your own dairy or fruit tea options with flavor additions like peach, lychee, and lavender. Bubble House’s menu items can be purchased at any of the three locations using the same online ordering system as Bao’d Up.
Other messages and notes
The University of Texas Austin Alumni Association, Texas exes, is working with a local nonprofit to bring vacation joy to families in need of this Thanksgiving Day. Until Friday, November 13th, the University’s Young Alumni Committee will collect contributions for inventive vacation recipes that will benefit from them Caritas of Austin. Both organizations are requesting recipes with ingredients that are inexpensive, easily accessible and have a long shelf life (e.g. ramen noodles, noodles, canned vegetables, rice, pinto beans, black beans and bread). “Most of our customers have limited incomes and many use our pantry to get free groceries for their families,” Caritas explains in a statement. “We want to pass on creative recipes with which you can feed your family in style. ”Interested parties can use a Google form to submit the name, ingredients and step-by-step preparation instructions for their creative recipes.
Upscale cocktail lounge The Roosevelt room and the associated event room, The Eleanor, are bringing back their annual Christmas-themed pop-up bar, Miracle on 5th Street, with a socially distant twist. Originally conceived in 2014 by Greg Boehm, owner of New York cocktail star Mace, the vacation-focused pop-up concept has since expanded to 90 different locations worldwide. This year’s socially distant Miracles on 5th Street runs from November 20 to December 27 and features a festive cocktail menu courtesy of Joann Spiegel, Operations Manager of the Craft Bar Tool Company Cocktail Kingdom. A number of new, juicy preparations are presented on the menu of the Spiegel, including the Jolly Koala with gin, vermouth and a pine, cardamom and sage liqueur, as well as the On Dasher, a preparation made from bourbon, mezcal, sweet vermouth, spiced hibiscus and burlesque -Bitter and Lemon. And for the first time, Miracle Cocktails can be ordered online for pickup. Get your drinks every day from 4 pm in the “Ski Hut” (near the entrance of the Roosevelt Room). A portion of all take-away cocktail sales will benefit the Safe Alliance and Austin Pets Alive! Because dine-in seating is socially distant, walk-ins are welcome. However, reservations are strongly recommended and can be made online here.
Local non-profit organization Urban roots announced the second installment of its “Let’s Get Cooking” video series / virtual fundraiser. Buy event meal sets and co-create dishes at home with star Austin chefs. The three planned video events will take place on November 11th with Tiffany Derry from Roots Chicken Shak. Join Chef Alma Alcocer from El Alma on November 18th, followed by Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher from Lenoir & Vixen’s wedding on November 25th. Each kit is priced at $ 65 each and limited quantities are available to order online now.
James Beard Award winning restaurant group Hai hospitality announced on Nov. 9 that a subsidiary of private equity firm KSL Capital Partners has made a significant investment in the company that will enable Hai to accelerate the growth and expansion of its restaurant brands. The decorated hospitality group is perhaps best known for their upscale Japanese concept Uchi, which opened in Austin in 2003 and was recognized as one of Food & Wine’s finest chefs as founding chef and partner Tyson Cole in 2005. Today, the Uchiko, Loro, and Uchi brand includes locations in Houston, Dallas, and Denver.