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Hi Infatuation reader. With restaurants around the country reopening, we understand that socializing in any form might still feel strange, and poses risks too. Should you go out to eat? That’s up to you. But we’ll continue to keep you informed as best we can. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email us at community@theinfatuation.com.

ATX

The Weekly Austin Restaurant News Update

PHOTO: Kirsten Kaiser
Updated July 10th, 2020

If you want to stay on top of what’s happening with Austin restaurants and bars right now, you’ve come to the right place. Every week, we’ll be keeping track of the latest openings, restaurant and bar reopenings, takeout specials, and other exciting or noteworthy updates around the city.

If you have any tips or questions, send us an email at austin@theinfatuation.com.


Week of July 6

  • A survey conducted by the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs found that 90 percent of Austin live music venues will likely close by Halloween.

  • For Texas Bakers Against Racism, a bunch of bakers, bakeries, and restaurants across Austin are selling baked goods and then donate the profits to organizations supporting racial equality and combatting racism.

  • Ever since the pandemic hit, the Southern-inspired restaurant Olamaie has been closed. Starting July 9th, they’re reopening as Little Ola’s Biscuits, a takeout-only operation focusing on biscuits and biscuit sandwiches. There’s also salads, desserts, and cocktails (including bottled Negronis). Place your orders online.

  • Ramen 512, winner of Austin Monthly’s 2020 Best Pop-Up, announced that they’ll be joining Kitchen United Mix, a “cloud kitchen” concept that will eventually allow ten restaurants to operate for takeout and delivery from a shared space. They’ll be offering ready-to-eat ramen bowls as well as take-home ramen kits.

  • Closings:

  • Openings:

    • The third location of the sandwich and taco spot Austin Daily Press opened on July 7th. It’s located in the Lavaca St. Bar on South Lamar (the other two locations are on the East Side).
    • The breakfast/brunch spot Paper Boy has officially opened their brick and mortar location, right where their trailer used to be (1203 E 11th St.)
    • Verbena is a new restaurant in the Canopy by Hilton Hotel on West 6th Street. It’s from the chef behind Juniper, so the menu leans Italian.

Week Of June 29

  • On Thursday, July 2nd, Texas Governor Abbott issued a statewide mask order requiring that people wear masks in public spaces (in counties with more than 20 positive COVID-19 cases). There are some exceptions, including while eating and drinking. The following day, Austin Mayor Steve Adler filed a new local order prohibiting groups larger than 10 people.

  • The Austin City Limits Music Festival, set to happen in October, has been canceled by its organizers.

  • The grocery chain HEB announced that they’ve been secretly working on a new food hall at the Mueller location called Main Streat. Chef and Top Chef star Tiffany Derry will open a location of her duck fat-fried chicken spot Roots Chicken Shak. There’ll also be True Texas BBQ, Calle Taqueria (street tacos), Yumai Japanese Grill, and The Meltery, (grilled cheese sandwiches). It will open in August.

  • Towers has a bunch of photos of the new hotel Canopy by Hilton on West 6th St that opens July 1st. It’s conveniently (or inconveniently, depending on your perspective) sandwiched right between the bar/nightclubs Buford’s, Rio, and Star Bar. The Canopy will also house Verbena, an all-day restaurant and bar from the chef behind Juniper and Uncle Nicky’s. Verbena will open sometime in July.

  • Over the weekend, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) announced a waiver that allows restaurants and bars holding a Mixed Beverage Permit to sell mixed-drinks for takeout and delivery.

  • Additionally, after Governor Greg Abbott ordered all bars in Texas to close again last week , the TABC did spot checks at hundreds of bars across Texas over the weekend and issued 30-day suspensions of the alcohol permits of several bars, including The Park at the Domain in Austin.

  • Openings The highly-anticipated Sazan Ramen serving paitan ramen (with a creamy chicken broth) has opened in the Crescent shopping center in the Highland neighborhood.

Week Of June 22

  • On Friday, June 26th, Governor Greg Abbott ordered all bars in Texas to close again. Restaurant capacity will go back down to 50% (from 75%).

  • Opening on Thursday, June 25th is the brand-new Arbor Food Park at 1108 East 12th St. It’s the new home of the food truck Cuantos Tacos, which serves tremendous Mexico City-style tacos on corn tortillas. Also in the park is the newish food truck Rosarito (with ceviche and tostadas) and the El Tigre Coffee trailer.

  • Over the past few months, restaurants all over Austin have been closing temporarily as staffers have tested positive for COVID-19. The latest to close is the East Austin barbecue destination Franklin Barbecue.

  • On Monday, the TABC also closed down Soho Lounge, the two-level night club on 6th Street downtown.

  • Last week Austin Mayor Steve Adler announced that face masks would be mandatory in all Austin businesses, including bars and restaurants. He signed a new order on Monday detailing that violating the requirement is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $1,000 fine, but with no jail time. Additionally, “Peace officers, City of Austin Code Department inspectors, and the Office of the Austin Fire Marshal” are authorized to enforce the order.

  • Over the weekend, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) temporarily suspended the liquor licenses of 12 bars all over Texas, including the West 6th Street bars Buford’s Backyard Beer Garden and Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot Icehouse on Saturday, as well as Unbarlievable on Sunday. The Rainey Street location of Unbarlievable remain open (for now). The suspensions will last for 30 days. The TABC even posted video of Unbarlievable and Buford’s on Twitter.

  • Closings: The bar, burrito restaurant, and record store Troublemaker on East 7th St permanently closed.

Week Of June 15

  • In an order issued by Mayor Steve Adler, effective June 17th, 11:59pm, face masks are now mandatory in all Austin businesses, including bars and restaurants. There’s no immediate rush, as places have until June 23rd to develop and implement new health and safety policies. There are a few exceptions to this rule, including if a customer is eating or drinking.

  • Last Friday, June 12th, Texas entered Phase 3 of its reopening plan. Restaurants were allowed to go from 50% to 75% capacity, with the recommendation that tables remain six feet apart. Tables can be four feet apart as long as there’s a partition.

  • Meanwhile, the seven-day rolling average of hospitalizations in Austin went over 20 on Sunday, June 14th, which triggered the Stage 4 guidelines set by Austin Public Health. In a press conference on Monday, Mayor Steve Adler said that businesses are “strongly encouraged to operate at a minimal indoor capacity (25% or below).”

  • It’s awards season, it seems. Food & Wine published its list of the best new restaurants of 2020, and Austin’s Nixta Taqueria made the cut. The Robb Report also published its list of the best new restaurants, and it includes the downtown restaurants Hestia and Comedor.

  • The seasonally-minded small plates restaurant Emmer & Rye is offering a six-course menu indoors and a contactless patio picnic. On Tuesday, June 16th, they’re launching a new takeout menu called Emmeroni’s, what they’re calling “an old school red sauce joint, with a Central Texas twist.”

  • Openings: From the people behind restaurants like Perla’s, Swedish Hill, Pool Burger, and Elizabeth St. Café comes the new spot, Neighborhood Sushi, on South Congress. It opened Thursday, June 18th.

  • Closings: The downtown ramen shop Daruma Ramen permanently closed.

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