Texas loses a barbecue legend, Las Manitas closes its doors, the Rude Mechs celebrate a new adventure, and more
Texas barbecue lovers lost one of our most accomplished and award-winning pit masters last weekend, when Robert Louis "Bobby" Mueller died in his sleep at the age of 69. Bobby took over Louie Mueller Barbeque from his father in 1974 and built it into one of the most highly respected barbecue joints in the nation (206 W. Second St. in Taylor, 512/352-6206, www.louiemuellerbarbecue.com). Bobby's oldest son, Wayne Mueller, is dedicated to upholding the family tradition and took over operation of the restaurant this week. A memorial service is tentatively planned for today (Thursday, Sept. 11) at Providence Funeral Home in Taylor, and the family asks that donations honoring Bobby Mueller be made to Trinity Lutheran Church, 3505 N. Main, Taylor, TX 76574... Writing this column every week is one of my favorite parts of this job, but advance deadlines and a finite amount of space sometimes make it difficult to cover breaking news or provide as much detail as some news items deserve. The solution is to finally drag my old antique stove into the 21st century and start a Chronicle Food blog – On the Range (austinchronicle.com/ontherange) debuts this week. Go there for breaking news, opinions, and in-depth coverage of the local food scene... If I'd been blogging last week, I could have told you about the closing of Las Manitas (211 Congress) the day after it happened instead of more than a week after the fact. The indomitable Pérez sisters vacated the rented space on Aug. 31 and moved all their equipment to the building they own at the northeast corner of Second and Congress that currently houses La Peña art gallery. There's no definitive word yet on when or if the sisters plan to open another restaurant in their own building... The Texas Department of Agriculture created the Go Texan Restaurant Program earlier this year to connect restaurants with local Texas growers and food producers. They will host the first statewide Go Texan Restaurant Round-Up on Oct. 1 to kick off Texas Wine Month. Participating restaurants will be encouraged to buy local and "bring Texas to the table" by featuring menu items with Texas products paired with Texas wines. Join the program at www.gotexanrestaurantroundup.com... Readers are often one of my best sources of information, and that's how I found out about the very good hamburgers at Longhorn Po-Boys & Falafel (2901 Medical Arts St. Ste. B, 495-9228). The big, juicy patties are hand-formed, and the slightly sweet kolach-style buns are made locally. Another reader alerted me to the opening of Pizza la Boca (5706 Manor Rd., 933-9400), the new retail and wholesale location belonging to the owners of Empanadas la Boca. The new eat-in or take-out eatery serves coffee and pastries in the mornings and specialty pizzas, salads, pasta dishes, and desserts until 7pm. La Boca's distinctive empanadas are still available at both the Downtown and Sunset Valley farmers' markets... Austin's acclaimed theatrical troupe the Rude Mech-anicals (www.rudemechs.com) has created the new members-only Oyster Club for "Austinites with adventurous tastes to discover the pearls of local music, performance, film, art, food, and architecture." The Mechs will lead this intrepid troupe to a fascinating series of events taking place in "r" months (September-April); the first of these outings is Sept. 13 at the Plant in nearby Kyle. Get more info on the Oyster Club kickoff party, including yearly dues and how to join, at www.rudezap.com.