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Food-o-File

West Sixth Street is abuzz with delicious options, and more foodie news

By Virginia B. Wood, Fri., Aug. 13, 2010

The hottest Downtown hospitality destination these days seems to be west of Congress Avenue along Sixth Street. Executive Chef Rich Falbo has taken over the kitchen at the Belmont (305 W. Sixth, 457-0300, www.thebelmontaustin.com) and reports the entire menu there is in transition. Look for more local produce, Niman Ranch meats, American regional cheeses, and breads from Moonlight Bakery. At Bess Bistro (500 W. Sixth, 477-2377, www.bessbistro.com), new Executive Chef Camden Stuerzen­ber­ger will oversee the kitchen operation at both Bess and its nearby sibling, Walton's Fancy and Staple (609 W. Sixth, 542-3380, www.waltonsfancyandstaple.com). Menus at both eateries feature breads and pastries by bread baker Dawn Paulson and pastry chef Sandi Reinlie. The 600 block of West Sixth is certainly a beehive of activity, what with the new construction on the corner of Sixth and Nueces that will ultimately be home to Haddington's. Michael Polombo advises us his new venture will be an updated American tavern with a bit of British influence, food from chef Zach Northcutt, craft beer selections by Brian Phillips, and cocktails designed by bar manager Bill Norris. Polombo hopes Haddington's will debut by late fall. Across the street, the $15 all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch buffet complete with a build-your-own Grey Goose Bloody Mary bar is the big weekend draw to the rooftop bar at Union Park (612 W. Sixth, 478-7275, www.unionparkaustin.com), and Katz's (618 W. Sixth, 472-2037, www.katzneverkloses.com) continues to pack them in 24/7 despite restaurateur Marc Katz's recently publicized financial troubles. In the next block, J Black's Feel Good Lounge (710-B W. Sixth, 433-6954, www.jblacks.com) is getting in on the Sunday brunch trend. Chef Josie Paredes has developed a menu featuring breakfast pizza and breakfast tacos with a variety of innovative fillings, plus a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar with Tito's Vodka. Check it out Sundays from 11am to 4pm. We're told the decor of the lovely new Dogwood (715 W. Sixth, www.thedogwoodaustin.com) has erased any trace of former tenant Mother Egan's. Though the Dogwood is not serving food at the moment, the building does still have a kitchen, so food service is a possibility at some point. In the spring, GSD&M founder Roy Spence turned his passion for fresh hot sauce into a new small business known as Royito's "We Don't Do Mild" Hot Sauce. Breakfast tacos made with homemade flour tortillas and Royito's fresh salsa cam be purchased at Royito's festive Airstream trailer (West Sixth & Wood) on weekday mornings from 8 to 10am. At the corner of Sixth and Lamar, 24 Diner (600 N. Lamar, 472-5400, www.24diner.com) now hosts regular wine dinners. For updates about the dinners, e-mail info@24diner.com. A few blocks west, Cafe Josie (1200-B W. Sixth, 322-9226, www.cafejosie.com) finally has a new sign at the corner of Sixth and Blanco after an errant motorist destroyed the old one more than a year ago. And Portabla (1200 W. Sixth, 481-8646, www.portabla.com) has also added an affordable new à la carte brunch menu, served from 9am to 4pm Saturdays and Sundays... On the local fruit front, Bat Creek Farm from Bertram is currently selling Mollies Delicious and Gala apples at the Downtown Farmers' Market (Fourth & Guadalupe) and will be harvesting other varieties over the next few weeks.

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