The Austin Food and Wine Alliance up their culinary grant ante


The unique culinary innovation grant program of the Austin Food and Wine Alliance supports the creative endeavors of chefs, farmers and ranchers, artisan food producers, food-focused nonprofits, and beer-, wine-, and spiritmakers in our community. This year, AFWA will award $30,000 in grants, the largest amount in the program's three-year history. "Because of amazing community support and sold-out fundraising events, we are thrilled to be able to give this sizable amount of funding for grants to benefit the talent, craftsmanship, and innovation of the Austin culinary community," said AFWA grant chair Cathy Cochran-Lewis. The application process is open on the AFWA website through midnight, Wednesday, Oct. 1 and grants will be awarded at a ceremony at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center on Dec. 9.

Had an informative conversation this week with Taylor Hall, chef and owner of the new Apis Restaurant and Apiary (23526 Hwy. 71 W.). The restaurant is inspired by and named for the honeybee because of the tiny pollinator's mighty contribution to the food chain. Hall, who spent the last several years as chef for the Supper Underground supper club, has installed 20 beehives on the restaurant property near Spicewood and the Pedernales River. When the hives produce, he plans to utilize the honey in the restaurant. One existing structure on the property is being transformed into the restaurant with the addition of a kitchen and bar, and an outbuilding will become a private dining room and small party venue. Hall is hoping to have Apis open by November.

In other noteworthy news, a representative of the rapidly expanding Kebabalicious (Seventh & Navasota) empire takes up residence at the Barton Springs Picnic (1720 Barton Springs Rd.) on Friday, Aug. 29. Chef and company co-owner Chris Childre says he's happy to be in a lot that is not slated for redevelopment. The trailer will offer an expanded menu with some of the most popular items from their storefront. And fans of the Downtown trailer at Seventh and Trinity need not despair – the company plans to come back to that spot with a mobile food truck by the end of the year.

Drop by Épicerie Cafe & Grocery (2306 Hancock) to meet new cheesemonger Dan Largess, who can help you choose the perfect cheese for any occasion.

Happened to notice the relatively new Cedro Ristorante Pizzeria (14028 Hwy. 183 #210) in Lakeline Mall near the Alamo Drafthouse when we were up that way last week. They've recently added brunch service to their lineup 10am-3pm on Sundays. Speaking of the Cedar Park area, the fifth Austin metro-area Sprouts Market (1530 Cypress Creek) opened up there this week.

A new Cover 3 will take over the space abandoned by Third Base Sports Bar (1717 W. Sixth), and a Fuzzy's Taco outlet and a Midtown Market and Cafe (7010 Easy Wind) are slated for the Midtown Commons development that is also home to Black Star Co-op.

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