Glowing Neon and Hot Fryers at New Lucy's Fried Chicken
This is another one of those weeks where new restaurants are popping up like late afternoon showers and we couldn't be happier about both things.
The neon signs were glowing and the fryer baskets were hot at last night's soft opening of the second outlet of Lucy's Fried Chicken (5408 Burnet Rd.) from chef James Holmes. The new spot is bigger and brighter than the SoCo sibling and includes a larger kitchen, which Holmes said months ago could lead to an expanded menu at this location. I know several people who are wishing for fried oysters. Lucy's opens to the public Thursday, Sept. 12.
Ryan and Gina Blackmore celebrated the opening of the newest outlet of Your Mom’s Burgers (6705 Hwy 290 West) in a shopping center on Oak Hill last Friday. It looks like a comfortable spot to wait out the drive-time traffic with a tasty signature burger (I’m partial to the Frida Kahlo or the Marie Laveau with Oh Rings, myself). The couple and their hard-working team took over an existing business and turned it into a stuffed burger emporium, just as they did with their popular spot at 5001 Airport Blvd. a couple of years back. Speaking of burgers on Airport, construction of Austin’s first In-and-Out Burger outlet is now in progress. I’m predicting the extra traffic in that neighborhood created by the famous California transplant will be good for all the nearby restaurants.
Kristine Kittrell is one busy chef, now that she’s multi-tasking at both Mulberry (360 Nueces #20) and WeatherUp (1808 E. Cesar Chavez). Kittrell will continue as executive chef at Mulberry, overseeing the menu and kitchen staff, but no longer have a daily presence on the line there.
Where she’ll be nightly now is the tiny new kitchen under the stairs at WeatherUp, whipping up “posh, indulgent bites” to complement the excellent cocktails. “It will be like throwing the best cocktail party in town every night. The dishes won’t be sharable plates, more like tasting menu items, affordably priced. Someone could order eight in a row and make dinner or just enjoy a couple of bites with their drinks,” Kittrell explains. Many of the dishes she’ll be serving were inspired by a place called Quimet y Quimet that Kristine frequented while working a six week stage in Barcelona a couple of years back. Right now, she’s got her fingers crossed that the new kitchen will pass final inspection today so she can start serving the new food menu on Tuesday, Sept. 17. Meanwhile, Kittrell and WeatherUp are hosting an Hawaiian Pig Roast ($15) at 6pm on Sunday, Sept. 15, with pork and side dishes, drink specials all evening like the hand-shaved boozy ice cones, and live music from Combo Mahalo from 8-11pm.
One of my favorite parties every year is the Farmer Appreciation luncheon hosted by father and son chef duo of Jack and Bryce Gilmore for their highly regarded area purveyors at, respectively, Jack Allen’s Kitchen (7720 Hwy 71 West; 2500 Hoppe Trail in Round Rock) and Barley Swine (2024 S. Lamar) .
Jack Gilmore and business partner Tom Kamm present a bountiful buffet on the shady, fan-cooled patio at the Oak Hill restaurant, open up the bar, and lavish love, attention, and live music on the folks who provide the restaurants with produce, cheeses, eggs, and meats.
During his opening remarks, Jack Gilmore gave his son Bryce the credit for his career change from founding corporate chef of the homegrown Z’Tejas Grill chain to locavore restaurateur. Now with two successful outlets in the Jack Allen’s Kitchen stable, Gilmore is on the lookout for just the right location in the Northwest Hills/Arboretum area. When asked about the ETA on the brick-and-mortar Odd Duck restaurant coming to S. Lamar, Bryce Gilmore said “early next year, I hope.”
All this talk about Oak Hill reminds me that just a few miles farther west at the Hill Country Galleria, Schmidt Family Barbecue (12532 FM 2244) is hiring, which means the third generation of Lockhart barbecue royalty should be open for business soon. See you there!