Page Two

Page Two
When the Chronicle food section decided to add a listings and news column several years ago, I asked Phil Born, an old hand on the Austin restaurant scene, to write it for us. As a frequent reviewer of both restaurants and books for the Chronicle, Phil was a natural choice. He came up with the name for the column, "Food-O-File," and was its first contributor. This week, it is my sad duty to say goodbye to the original "foodophile." On May 4th, his thirty-ninth birthday, Phil Born took his life at his South Austin home.

Phil came by his food experience the old-fashioned way. Over the last two decades, he had managed Joe's 6th Street Deli, was a chef at Basil's, managed the Waterloo Ice House and Avenue Restaurant on Congress, and was the bar manager and wine buyer at the Shoreline Grill. He was most recently involved in the start-up of the new restaurant in the Whole Foods store at 6th and Lamar, where he would have been the manager.

While Phil was always enthusiastic about food and wine, movies and books were really his first loves. He earned bachelor's degrees in both Radio-Television-Film and English Literature from the University of Texas at Austin. He studied film criticism with the founders of this publication and was also a sympathetic reader for many Austin writers who sought his opinions on works-in-progress.

With his Southern manners, his kindness, and his enormous heart, he was the very definition of a gentleman. For all those who remember Phil's charming manner and enthusiastic spirit, his decision to take his life comes as an awful shock. He never wanted to trouble anyone with the pain and torment that the endured throughout his life, but in the end, he couldn't live with it any more.

There probably isn't a synagogue or funeral home in town big enough to hold all the people whose lives Phil Born touched. So instead, I invite the whole city to join me in the most fitting memorial I can think of. Whether you're at Antone's, the Shoreline, Cedar Street, the Continental Club or any other of Phil's old hang-outs this weekend, or just sitting around at home - raise a glass of Bushmill's Irish Whiskey on the rocks and join me in a toast:

To Phil Born, a world class eater, a world class drinker, and a world class human being. May he finally be at peace.


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