This issue we revive yet another tradition delayed by the pandemic – our annual First Plates awards, honoring the restaurants defining Austin dining today. Inside this issue, you'll find a pullout celebrating 100 brick-and-mortar establishments, another 50 food trucks, and 6 newly minted Hall of Fame restaurants. During a dark time, these places – and so many more – have given Austinites sustenance in the most profound sense of the word. Putting this issue together to acknowledge these businesses has been a real labor of love for Food Editor Jessi Cape and her team of writers. I can't wait to start eating my way through their list. Pro tip: Flip to the back page of the insert to hear about specials at 25 different First Plates-winning restaurants and food trucks.
The Chronicle is turning 40! OK, the Chronicle is turning 40 in September, but we wanted to start beating the drum now. Do you have any favorite memories from over the years, any features that have stuck with you or favorite writers you couldn't wait to read every Thursday? Email us at email@example.com, or tweet using #Chron40.
Some of my favorite images over the years have come courtesy of staff photographer David Brendan Hall, whose work is intimate, artistic, full of energy and movement. An Austin native who grew up reading the Chronicle, David is departing staff this week in order to take a full-time marketing coordinator position with local concert promoter Love & Lightstream. David will also be continuing to cast his freelance photography net far and wide – including, happily for us, here at the Chronicle. Good luck in the new gig, DBH!
COVID Cases, Hospitalizations Skyrocket: Austin Public Health announced July 23 that Travis County has reentered Stage 4 of the local COVID-19 Risk-Based Guidelines. Health officials recommend fully vaccinated individuals wear a face mask while attending indoor gatherings, dining, traveling, and shopping; people who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated should avoid both indoor and outdoor gatherings and mask up for essential-only traveling, dining, and shopping.
Classic Game Fest: Gamers gathered last weekend at Palmer Events Center for classic video game demos, tournaments, cosplay, and live music. See David Brendan Hall's photo gallery online at austinchronicle.com/photos.
World Cup Qualifier Comes to Q2: Austin FC's homebase stadium will host the United States men's national team in a critical FIFA World Cup Qualifying match against Jamaica on Oct. 7.
Ready for That Close-Up: aGLIFF announced its centerpiece movie for its late-August film fest: Boulevard! A Hollywood Story, which explores the fascinating failed first attempt to turn Sunset Boulevard into a musical.
Third Act Twist: The Paramount Summer Classic Film Series announced the remaining titles in the season, a tribute to Oscar-nominated screenwriters (Dr. Strangelove, Amadeus, The Graduate), Philip K. Dick adaptations, a 20th anniversary trip back to Hogwarts with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and a series-capping trio of James Dean pictures.
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