Food-o-File: Friday Lagniappe

A little extra Austin food news

courtesy of Unit-D Pizzeria

Sometimes there is too much Austin food news to squeeze into the print edition of the Chronicle. Rather than wait a week, we've decided to give our readers a little bite of something extra.

• Pizza is back in the 'hood! Cherrywood, that is. After a series of tasting dinners this week, Unit-D Pizzeria (2406 Manor Rd.) launched their soft opening to the public last night. Chronicle contributor Anna Toon lives nearby and dropped in to take a look. She tells us the pleasant new space has lots of natural light, and she was particularly impressed with the selection of local beers on draft, in bottles, and cans. Based on the menus she shared with me, it looks as though chef Chris Turgeon is really working that Acunto Mario wood-fired oven for all it's worth, roasting everything from olives, to veggies and pizza, even dessert. While lunch and brunch are possibilities for the future, now Unit-D is open for dinner Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 5-10pm; Friday-Saturday, 5-11pm.

laV (1501 E. Seventh) made it official this week with the announcement that chef Sean O'Leary has joined the culinary team at the Provençal-inspired East Austin fine dining spot. He's been helping wife (and executive pastry chef) Janina O'Leary run the kitchen operation since the recent departure of chef Allison Jenkins, and we're told that he'll assume the role of culinary director once a new executive has been hired. As laV expands their brand and offerings, chef Sean O'Leary will oversee new company projects such as a commissary kitchen and a catering service. In other laV news, congratulations to sommelier Rania Zayatt, who just passed her Advanced Sommelier course last week, hot on the heels of several national wine accolades for the very wine-centric eatery.

Janina and Sean O'Leary (courtesy of Cultivate PR)

• Permits are finally in hand and construction is starting at the Lucy's Fried Chicken #3 (2900 RR 620 N.) overlooking the newly-reborn Lake Travis. Director of culinary operations Angela Lunardi tells us they are shooting for an opening sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, due to the extensive remodeling being done on the property. Meanwhile, Lunardi has been busy getting the company's hot sauce, Lucy's Fiery Red, into the bottling process. This is the same incendiary concoction chef James Holmes created to serve with the popular oysters at Lucy's, and Lunardi says shelf-stable bottles of it will soon be for sale in the restaurants, as well as some local specialty grocery stores. Look for the same Forties-era pin-up girl who graces their distinctive neon signs on the label. Lunardi also reports that a different signature hot sauce is in development for each outlet, and they'll each have their own pinup label.

• Both Weather Up (1808 E. Cesar Chavez) and Jacoby's Restaurant & Mercantile (3235 E. Cesar Chavez) have joined the Eat East Tuesday dining promotion we told you about last week. Look for a smoked whitefish paté paired with a champagne cocktail ($10) at Weather Up, while you can enjoy the kick of a Melvin Mule with an onion ring appetizer ($10) further down the street at Jacoby's. Eat East continues on Tuesdays through Labor Day.

Fixe (500 W. Fifth) has enhanced their daily social (aka happy hour) menu with the addition of the Southern Fish Fry ($8 during social hours). Perfectly in keeping with the rustic fish camp decor of the main dining room, the dish features fried catfish filets crusted in Anson Mills Antebellum cornmeal, hand-cut Kennebec fries, and Fixe signature tartar sauce. The catfish will be available for the remainder of the summer. They've also added some new wines by-the-glass at very approachable prices. Daily, 4-7pm.

courtesy of Fixe

• Austin-based Freebirds World Burrito continues their annual Burritos for Good campaign by donating meals to military families through seven participating United Service Organization (USO) outlets in the Southwest. The campaign lasts through the end of July, and Freebirds customers have already made it possible for the company to donate more than 700 meals. Here's how it works: Freebirds diners who participate in the company loyalty program - they're also known as Fanatics - can go online and donate their loyalty reward "points" to one of the USO centers. Every 10 stamps donated equals one meal. For complete details on the program or to donate some points, go here.

• In conjunction with German Riesling month, Max's Wine Dive (207 San Jacinto) hosts a Summer Revival Wine Dinner with a five-course meal prepared by executive chef Erica Beneke paired with wines that celebrate Germany's favorite grape. Tickets are $55, all inclusive. Sunday, July 26, 6-9pm.

TenOak Bourbon House + Kitchen (409 Colorado) will feature brand ambassador Bruce Russell, grandson of Master Distiller Jimmy Russel, for an evening of fine food and spirits pairings from the Russell's Reserve line. Tickets are $30. Wednesday, July 29, 7-9pm.

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Austin food news, Unit-D Pizzeria, Chris Turgeon, Lucy's Fried Chicken, James Holmes, Angela Lunardi, laV, Sean O'Leary, Janina O'Leary, Fixe, freebirds World Burrito, USO, Eat Eats, Weather Up, Jacoby's Restaurant & Mercantile, Max's Wine Dive, Erica Beneke, TenOak, Bruce Russell, Rania Z

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