Fat City’s at Yard Bar, Chicken Salad Shoppe Embiggens, Try Hard Succeeds, and There’s Austin Oysters for Everyone
All the news that’s fit to get your taste buds quivering
By Wayne Alan Brenner,
12:20PM, Wed. Jul. 28, 2021
Here's some of what's happening in Austin's vast and multivalent culinary scene, as wrangled from numerous PR releases, official posts, words on the digital street, and even the occasional (verified) IRL eavesdroppings.
Yes, it's your Food News Buffet for the last July weekend and the first week in August.
The team behind Austin Asian-fusion favorite, the Peached Tortilla, has opened their new Fat City joint in Yard Bar, that dog-friendly watering hole at 6700 Burnet Rd. Well, okay, this Fat City concept's not really new – it was spawned by the pandemic last year – but its pop-ups (serving smashed-beef or fried-chicken sliders and soft-serve ice cream) were so well-received by the community that head honcho Eric Silverstein has made it a permanent thing. Now, together, Fat City and Yard Bar are offering a fully outdoor, family-friendly neighborhood spot: The patio area and parking lot have been renovated; four of the original putt-putt holes on the property have been upgraded; there’s a turfed kids' play area with games and a covered trellis; and they’ve painted the building red, red, red. And what about those canines, anyway? Listen: Special dog-friendly menu items will be available for furry friends to snack on, too.
Remember last year, when we first heard of Ivan and Molly Mills' Chicken Salad Shoppe and thought it was some sort of novelty pop-up? Then we gave the place a try during those heady days of picking-up-food-and-sheltering-at-home and were blown away by the variety and excellence of the chicken salads and sides and half-pound cookies available. And we told everyone we know about it, and they went, and now, huzzah! Chicken Salad Shoppe has outgrown its ghost kitchen beginnings and has moved to a larger retail restaurant (with dine-in seating, omg) located in the corner of the Furniture Mall of Texas at 12901 N. IH-35 "You can enter the restaurant directly from the café entrance," they tell us, "or take a stroll through the Furniture Mall and enjoy the best chicken salad while reclining in one of Austin's best recliners."
Doesn't every brewery have a great food trailer in its parking lot at this point? Fairweather Cider at 10609 Metric sure does, having just welcomed the chicken-fantastic Spicy Boys and their popular menu of sandwiches (OG & Hot Gai), wings (boneless and cauliflower with choice of sauce), and sides (tater tots, som tam, roti panang curry, or roti chicken curry), and a new dessert (makrut lime leaf cheesecake). Jesus, whut, makrut lime leaf cheesecake? Oooh, baby, we're glad everyone can eat there now instead of waiting for the grand opening that's coming in September.
Try Hard Coffee Roasters, that fierce cafe run by Raechel Hurd, Gabrielle Rose, and Jon French, is finally back and slinging coffee and scratch-made food out of their remodeled venue at 1115 E. 11th, brandishing a menu by veteran chefs Angel Medina and Cameron Kisel. Mmmmm, definitely not your standard coffeeshop fare: mushroom toast (preserved mushrooms, labneh, za’atar, preserved lemon, Thai basil, served on koji sourdough); a hash bowl (roasted potatoes, black beans, soft boiled egg, escabeche, queso fresco); and so on, ad infini-yum. Also, the music-forward, HAAM-supporting joint hosts DJ residencies out of their dedicated DJ booth and otherwise greets customers with a steady flow of music from their expansive vinyl collection.
Ah, the virtue of shellfishness: Local mollusk purveyors Austin Oyster Co. have partnered with Maine-based Ferda Farms to develop and grow the "Austin Oyster" to serve exclusively to their customers – which makes Austin Oyster Co. the only service company in Texas to partner with a farm on the east coast for growing and distributing oysters. (Which, in turn, we reckon, makes for some damn fine eatin'.) Note: The Austin Oyster is available for at-home or event service, and can also be found during monthly appearances at The Austin Winery and Idle Hands, weekly Oyster Thursdays at Hotel St. Cecilia, and at Still Austin Whiskey Co.'s bi-weekly Friday happy hours.
Texsueño – the food truck recently awarded Best Tex-Mex by Austin Monthly – is now operating outside Eastside bar High Noon at 2000 E. Cesar Chavez. West Texas native Brandon Martin's rolling roadhouse of badass noms (especially those crispy tacos, made with freshly nixtamalized corn tortillas) has already updated its original offerings and is, we hear, working toward a complete brunch menu.
OMG, yum: Hey Cupcake!, Austin's legendary cupcake trailer, returns with classic flavors and new treats (orange currant scones, chai spice chocolate chip scones, banana nut muffins, even savory breakfast tacos) at a relaunch celebration that features $1 mini cupcakes, live music, face painting, a plethora of giveaways, and more, this Saturday, July 31 – that’s 11am-1pm, at Native Hostel (807 E. 4th). Aaaaaaaand, note: These canny pastrymongers are working on opening a separate retail store, too.
ITEM: Free cookies at Tiff’s Treats on Wed., Aug. 4th! Yes, for real: A free chocolate chip cookie is yours for the taking, no purchase necessary, all day long, one per customer, in all 65 Tiff’s stores across the southern U.S. – which of course includes the 10 in Austin. You, ah, did know that's National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, right? …
ITEM: Chefs Carrie Legner and Laura Connolly are opening their ENVIE trailer of eclectic fusion (Mexican and Cajun fare, together at last!) at Batch Craft Beer on Saturday …
ITEM: Easy Tiger, that bodacious bastion of bakery, has brought back a few of their classics – with new twists: The peach danish, filled with housemade fruit preserves, flecked with cardamom, and laminated with European-style butter; caramel banana bread, now offered as personal-sized snacking cake; and those ever-popular blueberry muffins. Yeah, how ‘bout some of that with your morning coffee? …
ITEM: There's a new meal-delivery service in town, Farmer's Fridge, with a mission of “making fresh, healthful food as widely available as possible,” of course – and currently featuring a Frontera Farmer Foundation-benefiting meal by Rick Bayless: red chili-braised pork with black beans, caramelized plantains, cilantro rice, and crumbled cheese …
ITEM: The newest Chik-fil-A in Austin opens on Thursday, July 29, at Sixth & Congress …
ITEM: Schlotzsky’s, that chain of tasty sandwich stores, will celebrate National Sandwich Month by offering free delivery during that month's first week – Aug. 1-9 – and you might wanna look into their new Meaty Meal Deals as well …
ITEM: Your ever-intrepid Food Lieutenant is just waiting, totally fucking waiting, for someone to declare National Item Day – because then he's gonna cut loose like whoa with the makrut and marzipan and macerated sesquipedalia. Just so you know, citizen, just so you know.
Okay, now – y'all eat as well as you can, tip like it's going out of style, and mind those pesky 'rona variants that are trying to rescind our hardwon pandemic freedoms.