Spider House Is Gone, Sweet Ritual’s on Hiatus, Kerlin’s Got Brisket-Filled Kolaches, Home Slice Celebrates National Pizza Day, Jo’s Coffee Hosts Annual Chili Cook-Off, and More

All the news that’s fit to get your taste buds quivering

Here's some of what's happening in Austin's culinary scene, as wrangled from numerous PR releases, words on the digital street, and even the occasional (verified) IRL eavesdroppings.

Brisket-filled kolaches, coming soon from Kerlin's BBQ

Yes, it’s your Food News Buffet for the first week of February 2022.

Did you miss Tuesday’s Dumpling Day feast at Russian House this year? You might be able to catch that delicious celebration next year – but not in the same place, as we’ve heard that the Downtown building that houses the popular eatery has been sold and is scheduled for demolition. Visit the vodka-friendly venue before it’s gone – you ain’t seen nothin’, nyet! – but fear not: Owners Varda Salkey and Vladimir Gribkov will surely restage their Slavic emporium elsewhere in our turbulent urban landscape …

And we’re not sure what Texas French Bread’s Murph Willcott and his talented crew have planned once they recover from last week’s fire that devastated the longtime venue just off the Drag, but the whole community has pitched in with helping hands and more than a hundred & fifty grand USD for rebuilding, so we may not be bereft for too long …

It wasn’t the quick combustion of fire but, rather, the slow erosion from various aspects of Our Pandemic Situation that’s caused beloved vegan ice cream powerhouse Sweet Ritual to go on hiatus, as Melanie Haupt reports here

And longtime caffeinated campus-area hangout Spider House has closed for good, as noted by Austin360, just sort of ghosting its way on out at the beginning of the COVID shutdown in 2020 without ever saying goodbye. At least the adjacent event center, Spider House Ballroom, continues to flourish …

On the brighter side of things, that acclaimed Kerlin BBQ at 2207 E. Cesar Chavez is preparing to open a standalone trailer to serve brisket-filled kolaches – called, adorably, “Kerlaches” – which will only make that Eastside stretch of a restaurant row even more compelling. We mean, just look at the possibilities: Oseyo, Mr. Natural, Bento Picnic, Counter Culture, la Barbecue, Sweet Chive, Intero – ah, sweet St. Anthony, what a long line of culinary excellence …

Meanwhile, Flower Child, the fast-casual eatery that “caters to all lifestyles from vegetarian and vegan to keto and paleo” Downtown and in the Domain will be opening a third location (in Westlake) later this year …

All you Torchy’s Tacos lovers who are also vegan will be glad to know that the locally based chain has teamed with Beyond Beef to add a plant-based taco called The MoFaux, featuring cowboy-style Beyond Beef topped with green chiles, grilled corn, peppadew peppers, fresh avocado, and cilantro. And, for your more carnivorous cravings, their Tipsy Chick taco (with its accompanying bacon-bourbon marmalade) is now a permanent part of the menu. Also? Ooooh, baby: Scratch-made churros with a side of dulce de leche. Mind you, this tasty expansion ain’t in effect until Feb. 9

Also on Feb. 9, hey-hey, it’s National Pizza Day. Which means, among other things, that Home Slice will be serving up the winning slice of its third annual custom-pizza competition at all three of its Austin outposts …

Southside Flying Pizza hearts all you pizza lovers on Valentine's Weekend

And while we’re talking about savory pies, let’s mention that Southside Flying Pizza will be rocking heart-shaped pizzas for Valentine’s Day – as you can see right here, among our plethora of other romantic-weighted dining options for that imminent weekend …

And how about a little matcha made in heaven? Or, anyway, close enough – as Dina Barrish rounds up 9 Spots for Quality Matcha in Austin

And who wouldn't want to complement that beautiful beverage with a sweet roll from Cranky Granny's? Or maybe one of these other five cinnamon rolls worth seeking out?

WUXTRY! Jo’s Coffee at 1300 S. Congress loves us so much that they’re hosting the 15th annual Chili Cook-off to benefit Austin’s Free Lunch program. Head on over (Sun., Feb. 6, noon-3pm) and grab you a $25 wristband to taste a wide array of chili from some of Austin’s best restaurants, past cook-off champs, and a diversity of amateur chefs. Or just stop on by and enjoy free live music from Jeff Hughes & Chaparral and the Jo’s House Band

Now eat as well as you can, tip like it’s going out of style, try to stay warm, and FFS watch out for those ’ronas.

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