The Austin Chronicle

Komé Is Reopening, Enoteca Vespaio Has Closed, Texas Keeper Leverages the Triple-Digit Heat, Desert Door Is Searching for the Best New Margarita, and Hopdoddy Is Putting Peanut Butter and Jelly Where, Exactly?

By Wayne Alan Brenner, July 20, 2022, 1:30pm, On the Range

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.


Yes, it’s your “Food News Buffet” for the fourth week of July in our friendly, frenetic, fragmented, froward, freak-magnet of an aspirational city.

Komé is reopening! Komé is reopening! Pardon our excitement, but that’s about the most wonderful thing we’ve heard in months. Located right there on Airport (5301 Airport, to be precise), the beloved Japanese kitchen will return in all its exclusively dine-in glory after about two-and-a-half pandemic years of having to sell to-go in order to survive. Give ‘em a couple more weeks, says their Instagram account, to get everything back in gear and ready to roll. But then, omg, yes – sushi! karaage! gyudon! beef curry rice! all that saké – Komé is reopening!

And but Enoteca Vespaio has closed? Yes, the sort of Mini-Me version of Vespaio, the posh epicenter of Italian cuisine located right next door (1610 S. Congress), is finito. But the good news here is that Daniel Brooks’ and Ryan Sansom’s Vespaio itself will continue its tasty reign of terroir. The other good news is that the smaller Enoteca will be reborn as a traditional Mexican eatery known as Chapulín Cantina. Whether or not the new venue will feature actual roasted grasshoppers on the menu is unknown at press time. But, mmmmm, we can hope…

OK, here’s a closing with no upside: Fluff Meringues & More is kaput. Kristin Collins’ confectionary company has shuttered after four years of providing sugary delights to so many of this city’s fancier parties. And why? Due to “the increased economic turmoil, unpredictability of the supply chain, and the sheer insanity of operating a restaurant even in ‘normal’ times,” Collins tells us. Yeah, we totally feel that. And, usually, we’d try to comfort ourselves with a Fluff meringue, but now…


OTOH, sometimes “self-care” means taking yourself and your significant other out to Perry’s Steakhouse – especially since, through July, that Texas-born chain is celebrating their own 40th anniversary with the so-called “4 for $44” special: Mon.-Thu., 4pm to close, you can tap into their four-course menu, choosing between four options of starters, soups/salads, entrees, and desserts. Note: We’ve eaten at Perry’s a few times (yes, besides that incredible Pork Chop Friday deal of theirs) and can vouch for whatever they put on your plate. In fact, if you’re too full and can’t finish it, give us a call: We just might be there, all public-servicewise, glad to help out a fellow Austinite…

You could call us your supper friends, even, heh-heh – except that we don’t want to infringe on 2Dine4's actual Supper Friends. No, what we want is to always keep that stylish series of locally sourced feasts in mind…

Hopdoddyyeah, you know them – is not a company that’s scared of the word “innovation” or the phrase “maybe freak a few people out,” which we can tell by their limited-time-only Roscoe burger: It’s a twist on traditional chicken and waffles, with fried chicken and peanut-butter-and-jelly sauces between the buns. No, for real. The surprisingly delicious thing will set you back around $12, and it’s available through Aug. 2

Because we’re an alt-weekly, we get to indulge in swears every now and again, right? Which is why we can report opening our front door and saying, “Holy shit, it’s hot as fuck.” Well. Texas Keeper Cider out in Manchaca, Texas, they swear they’ve got a way to mitigate such heat: Both their Grafter frosé and their nonalcoholic frozen strawberry lemonade are already a top-notch refreshment at the usual price (that’s $9 and $7, respectively). But: This summer, every day that brings triple-digit temperatures will knock $2 off those drinks. Ah! We’re thinking that Manchaca – especially the fine cidery at 12521 Twin Creek Rd. – is looking nearer all the time…

Speaking of adult refreshments, Still Austin welcomes the seafood-forward yum of Huckleberry to its shaded courtyard in the Yard with a grand opening this Saturday; those Garrison Brothers out in Hye are releasing their coveted Guadalupe 2022 expression; the Milam & Greene Whiskey company out Blanco way (208 Carlie Ln.) is doing the same with their Distillery Edition Batch Three; and world-class Tiki Tatsu-ya on South Lamar is tripping the light swagtastic on both weekend days.

Meanwhile, we’re all up in your screens and helping to supercharge your cocktail game with this roundup of tasty party-time quaffables


Also, early warning: Desert Door Texas Sotol is in search of a new top-shelf margarita recipe, thus they’ll be hosting their first Margarita Madness Cocktail Competition this August. The bracket-style event will consist of four rounds, all of which will be held at the Desert Door distillery in Driftwood, with round one beginning on Thursday, August 4, and additional rounds throughout the month. The competition results will be decided by public vote after attendees have sampled each margarita and voted for their favorite. The last two recipes standing will compete in the fourth and final round for a chance to be added to the official cocktail menu at Desert Door. [Editorial aside: If you haven’t had sotol yet and you’ve been thinking of it – if you think of it at all – as, “Oh yeah, it’s more tequila”… please knock that misconception out of your skull, citizen, lest you deprive your palate of the spirit’s unique, clean, almost floral excellence. Sotol is “more tequila” only like rum is “more vodka,” get it?]

WUXTRY! Prosecco Week is wrapping up at Twin Liquors this weekend, with a variety of sales and tasting events at locations all over town, so now’s a good time to dive headfirst into those cool and subtle bubbles and forget about how the sun’s trying to make crispy critters of us all…

Now eat as well as you can, tip like it’s going out of style, and think of, like, the Arctic tundra or something.

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