Movin' and Shakin'

The dog days of summer usually bring momentum to a stop, but this month people and things are movin' and shakin' despite the heat. The Texas Chili Parlor (1409 Lavaca, 472-2828) has been closed recently for kitchen repairs and a fresh coat of paint. When the venerable downtown watering hole reopens, it will have new owners: Peg and Tom Chase. Founder Mike Wilhite accepted the Chases' offer because they like the Parlor the way it is and plan to keep it that way...

After a four-year run, Barbara "Madam" Nadalini (3663 Bee Caves Rd., 328-4858) is considering offers, hoping to sell her restaurant by the end of August. Chef Tim Kartiganer recently left Tocai (601 W. Sixth, 457-8880) to pursue a project of his own; Betsy Johnson is the new executive chef...

One of the first jobs for Adrian Creasey as new corporate director of operations for the San Gabriel Restaurant Group will be to replace chefs at both Mezzaluna locations (310 Colorado, 472-6770; Gateway, 372-8030). George Powell left the downtown outlet to become chef at Davis Tucker's new North by Northwest Brew Pub, due to open in the Arboretum area by the end of the month, while Will Packwood left the north location to interview with local fine dining operations...

The Clay Pit (1601 Guadalupe, 322-5131) closed for a few days earlier this week to add new air-conditioning equipment to ensure that the historic limestone Bertram Building be as comfortable as possible. It has also opened a new venue upstairs, the Bombay Room, which will feature live jazz and world beat music booked by Harold McMillan's Diverse Arts Group. The Bombay Room will host several shows during the Austin Jazz & Arts Festival scheduled for September 12-18...

Barr Mansion (10463 Sprinkle Rd., 517-6552) owners Melanie and Mark McAfee held a barnraising last Thursday to showcase the 200-year-old barn they've moved onto their historic Travis County property. Originally built in the Hudson River Valley by Dutch settlers, the barn was taken apart and the timbers carefully numbered for re-assembly in Texas. Architect Marley Porter is overseeing the restoration of the barn, which will ultimately include a thatched roof to be created by master thatchers from England. With the addition of the barn, brides will no longer need to worry about sudden showers dampening weddings at the Mansion's facilities...

Though the Empanada Parlour has been displaced from its East Fourth Street location, owner Ash Corea reports she'll be open in her new location at 707-709 E. Sixth Street by mid-September and invites her loyal clientele to visit her there.

A $20 Meal in Austin

Coyote Cafe creator Mark Miller recently gave an interview to the San Antonio Express News about the opening of a new restaurant featuring a menu designed by Miller as consultant. Miller still claims to "love Austin," but now attributes Coyote Cafe's failure here to "the university influence that's perhaps too great on the dining scene." What's a $20 dinner in Austin? "Five bucks to get in and six longnecks." Here's hoping San Antonio diners provide Mark Miller with exactly the welcome he so richly deserves.

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