Virginia B. Wood remembers Robert Paprota, who owned Chez Nous before his untimely recent death and updates readers on changes in the local restaurant scene.

In Memoriam

Many Austinites were shocked and saddened by the untimely death of longtime downtown restaurateur Robert Paprota in late May. In the 1980s, Paprota and partners Pascal and Sybil Regimbeau founded the popular French restaurant Chez Nous (510 Neches, 473-2413) in a historic downtown building and helped to define the E. Sixth Street neighborhood as the "downtown entertainment district" it is today. The charming little bistro known for its authentic French cuisine, affordable prix fixe menu, and friendly service is a frequent choice of Chronicle readers as Best French Restaurant and is also a haven for Austin's soccer-loving French expatriate community. Paprota was a native of Paris, France, and leaves behind a wife and 10-year-old son. Friends and patrons who wish to honor Robert Paprota's memory may contribute to a college fund established for his son: Nicolas

Paprota Educational Trust Fund, Bank of America, c/o Lisa Killough, PO Box 908, Suite 1100; Austin, 78701. The Chronicle staff extends our sincere condolences to Paprota's family, partners, friends, and staff.

Good News/Bad News

The good news is that Jo's Coffee (1300 S. Congress, 444-3800 ) and Liberty Catering (383-8880) are so successful that chef/owner Lou Lambert is expanding his kitchen space. The bad news is that the necessary kitchen expansion forced the closing of Lambert's very popular South Austin pizza and pie takeout shop, Liberty Pie Company (1716. S. Congress, 383-8880). "We were having to turn down catering jobs because we just didn't have enough space to work," Lambert explained this week, "and something had to give." South Austin neighbors of the great little eatery are naturally devastated, but Lambert promises he's scouting for another SoCo retail location and will bring back Liberty's eclectic pizzas, scrumptious pies, and the luscious pints of Binasco gelatos and sorbettos as soon as he possibly can.

Curra's Marches On

The intrepid Garcia brothers of Curra's Grill (614 E. Oltorf, 444-0012) fame are cooking up another restaurant. Marco Garcia reports that The Grill by Curra's should open at the corner of Waller and East Sixth streets within the next three months if all goes according to plan. The new restaurant will feature a décor that suggests Mexico in the Twenties, a comfortable patio and plenty of well-lit parking. The menu will offer nuevo Latino cuisine complemented by a full bar. Considering what great cooks these guys are, we can't wait to try it.

The Hill Top Cafe

A couple of times in recent weeks, we've sought to recognize and recommend one of our favorite Central Texas restaurants. The Hill Top Cafe (830/997-8922) is located on Hwy. 87, 10.5 miles west of Fredericksburg, near Mason. The menu is a Texas roadhouse mix of Cajun, Greek, and German dishes reflecting the combined ethnic heritages of owners Paula and Johnnie Nicholas. The restaurant is decorated with memorabilia from the multitalented Mr. Nicholas' many years on the road as a member of Asleep at the Wheel, and there is often live music cookin' when the proprietor himself is in the house. This Hill Top Cafe is never to be confused with Poodie's Hilltop Bar & Grill in Spicewood.

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More Food-o-File
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Virginia B. Wood, Sept. 18, 2015

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Robert Paprota, Jo's Coffee, Lou Lambert, Liberty Pie Company, Curra's Grill, Marco Garcia, The Grill by Curra's, Hill Top Cafe

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