Cuisines editor Virginia B. Wood tracks down the latest restaurant news in this week's Food-o-File.
Gotta Lotta Restaurant News
In the few short weeks since their departure from Brio Vista, chef Stewart Scruggs and pastry chef Mark Paul spent their time scouring the city for the perfect location in which to partner up in their own fine dining establishment. Just last week, the talented duo signed a deal that will have them taking over the cozy, intimate restaurant space at 1014 N. Lamar, the original location of Castle Hill Cafe, and more recently, home to the Interior Mexican restaurant, Ay Chiwawa. "I am so excited to be back downtown," said Scruggs, who was the founding chef at Zoot before his foray into the Arboretum area at Brio. Look for Scruggs and Paul's new eatery, Wink, to open in early June. The new restaurant will have 50-60 seats and will feature an affordably priced fine dining menu in a degustation format to allow the sampling of many dishes. They'll also have access to more than 90 offstreet parking places, an invaluable commodity in downtown Austin these days Speaking of Zoot (509 Hearn, 477-6535), owners Bick and Erica Brown are gearing up to celebrate the award-winning West Austin bistro's 10th anniversary later this year. Sad to report, however, they'll be celebrating without one of the mainstays of their accomplished, professional waitstaff. Steve Barrett, a member of the Zoot staff since its opening in 1991, has decided to pursue a new chapter of his life in New England and is leaving Austin for Maine. His last day at the restaurant will be April 6. It'll be difficult to imagine a restaurant at 509 Hearn without Barrett, who waited tables in the little cottage when it was home to Kate's as well. Good luck to Steve in his New England endeavors The board of the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival announced an Austin sweep in the annual "Who's Who in Food & Wine in Texas" balloting: The Who's Who award goes to Jeffrey's owners Ron and Peggy Weiss, who will feature contemporary Texas cuisine and Texas wines at the new Jeffrey's in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C.; the Unsung Hero award goes to Forrest Preece and Linda Ball, ardent supporters of the local restaurant industry and owners of Good Right Arm Public Relations; and the Dine With Texas Wine award goes to Grapevine Market. Our heartiest congratulations to all the winners who will receive their awards at the Culinary Masters Gala Dinner Saturday night at the Four Seasons. The dinner will feature a fabulous meal prepared by a trio of Spanish chefs, Teresa Barrenechea and her compatriots Jose R. Andres of Jaleo in Washington, D.C., and Joaquin Marques of Restaurante Suquet de l-Almirall in Barcelona. Tickets for the dinner are still available from the festival office at 329-0770... When you drop by the Grapevine Market this weekend to congratulate them on their new award, take some time to visit with Culinary Tours Director Chef Glenn Watz about the two tours of Tuscany he'll be leading in conjunction with the store owners. The one-week tours are scheduled for Oct. 26-Nov. 3 and Nov. 2-10 and offer a seven-night stay in a restored historical farmhouse. The program includes cooking demonstrations and hands-on classes at the farmhouse and restaurants, tastings of regional wines at wineries and wine shops, plus day trips to Florence, Siena, Montepulciano, Pienza, and San Gimignano. Watz will be in the store Friday, April 6, 5-7pm; Saturday, April 7, 10am-3pm; and again on Monday, April 9, 5-7pm to discuss the tours and take reservations, or you can contact him on the Web at www.culinarytours.net or 409/832-4929.