Food-o-File

Virginia B. Wood brings all-you-can-eat news.


All the News That Fits!

Imagine my surprise when I opened up last week's issue of the Chronicle to find that a historic quote from legendary UT football coach Darrell Royal at the end of my column had been mangled beyond recognition. It seems an accidental cut-and-paste error cut the quote off after three words, and a young editor who was unfamiliar with the original quote didn't catch the deletion. The quote was part of an admonition to Schlotzsky's CEO John Wooley encouraging him to restore the company's Original sandwich to its former glory for the good of the company. The sentence should have read: "In the words of fabled UT coach Darrell Royal, it's a good idea to 'dance with who brung you.'" Another interesting wrinkle in this story is that once it was too late to make changes in last week's column, I got a call from Steve Wright in the Schlotzsky's corporate office advising me that all their local outlets are once again serving the Original sandwich on a locally baked, chewy sourdough bun. This had evidently been in the works awhile. I rushed right back to the new Concept 2005 store at Parmer Lane and purchased some of their new salads (the Mediterranean with Feta and the Baby Spinach with Gorgonzola are both very good) to go with a Deluxe Original sandwich. The Original has not been restored to its early Seventies gargantuan size, but the filling is bulked up considerably, and the chewy sourdough bun is a huge improvement. Unfortunately, my sandwich was missing the tang of the olive salad dressing. I have faith they can get the whole thing right again, however... The folks at Reed's Jazz & Supper Club (Gateway Shopping Center, 342-7977) have plenty to celebrate. They marked their first anniversary with a bash on Sept. 9, congratulating Alex Ralston on his promotion to executive chef and helping General Manager Sean Minto and his wife Mindy welcome daughter Delia Gabriella into their family. Wonderful news all around... A mid-September debut will take place downtown in the historic Waterloo Compound space formerly occupied by the elegant Emilia's. In keeping with the building's storied past as a saloon, look for the Moonshine Patio, Bar & Grill (303 Red River, 296-9599) to open under the direction of chef/co-owner Larry Perdido, with a fun, casual atmosphere and an American regional menu in the $7.95-19.95 price range. The Moonshine will be open for dinner with free valet parking and offer live music in the bar on weekend nights. Perdido's partners in this endeavor are Chuck Smith, Buckner Hightower, and Greg Schnurr... Things have finally come full circle for talented husband-and-wife team Michael and Yoli Amr. Cajun/Creole food lovers will remember the Amrs as the founders of Gumbo's, originally located on Bratton Lane in Pflugerville. A few years back, they sold Gumbo's to regional franchise outfit Fired Up Inc., and that company expanded the concept with restaurants in downtown Austin, Round Rock, Dallas, and Denver. When the Amr's noncompete agreement with Fired Up lapsed, they opened Yoli's Jambalaya in the old Bratton Lane location of their original restaurant and began attracting a loyal clientele once again. Recently, Yoli Amr called to tell me that they'd closed the restaurant and become investors in a company called PQE that has purchased the Gumbo's outlets from Fired Up. Michael Amr is once again executive chef of the Gumbo's operation and is traveling around, tweaking menus at the various locations. Long-term plans call for opening more Gumbo's and Yoli's Jambalaya restaurants in the future. After chatting with a manager at the downtown Austin Gumbo's (710 Colorado, 480-8053), I dropped in there last Sunday, and their brunch has got to be the best-kept secret in town: $16.95 for a delicious all-you-can-eat Creole buffet with salads, fresh fruit, boiled shrimp, vegetables and sides, eggs Benedict, omelets and French toast to order, gumbos, several entrées, bread pudding, and bottomless mimosas. Go soon to avoid the rush that's bound to be headed there for the unbeatable deal.

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