Food-o-file

Wide open spaces ...

If there are any two people who have done more to "keep Austin weird" than Esther's Follies co-founders Shannon Sedwick and Michael Shelton, I'd be hard-pressed to name them. The dynamic and talented duo has been creating unique attractions around the city for more than 25 years, though they haven't tried their hands at the restaurant business for quite some time. That's about to change with their newest venture, however. It's undeniable that Shelton has an eye for interesting spaces and a knack for renovating them in an inimitable style. His most recent discovery is a Southeast Austin building which will be home to Patsy's Cowgirl Cafe (5001 E. Ben White, 444-2020). The new restaurant will be decorated with large cowgirl portraits done by Austin poster artist/comedian Kerry Awn and furnished with custom-painted table tops by Rene Anguiano. According to Sedwick, the menu at Patsy's will feature down-home Austin fare and some Tex-Mex favorites. They'll be serving lunch initially and eventually plan to add breakfast and then dinner with some live music. Sedwick and Shelton are interviewing prospective cooks right now and expect their newest production to debut sometime in mid-January. We'll keep you posted... Anyone who doubts that Austin is a happening wine town need only consider the huge explosion in local wine and spirits retailers for confirmation. Twin Liquors has been Austin's first family of wine retailers for more than 100 years, and they have recently expanded to 46 retail outlets around Central Texas. TwinLiquors.com is their very informative and user-friendly Web site, offering many distinctive holiday gift ideas, myriad wine sections (pay special attention to the wine verticals), and plenty of drink recipes. The new site makes it possible to visit your favorite Twin Liquors outlet online, and the special store locator feature will come in handy when you need to find the nearest convenient Twin outlet between you and your holiday party destination... Wine and spirits retailer Grape Vine Market (7938 Great Northern Blvd., 323-5900) is another homegrown Austin success story; so successful, in fact, that their newest outlet should open in Round Rock thisweekend (2400 S. I-35 #160, 512/248-9933). Look for their usual huge selection of wines, beers, and spirits, plus a deli that is stocked with an impressive assortment of imported international gourmet items, fine chocolates, delectable prepared foods, and a selection of unique imported cheeses. The burgeoning Austin market has also attracted a highly respected Houston retailer known for wines, spirits, and gourmet foods. The first local Spec's Liquors (5775 Airport, 366-8300) outlet opened near Highland Mall last week. Look for a second location to open in Southwest Austin near Brodie Lane and Highway 290 West sometime in January.

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