Food-o-File

Begin the new year with new local restaurant openings, count the dollars local charities collected last year, and more Central Texas foodie news

2009 is off to a flying start with the announcement of several new business openings. South Austin's newest sweet shop is Pie Slice (2024 S. Lamar, 444-6644), the creation of former Chez Zee chefs Martin Abun­das and Vicente Jaramillo. Pie Slice kicks off each day with pastries, coffee, and 99-cent breakfast tacos, then offers bistro fare for lunch and dinner, plus a pastry case stocked with delectable desserts all the time... Farther south, the Kamburis brothers closed both Flipnotics Clothespad and Flip's Satellite Cafe in Oak Hill during December, but they encourage fans to continue to visit them at both Flipnotics outlets (1601 Barton Springs Rd., 480-8646; 4600 Guadalupe, 380-0097; www.flipnotics.com) and their Satellite Bistro & Bar (5900 Slaughter, 288-9994) near Circle C in Southwest Austin... A little farther down the road, chef Rino Lanza­lot­ti contacted us with the news that he's back in the restaurant business after many years. The talented Italian immigrant has created Nonna Gina's Italian Rest­au­rant (214 N. Main in Buda, 512/523-8192) in the downtown Buda space that formerly housed Little Texas Bistro. The menu features Lanzalotti's handmade pastas, pizzas, and desserts, as well as beer and wine... And speaking of pizza, the company that recently operated Stortini and the Red House Lounge has refocused the business as the Red House Pizzeria (1917 Manor Rd., 391-9500, www.redhousepizza.com). The new eat-in or take-out menu offers the best of Stortini's popular pizzas in two sizes or by the slice, plus hearty sandwiches (meatball sliders!), calzones, salads, desserts, beer, and wine. They began serving dinner in Decem­ber, and lunch service should commence this week... Also new on the Eastside is Karibu Ethiopian Restaurant & Bar (1209 E. Seventh, 320-5454, www.ethiopianrestaurantaustin.com), in a building that has been home to a series of Mexican restaurants in the past. Accord­ing to the website, "karibu" is the Swahili word for welcome, and the new spot presents a lunch buffet on weekdays and is open for dinner and drinks nightly... The new owners of the Arpeggio Grill (6619 Airport, 419-0110) report they have remodeled the restaurant and revamped the Mediter­ranean/Middle East­ern menu at this friendly eatery near Highland Mall... In that same vicinity, we're told the long-empty Outback Steak­house building on the other side of the mall is now home to locally owned Chosun Korean Barbecue & Sushi (713 E. Hunt­land, 419-1400). The e-mail promises fine, spicy Korean food and unique barbecue, which sounds intriguing, so our Mick Vann is definitely on the case... Locals who bemoaned the recent closure of Living Arts Bakery might want to stop in at the Peoples Rx in West Lake Hills (4201 Westbank, 327-8877) to check out the extensive selection of gluten-free and dairy-free desserts created by chef/nutri-therapist Alain Braux. The longtime Austin pastry chef also teaches monthly baking classes utilizing gluten-free and/or dairy-free recipes. We've also heard that Living Arts founder Susan Fein is back in business as Sol Catering and will be selling prepared foods and gluten-free baked goods at both the Sunset Valley and Downtown farmers' markets, beginning this month... On the local restaurant philanthropy front, the annual Thunder­Cloud Subs Turkey Trot raised a whopping $176,500 for Caritas of Austin just before Christmas, and Mobile Loaves & Fishes (www.mlfnow.org) received 2,000 dollars' worth of fuel for its distribution trucks plus 450 hot meals prepared and served by volunteers from Z'Tejas (www.ztejas.com) and PGC Marketing (www.pgccreative.com) on Dec. 29. The owners of Pluckers Wing Bar (www.pluckers.net) have created a "community profit-sharing program that allows local youth leagues, schools, churches, and nonprofit organizations to earn money back in food purchases." The restaurants will designate a day, week, or month to an organization, and the donation will consist of 20% of the profits from sales generated by guests supporting that organization. For more info about the ­profit-sharing program, contact kwollman@pluckers.net.

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