East Austin barbecue, Austinites receive culinary awards, new Downtown food businesses, and more to sink your teeth into

East Austinites have two new barbecue joints to fulfill their smoked meat cravings. Mississippi barbecue man Brett Orrison brought the Shed Barbeque & Blues Joint trailer (East Sixth & Chicon, in the Rabbit's Lounge parking lot) to Austin for South by Southwest and decided to stick around. He's been building a loyal weekend clientele ever since, serving gigantic pulled pork and pulled brisket sandwiches with side dishes Thursday through Saturday, 5-10pm. Orrison recently expanded his menu to include baby back ribs, chicken, and something he calls a barbecue parfait. The Shed serves Deep South-style barbecue, so expect wet ribs and straight-up sweet sauce on the meats. A few blocks north at the corner of Rosewood and Chicon, Ben and Gracia Dukes have opened J.R.'s Barbecue (1900 Rosewood, 600-6995) in a historic corner building that has been in Mrs. Dukes' family since the 1930s. They're offering brisket, chopped beef, pork ribs, sausage, and chicken with traditional sides, Wednesday through Friday, 11am-6pm, and they expect to expand their hours as business develops... Three area businesses have good news to celebrate. Both the Sticky Toffee Pudding Co. and Fischer & Wieser Specialty Foods won gold medals at the National Assoc­i­a­tion for the Specialty Food Trade's Fancy Food Show in New York City late last month. Check out some original sticky toffee pudding or Mom's Spaghetti Sauce to see what winning tastes like. In other good news, Skeeter Miller and Ed Norton, owners of the County Line and Cannoli Joe's, were named Outstand­ing Restaurateurs for 2010 by the Greater Aus­tin Restaurant Association. Congratu­la­tions to all of you!... Recent high school graduates and working culinary or health care professionals have until Wednesday, July 15, to complete applications for scholarships for the August 2010 session of the professional chef training program at the Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts (1700 S. Lamar, 476-2276). For application forms and full details, e-mail There are two new food businesses Down­town that I'm eager to try. SoCo ToGo (970-8646, is a new Southern comfort food lunch-delivery business providing service 10:30am-1:30pm weekdays. Order online; the minimum order is nominal, and there's no delivery fee. The online menu looks very inviting. Just east of Downtown, Jose de Loera of El Tacorrido has opened Takoba (1411 E. Seventh, 628-4466,; it's open daily serving dishes from Mexico's interior and offering full bar service. After checking out its menu, I can't wait to try this place... In the wake of a fire that destroyed the Artisan Ballroom a few weeks back, the owners and staff of the Barr Mansion (10463 Sprinkle, are continuing to provide unique and memorable weddings as they work toward rebuilding the Artisan Ballroom in all its glory. Considering all that the Barr Mansion has given to the community over the past 30 years, friends and fans are throwing an old-fashioned Bar(r)n Raising party at the Texas Disposal Systems Exotic Game Ranch (11508 Carl Rd. near Creedmoor) on Sunday, July 18, 5-8pm. Guests will sample artisan foods and beverages from area restaurants and chefs. It is suggested that guests support the rebuilding effort at some level. Donate online at or at the door the day of the party. See you there!

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