Food-o-File

Capitol-area standbys shuttered, Mirabelle sold, and artisanal ice cream

When Hickory Street Bar & Grill opened in the Eighties at Eighth and Congress, big salad bars with soup tureens and build-your-own baked potatoes were a national trend. The big salad bar craze eventually faded, but Hickory Street stayed the same, providing sustenance and hospitality to thousands of Downtown workers and anyone else who wanted to relax on the patio and observe Congress Avenue's rich pageant. The casual eatery also provided reliable jobs to plenty of kids working their way through college. Hickory Street closed last week and will be sorely missed by legions of devoted fans. Yet another high-rise tower with offices, a boutique hotel, shops, and restaurants is slated for that corner... Another Capitol-area spot recently sold for redevelopment is Charlie's Austin (1301 Lavaca). The building has been home to the popular gay dance club since the early Eighties, but it also housed restaurants such as Mama Eleni's and the Veranda for years before that. The kitchen there was even the base of operations for my wholesale dessert business back in the day. So long, Charlie!

Austin restaurant pro Brian O'Neill has finally struck out on his own, buying Mirabelle (8103 Mesa Dr.) from Michael Vilim and his business partners. The sale was finalized last week, and Vilim closed the restaurant on Oct. 4. Mirabelle reopens on Oct. 11, but O'Neill assured us regulars need not worry about drastic changes. "The bones here are strong – we're just bringing some new love to the place. We'll be taking care of all the events that are already scheduled through the end of the year, and we'll be open for Sunday brunch and dinner by November 1," he reports.

To mark 10 successful years in business, juice entrepreneur Matt Shook has changed the name of the two Daily Juice outlets (at 1625 Bar­ton Springs Rd. and 2307 Lake Austin Blvd.) to JuiceLand. Conveniently located near the hike-and-bike trail, Zilker Park, and Lady Bird Lake, JuiceLand will continue to offer fresh juices and smoothies made from organic fruits, herbs, and vegetables, and it will now feature expanded menus with salads, gluten-free options, and raw superfoods.

South Austin pie lovers will be pleased to hear that Jaynie Buckingham is in negotiations to bring her Cutie Pies trailer back to South Congress. We'll keep you posted on her progress. Meanwhile, drop by her Burnet Road shop.

The enterprising Macias brothers have taken what was a nondescript strip mall known only as the home of the Horseshoe Lounge and turned it into a genuine culinary destination. First, they opened a larger, more sophisticated version of El Mesón (2038 S. Lamar), followed by Bryce Gilmore's wildly popular Barley Swine earlier this year. Now comes news that an artisanal ice cream shop called Lick is about to open, and will serve what we're told are truly remarkable ice cream flavors handcrafted from organic Texas milk and cream, as well as seasonal fruits, herbs, and vegetables. Chronicle contributors Claudia Alarcón and MM Pack lunched at El Mesón recently, and chef Marisela Godinez insisted they stop at Lick to sample some test batches created by ice cream wizard Anthony Sobotik. Based on their rave reviews, Lick is destined to be a big hit.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

restaurant and bar closings, Lick, Hickory Street Bar & Grill, Charlie's Austin, Mirabelle, Brian O'Neill, Michael Vilim, Daily Juice, JuiceLand, Cutie Pie, Jaynie Buckingham, artisinal ice cream

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