Food-o-File

Get your buns to these burger joints and bakeshops, plus a fundraiser for a foodie photographer in this week's food news

There's plenty of business activity in the local food scene this holiday season. We've noticed a surge in new sit-down hamburger joints around town and are eager to check out Stack Burger Bar (208 W. Fourth) and Sputnik Burgers (1300 E. Sixth). Plus, we hear a second outlet of Hopdoddy Burger Bar is coming soon to a space at Burnet Road and Anderson Lane, and some colleagues at the paper are big fans of the new Big Daddy's Burgers & Bar (9070 Research) just up the road from there.

The very busy All in One Bake Shop (8566 Research) is working on the transition to both a new name and location; look for Make It Sweet with much more retail and classroom space to open in the Cross­roads Center at the corner of Research Boulevard and Burnet Road in January.

We recently heard that entrepreneurial brothers Yves and Atticus Maci­as purchased the South Austin Mexican Mile mainstay La Reyna (1806 S. First) from longtime proprietor Vicente Hernandez earlier this fall. The brothers have been sprucing up the restaurant, and chef Marisela Godinez is updating the menu with more fresh ingredients while maintaining the authentic, affordable Tex-Mex flavors customers had come to love.

Chronicle Food contributor Kate Thornberry and I have had a busy week, checking out soft openings for two new eateries and judging Austin Monthly's annual wedding cake contest. (Look for the results of the cake contest and Faraday's recent holiday baking contest on our Food blog, On the Range)... Owners of the chic new Austin Cake Ball Kitchen & Bar in the Domain (3401 Esperanza Crossing #104) entertained the media Monday night with distinctive craft cocktails, savory small bites, and a selection of its exquisitely decorated holiday cake balls. It will be open for lunch and dinner daily, with late-night hours Friday and Saturday... Based on the overwhelming success of his fried-chicken buckets at the last two Austin City Limits Music Festivals, Olivia owner/chef James Holmes is opening Lucy's Fried Chicken in the space that formerly housed Nueva Onda, off South Congress on College Avenue. Holmes and Jerry Reid entertained friends and family at soft-opening dinners earlier this week. Based on the menu items we sampled, I'm predicting Lucy's will become a SoCo favorite soon after it opens this weekend.

Downtown's newest beer emporium certainly has an interesting business model: The more than 100 beers for sale at the Brew Exchange (706 W. Sixth) will be priced according to the law of supply and demand. Bar patrons can watch the prices of top sellers rise while slow movers' prices fall as the beer sales crash and rebound on a Sixties-style stock ticker in the stylish new watering hole designed by Jamie Chioco. The Brew Exchange is owned by the same team of Austinites that operates Kung Fu Saloons in Austin, Houston, and Dallas.

Friends and colleagues of longtime Texas Monthly photographer Wyatt McSpadden are raising money to help with the medical and travel expenses incurred as he fights against lymphoepithelioma at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Fans of McSpadden's book Texas BBQ (UT Press), a masterpiece of photos of legendary Central Texas barbecue joints, can donate money via PayPal at tinyurl.com/3ryxl30, or send a check made payable to Wyatt McSpadden Medical Fund, University Federal Credit Union Account #900472668, and mail it to PO Box 9350, Austin, TX 78766, Attn: Deposit Account.

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