Food truck chef Luke Bibby says he felt like he'd won some kind of culinary lottery when he got a call from the producers of the Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives recently. The producers had already done their homework about Bibby's busy trailer enterprise before host Guy Fieri and his custom convertible showed up at Luke's Inside Out (1109 S. Lamar) last week to sample the popular shrimp sandwich and the Korean-barbecued rabbit with kimchee. Fieri interviewed Bibby about his new business, as well as his long stint as rock & roll caterer at the Backyard, while the crew shot footage of the chef preparing the chosen menu items. Once the interview was done, Fieri spray-painted his signature logo on the inside of the trailer door and took off for Georgetown to check out the Monument Cafe. No word yet on when the newest Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives segment focusing on Central Texas will air, but the new menu Fieri loved at Luke's Inside Out is available now.
Cupprimo Cupcakery & Coffee Spot (8650 Spicewood Springs #105) owner Amy Brown was surprised to discover the producers of the Food Network's Cupcake Wars were following her business on Twitter last year, and the social media exposure led to an invitation for her business to compete on the show. Brown and Cupprimo head baker Monica Stelly appear in an episode of the popular baking competition show airing this Sunday, Jan. 29, at 7pm, and they're hosting a viewing party for customers and friends at the Dig Pub in Cedar Park at 6:30pm that evening.
When Hickory Street Bar & Grill (800 Congress) closed in the fall, we were told it was being displaced by the development of a new Downtown high-rise. It turns out that development project is a good two years in the future, and local hospitality entrepreneur Brendan Puthoff (Third Base, Barcelona) and his business partners are reviving the Hickory Street brand with chef Camden Stuerzenberger on the range. Puthoff reports they're doing some much-needed cosmetic work on the restaurant's interior, investing in new landscaping on the patio, and updating the menu with plenty of locally-sourced menu items. "Our goal is to serve food that is affordable and accessible, as well as memorable," says Puthoff. The revitalized Hickory Street will serve breakfast, lunch, happy hour, and dinner daily with inside and patio dining, a full bar, counter service, and takeout options. It's scheduled to debut in early February, and if the menu is as tasty as it reads, they should be very busy.
In other Downtown news, Jason Stevens has taken over as bar manager at Bar Congress (200 Congress), and Canadian import Grant Macdonald is the new chef de cuisine at Trio at the Four Seasons (98 San Jacinto), replacing Todd Duplechan. Trace at the W Hotel (200 Lavaca) is now offering Lunch on the Fly weekdays from 11:30am-2pm, with soup, salad, and a sandwich for $16.
Thai food lovers will be relieved to know that all three of Mam and Sap Apisaksiri's eateries remain open after their divorce settlement. Mam will continue to operate two Madam Mam's outlets (2514 Guadalupe, 2700 Anderson), while the restaurant at 4514 West Gate Blvd. is now Sap's Fine Thai Cuisine.
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