Bert's BBQ rises from the ashes to return to West Campus
Certainly a lot of restaurant news this week! The newest Opal Divine's opens Aug. 9 in Davenport Village (3801 Capital of TX Hwy. N.), making it the fourth outlet in that homegrown chain. Look for a grand opening party later in the month.
The Johnson family of Bert's BBQ fame has opened Jo Ellen's Tacos (3815 Dry Creek), serving tacos and burgers for breakfast and lunch. The restaurant closes at 3pm daily, but the interior space and shady patio can be booked for private parties, with menus offering barbecue, Mexican food, or burgers and hotdogs. ...Generations of barbecue lovers are eagerly anticipating the return to the campus area of the newest Bert's BBQ (907 W. 24th) later this month. Local barbecue aficionados will recall that the original Bert's on MLK was lost to a fire back in 2007, when a 911 operator downplayed the importance of several fire calls because smoke was reported coming from a barbecue joint.
Mizu Prime Steak & Seafood (3001 RR 620 S.) has reopened after a three-month hiatus caused by a fire in the bar. Stop in for the spectacular views and new Executive Chef Jeffrey Hundelt's menu enhancements... Sway (1417 S. First) is the newest eatery from the group behind La Condesa: Jesse Herman, Delfo Trombetta, Executive Chef René Ortiz, and pastry chef Laura Sawicki. Look for their interpretation of modern Thai cuisine when the restaurant debuts later this month in a Michael Hsu building inspired by traditional Northern Thai-style Lanna houses... Fresa's Chicken al Carbon (915 N. Lamar) added breakfast to its lineup a while back, with breakfast tacos, Mexican pastries, fruta cups, aguas frescas, and coffee drinks. We really liked the iced horchata and cold brew coffee combo, but the cold fried pastries were not appetizing... Austinites Christopher Schoenfeld and Desiree Carreon are the owners of the Juice Bar (1807 W. Slaughter Ln.), a new full service juice and smoothie emporium offering a pre- and post-workout selection of fresh, healthy libations that can be made with whey or soy proteins.
Mr. Gatti's gluten-free pizza giveaway to launch that new product last week was so successful, it depleted the stocks of both the supplier and distributor before the day was over, and Gatti's gave away over $50,000 worth of pizza. I'd say the product is off to a good start!
Chefs Jack Gilmore and Chris TenEyck of Jack Allen's Kitchen are off to New Orleans this weekend to represent the Go Texan program in the Great American Seafood Cook-Off. Gilmore will compete against more than a dozen top chefs showcasing the sustainable fish and shellfish native to their home states... Look for an innovative selection of pastry creations now that Taff Mayberry is the new pastry chef at the Mansion at Judges Hill (1900 Rio Grande)... As the new executive chef at Zed's (501 Canyon Ridge Dr.), Jacob Hilbert has updated the menu, and I'm eager to try the new brunch. David Griffin, formerly of the Headliner's Club and Cafe 909, is the new chef at Austin Cake Ball Kitchen & Bar (3401 Esperanza Crossing) and is putting his personal spin on the savory and dessert menus there.
Wayne Mueller, third-generation operator of the famed Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, increased the charity outreach by donating nearly 200 pounds of rib bones to the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter in Georgetown last month. Talk about lucky dogs!