Will Apis Restaurant be the bee's knees?

The Announcements for Apis Restaurant & Apiary (23526 Hwy. 71 W.) piqued our interest, so we drove out before Wine & Swine on Sunday. Chef-owner Taylor Hall and beekeeper Keith Huddle were about to start the first honey harvest from the 20 hives for which the restaurant is named. Hall plans to use some of the 500 pounds of honey harvested this fall in menu items and craft cocktails. In addition to a large garden, the property includes a two-story restaurant building, a smaller venue for private parties, and a well house. Apis isn't scheduled to open until early 2015, but Hall will present two pop-up dinners at the Oasis Brewing facility (6550 Comanche Trail) on Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 16 & 17. Make reservations at 512/436-8918 or email at

Meatball lovers braved the pouring rain on Saturday to check out the entries at the second annual Austin Meatball Festival at Winflo Osteria (1315 W. Sixth). Chronicle Food Editor Brandon Watson was among the judges who awarded first place to the beef and pork albondigas in sherry cream sauce on the fall menu from chef Brad Sorenson of No Va Kitchen & Bar (87 Rainey). Watson says he was also favorably impressed by the Reuben meatball with great sauerkraut by Olivia and Ryan Genthe of the Native Family trailer (708 E. Sixth).

Christina and Ashley Cheng are the second generation of a local dynasty who grew up around their parents' Chinatown restaurants and are now striking out in a fascinating new direction all their own. Look for the sisters to open Spun Ice Cream (1912 E. Seventh) in early 2015. The unique concept of their business is that the flavored bases made with organic cream and locally sourced milk will be spun into ice cream in less than a minute using the molecular gastronomy technique of freezing with liquid nitrogen. Ice creams will be made to order using flavorings and toppings made in-house and sourced locally, including from the store's organic herb garden.

Local bar entrepreneurs Randall and Donya Stockton open their newest club, the Aristocrat (6507 Burnet Rd.), on Friday, Nov. 28. It's a reinvention of the funky old dive bar, the Poodle Dog Lounge.

Nicholas Yanes will be chef and part-owner of a northern Italian-inspired restaurant called Juniper (2400 E. Cesar Chavez) that has a projected opening date of late spring or early summer 2015. The Portland native served as creative director of the Uchi team and assisted with the development of the new St. Philip before leaving to pursue his own project. Juniper will be located in a former Pepsi warehouse currently being divided for development that will also include the new Blue Owl brewery and a couple of other businesses.

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Austin food news, Apis Restaurant and Apiary, Taylor Hall, Keith Huddle, Austin Meatball Festival, Brad Sorenson, Native Family, No Va Kitchen & Bar, Christina Cheng, Ashley Cheng, Spun Ice Cream, Randall Stockton, Donya Stockton, The Aristocrat, Nicholas Yanes, Juniper

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