The icing on the cake

Photo courtesy of Jackie McGrath

Launderette (2115 Holly), the first joint restaurant venture of chefs Rene Ortiz and Laura Sawicki, opens Thursday, Feb. 19, after a sold-out preview benefit for the Austin Food & Wine Alliance. The opening of the casual neighborhood restaurant and bar has been eagerly anticipated since the duo left high-profile jobs at La Condesa and Sway in August of 2013. Launderette will open for drinks and dinner daily at 5pm, with the addition of breakfast and lunch service in the next few weeks.

Chef Teresa Wilson's Sala & Betty (5201 Airport) began the first phase of the soft opening earlier this week by offering the drive-through menu to eat in or take out. Look for the addition of the dine-in lunch menu in the coming weeks, and finally, the debut of dinner. The drive-through menu features breakfast until mid-morning, family meals with both meat and vegetarian entrées, a choice of side dishes, sandwiches, and salads in a format Wilson describes as "counter plus service."

Jackie McGrath, owner of Sweet Treets Bakery (6705 Hwy. 290 W.), can finally display the golden whisk she won as a competitor on Duff Till Dawn, a cake-decorating competition hosted by Duff Goldman. On the new Food Network show, two teams face off for an over-night competition, Goldman offers commentary and decorating tips, then celebrity judges evaluate the decorating skills and taste. McGrath and her assistant, Tina Hernandez, won with a delicious turreted castle cake, complete with a mythical beast, a damsel in distress, and a conquering hero.

Austin Saengerrunde has issued a call for proposals to lease Scholz Garten (1607 San Jacinto) beginning in 2016. The iconic property, Austin's oldest surviving restaurant and biergarten, has been an outlet of Tom Davis' Green Mesquite Barbecue since 1996. With the new UT Medical School being built a couple of blocks away, a restaurant located here for the next 20 years could become part of another fascinating chapter in the life of the storied facility. Saengerrunde Hall manager Reagan Roland ( is accepting proposals until March 1.

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Austin food news, Launderette, Rene Ortiz, Laura Sawicki, Austin Saengerrunde, Scholz Garten, Sala & Betty, Teresa Wilson, Asian American Resource Center

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