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The Biggest Austin Restaurant Stories of 2019

From controversial tweets to over-the-top milkshakes

Milkshakes from Yard Milkshake Bar
Milkshakes from Yard Milkshake Bar
Yard Milkshake Bar/Facebook
Erin Russell is associate editor of Eater Austin, a native Austinite, and a big fan of carbs.

The end of the year is a time to reflect on — or at least aggregate — the stories that captured our attention this year. In 2019, the ever-shifting Austin restaurant landscape saw openings, closings, lawsuits, controversy, and fervor around a pop-up that never happened.

Without further ado, here are the most-read stories on Eater Austin in 2019.

10. Texas Chef Paul Qui Is Suing Business Partners

Problematic chef Paul Qui sued local restaurant group New Waterloo. Qui’s camp alleges the group sabotaged his new ventures in Miami, while New Waterloo claimed they were “not satisfied with his commitment to improving his behavior,” and as a result severed all ties. The events in question occurred two years after Qui was accused of assault in 2016, and then those charges were eventually dismissed.

9. Tyson’s Tacos Owner Was Under Fire For Alleged Controversial Political Tweets

The Internet found the Twitter account of Tyson’s Tacos owner Tyson Blankemeyer, which contained, for example, a tweet to Representative Ilhan Omar saying: “You are the virus Trump is the cure.” The tweets were deleted, hacking was alleged, and Internet wrath ensued.

8. That Pokémon Pop-Up Bar Isn’t Coming to Austin Anymore

Pokémon burgers from PokéBar
Pokémon burgers from the PokéBar that never was
PokéBar [Official]

A Pokémon-themed burger pop-up announced in August quickly had to cancel its nationwide tour in October due to the minor inconvenience of not securing licensing fees from Nintendo beforehand.

7. Pickle-Obsessed Southern Restaurant Opens in Austin

Pickles from Pogue Mahone Pickles
Pickles from Pogue Mahone Pickles
Pogue Mahone Pickles/Facebook

All-you-can-eat pickles in southwest Austin? Say no more. The Pickle House, from local pickle company Pogue Mahone Pickles, opened on Highway 290 in February, and critics raved.

6. Classic Austin Restaurant Hut’s Hamburgers Closed

Hut’s Hamburgers
Hut’s Hamburgers
Hut’s Hamburgers/Facebook

Hut’s Hamburgers, which first opened on South Congress in 1939, closed its longtime location on West Sixth Street. The restaurant will live on at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, and taking over the West Sixth building is an Italian restaurant courtesy of McGuire Moorman Hospitality.

5. Hopdoddy Opens a New Burger and Beer Restaurant

Billed as a more streamlined version of local burger bar Hopdoddy (meaning: a way to avoid the long lines of the South Congress location), Lil’ Doddy opened in Oak Hill this April to great fanfare.

4. Cult Favorite Japanese-French Bakery Brings Crepe Cakes to Austin

The green tea mille crepe cake at Lady M.
The green tea mille crepe cake at Lady M
Lady M

Japanese-French bakery chain Lady M Confections popped up in downtown Austin in January, with two flavors of whole pre-ordered crepe cakes that quickly sold out. Will this become an annual tradition?

3. New Thai Rolled Ice Cream Shop Lands on North Lamar

Thai ice cream shop Frozen Rolls Creamery opened at the right place (on North Lamar close to Whole Foods) at the right time (summer) to make a big splash.

2. Celebrity-Backed Burger Chain Wahlburgers Is Coming to Austin

Mark Wahlberg with Wahlburgers employees
Mark Wahlberg with Wahlburgers employees

The burger chain from brothers Donnie, Mark, and Paul Wahlberg announced an Austin location in January although unfortunately there have been no updates since then. Though there was no planned address, it was supposed to open this year.

1. Outrageous Milkshake Bar Opens Its First Texas Location

Yard Milkshake Bar’s milkshakes
Yard Milkshake Bar’s milkshakes
Yard Milkshake Bar/Facebook

The over-the-top milkshakes at Yard Milkshake Bar attracted as many people online as IRL: lines from the first few weeks were reportedly quite long.