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Two New Digital Cookbooks Aim to Support Austin Restaurants

The ebooks collect recipes from restaurants like Sway and LeRoy & Lewis

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Bowl with rice, greens, meat, and fried egg split open with yolk spilling out
The son-in-law bowl from Sway, from the recipe in Homemade Austin
Laolu O./Facebook

Two new Austin-centric digital cookbooks have been published recently, aiming to help support and alleviate some of the financial burdens faced by Austin restaurants as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Homemade Austin, put together by Laolu Onabanjo, was published in late April, and Austin Table, a collaboration between advertising company R/GA and Visit Austin, debuted last week.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has greatly impacted the hospitality industry. Restaurants and bars have been crippled by the outbreak, with some permanently closing as a result. And though Texas restaurants are now legally allowed to operate their dining rooms at 25 percent capacity, following an executive order by Gov. Greg Abbott, many are choosing not to because of health and financial concerns.

Wanting to help Austin restaurants, many of which are facing financial burdens due to the novel coronavirus, lifestyle blogger Onabanjo came up with the idea behind Homemade Austin.

The cover of Homemade Austin by Laolu Onabanjo
The cover of Homemade Austin by Laolu Onabanjo
Laolu O./Facebook

Referring to the restaurants, Onabanjo said, “It was imperative for me to find a way to keep these homes, who have fed my body and my soul, open.” She says she contacted “almost every restaurant in Austin,” for the project, and worked with those who were able to meet the submission deadline, as she wanted to publish the book quickly. It took about two weeks.

The book features recipes from 11 Austin restaurants, including the son-in-law dish from Thai restaurant Sway, trout almondine from French restaurant Le Politique, and the steak encebollado from Honduran food truck Lahleenea. The instructions are pared down and approachable. Each recipe is accompanied by an anecdote from Onabanjo and playlist suggestions on Spotify and Apple Music.

The book is $10, and all proceeds are divided equally between the featured restaurants. So far, Onabanjo raised $1,000 during that first week. She hopes to raise $3,000 before the end of May. Onabanjo thinks this will “allow us to show these restaurants some much-needed support.”

Then there’s Austin Table, a collaboration between R/GA and city’s tourism organization Visit Austin. The e-cookbook was part of the Visit Austin’s campaign promoting virtual support of local businesses during this time.

This digital cookbook features 24 food and cocktail recipes from Austin restaurants and bars, with some overlap with Homemade Austin. There are recipes from barbecue trucks LeRoy & Lewis and Micklethwait Craft Meats, Italian restaurant Andiamo, and cocktail bar Roosevelt Room.

“Our local restaurants and bars are at the heart of what makes Austin, and we wanted to do something to help them through this hard time,” said R/GA Austin executive strategy director Elizabeth Thompson.

The book is $29.95, and all profits will be split between the featured restaurants and bars.

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