Texas burger chain Whataburger added a new delivery service for the first time, available as of this week. Orders can be placed through its website or app. Third-party delivery companies (Grubhub, DoorDash) will actually deliver the food to customers. Whataburger hasn’t reopened its dining rooms yet, opting to stick to takeout, drive-thru, and now delivery services instead.
Texas Food Courts Can Reopen
Mall food courts can reopen for dine-in service immediately as of Tuesday, May 26 starting tomorrow, Friday, May 29, as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced earlier this week as part of the second phase of reopening the state. Social distancing measures (tables of six people or less, tables placed six feet apart, no shared condiments, sanitizing tables after each use) are “encouraged,” according to the proclamation. Other reopenings include water parks starting on Friday, May 29, but its video arcade components still need to stay closed, which means Bishop Cidercade still can’t open yet.
Austin Food Industry Scholarships
Les Dames d’Escoffier’s Austin chapter announced the recipients of its educational scholarship program. These include Eberly wine director Krista Church, who will use $4,000 to go to and learn about sustainable wine in Wachau, Austria; Nixta Taqueria’s Sara Mardanbigi, who will use $2,000 towards sommelier certifications; Olamaie pastry chef Jules Stoddard, who will use $2,000 to explore food in the South, and Lenoir server Carrie Matherly, who will use $2,000 towards getting two levels of sommelier certifications; among others.
The Austin location of seafood sports bar mini-Texas chain Sam’s Boat closed in late April, as reported by Community Impact. The reason behind the shutter is because it couldn’t get a renewed lease for the 10931 Stonelake Boulevard address.
Feeding Service Industry Workers
There’s another program dedicated to feeding local hospitality workers in need during the pandemic. Austin Shift Meal, which is based on the Houston version, began in early May. Participants have included Aviary, Sala & Betty, BUfalina, and Hank’s. Laid-off/furloughed service industry people can sign up for meals online, and the next available pickup date is Tuesday, June 2 as of publishing time. The organization is also accepting sponsorships and donations of money, food, and supplies, noting that $250 makes about 50 to 75 meals.
Texas Bar Doesn’t Allow Masks
Elgin bar Liberty Tree Tavern explicitly bans customers from wearing masks, as reported by KXAN. The notice on the door notes “Sorry, No Mask Allowed,” and “if [people[ FEEL (not think) that they need to wear a mask, they should stay home until they FEEL that it’s safe to be in public without one.” Currently, state guidelines recommend that people wear masks, and facial coverings are a requirement in Austin though there is no strict penalty for not wearing one.
New Ghost Kitchen
California-based food incubator Kitchen United opened its Austin location in May at 8023 Burnet Road. It’s essentially a cloud (aka ghost) kitchen or shared kitchen center between several food businesses for takeout and delivery purposes. The current lineup includes Kansas City-based restaurant Hawaiian Bros and Austin-based hot chicken spto Hawt Chicken. The center is also working with nonprofit Keep Austin Fed towards its mission of feeding people in need.
Austin City Council’s Live Music Support
There are two new resolutions that are looking to help support Austin’s live music scenes, approved by the Austin City Council last week. The first looks to build a “development entity” that could maybe take over music venues so that they don’t have to shut down because of potential evictions. The other looks to offer buildings owned by the city as creative spaces.
Then there’s the Austin Creative Space Disaster Relief Program, where people and businesses can apply for grants intended for commercial rent and other related costs. The deadline is Wednesday, June 17.