College Station-based restaurant chain Layne’s Chicken Fingers is aiming to open in Austin sometime in early 2022, but there is no set address as of yet.
The menu includes the namesake item — chicken cut up into long sticks that are then marinated and breaded. — along with chicken sandwiches, fried chicken clubs, grilled cheeses, and dips.
The Austin franchise location will be run by Noah Kara, who is originally from Houston. After the Austin location opens, he plans on opening two more in the state, including in Corpus Christi. The original restaurant was opened in 1994 by Mike Layne and Mike Garratt (Layne left eventually).
Over the year, the chain opened locations in Houston, Katy, and Roanoke, with plans to open a lot more throughout the state.
Wonder what ordering groceries in the metaverse will look like @HEB— Meta (@Meta) October 29, 2021
(For context: Facebook announced last week that it was changing its name to Meta. Thankfully and smartly, H-E-B did not engage with the Tweet, and please don’t let Facebook mess with H-E-B.)
Amazingly talented pastry chef Laura Sawicki is leaving her roles and the ownership group of New American restaurant Launderette (ahem, birthday cake ice cream sandwiches) and casual Mexican spot Fresa’s (excellent ice cream), as reported by Austin 360. She has been a James Beard Award semifinalist in the Outstanding Pastry chef category five times. She’ll stay on at both restaurants until the end of 2021.
Austin taco sisters on television
Veracruz All Natural and co-owners and sisters Reyna and Maritza Vazquez were featured on an episode of NBC Nightly News. Host Lester Holt interviewed the sisters at the Mueller truck, where they talked about their arrival in Texas, the growth of the business amid the pandemic, their expansion into Los Angeles, and showed how they cook the popular migas taco. The episode is part of the show’s “Across America” series.
A whiskey library stand pops up in Austin
There’s a new cute little whiskey library, featuring books about the brown spirit for customers of Central east Austin breakfast restaurant Paperboy. It’s akin to those free little libraries, where people waiting for tables or dining at the restaurant can check out a book or two. Available titles include How to Drink Like a Writer by Margaret Kaplan, Whisky Women: The Whole Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch, and Irish Whiskey by Fred Minnick, and Texas Whiskey: A Rich History of Distilling in the Lone Star State by Nico Martini. The stand — made of recycled newspaper and painted by artist William Schweigert — made its debut during the Texas Book Festival earlier this month. Behind the stand is bourbon company Sweetens Cove Spirits (which is co-owned by Austin local Andy Roddick, among others).
New Austin restaurant openings
Maryland-based Cajun seafood chain Hook & Reel opened its first Austin location earlier this October in the North Shoal Creek neighborhood at 9070 Research Boulevard, Suite 305. The menu features plenty of seafood, from steamed or raw oysters, seafood spaghetti marinara, fried seafood baskets, po’ boys, seafood boils, and more. The restaurant is open for dine-in and takeout services.
Spring, Texas-based restaurant Tewbeleaux’s Cajun Grill expanded with a third location in Austin. It’s found at 12001 Burnet Road in North Austin as of sometime this year. The Cajun menu serves up gumbo, boudin balls, crawfish, alongside chicken wings, sandwiches (Philly cheesesteak, etc.). The new restaurant took over the address previously home to Mangia Pizza.
Tracking Austin events
The Austin Parks Foundation’s annual volunteer event It’s My Park Day is taking place again this weekend, and participants will be able to get free/discounted items from participating restaurants and cafes. This includes free drip coffees from Cosmic Coffee, free cold brews from Epoch Coffee, 15 percent off orders and meals from Spread & Co., and more. It takes place on Saturday, November 6.
Austin arts alliance _OfColor and nonprofit MAS Cultura are hosting a brunch at East Austin Mexican restaurant Tamale House East on Sunday, November 14, as part of the Latino Art WKND. Tickets are $40 for a prix fixe brunch menu plus a lowrider show.
Vins de Bordeaux, the council promoting the French wine region, is highlighting women winemakers in Texas throughout the month. Participating restaurants, which, in Austin, include Aviary Wine and Kitchen, Odd Duck, House Wine, and Apt 115, will serve glasses as part of the organization’s Strong Women of Bordeaux program.
Austin food festival Hot Luck will take place again next year, after its 2020 cancellation. The three-day event will happen over Memorial Day weekend from Thursday, May 26 through Sunday, May 29, 2022. The all-events-pass (aka the Whole Enchilada passes) are available right now at a discounted price of $450 (it’s typically $700). Passes for people between the ages of 13 and 20 are $150; children ages 12 and younger, it’s $50; and there’s a family pack for two adults and two kids for $900. The chef and concert lineups will be announced early in 2022, along with ticket sales for individual events.
The James Beard Foundation’s big dinner series, Taste America, is coming to Austin on Tuesday, November 9, which has already sold out. The scaled-back dinner (typically held at the W Hotel) is being hosted by Mexican restaurant Suerte and cooked by chef Fermín Núñez and La Barbecue’s LeAnn Mueller.
Another scaled-back event happening again this year is the Austin Food & Wine Alliance’s Wine & Swine. This time, it’ll take place at East Austin restaurant Nixta Taqueria on Sunday, November 14 from 2 to 5 p.m. The $95 event has already sold out, and the money will go towards the nonprofit’s culinary grant program. Cooking alongside Nixta’s Edgar Rico and Sara Mardanbigi will be Cuantos Tacos’s Luis “Beto” Robledo, Discada’s Anthony Pratto and Xose Velasco (the truck is still temporarily closed), and La Tunita 512’s Gerardo Guerrero, with sweets from Con Todo’s Joseph Gomez and Dolce Neve’s Marco Silvestrini.