Austin Vaccination Incentives
Austin Public Health is offering free H-E-B gift cards to people who get vaccinated starting on August 19, as a way of encouraging unvaccinated individuals right now as coronavirus numbers rapidly climb. People who get their first or second vaccine shots during an APH event (except for the one at the Anna Lark Center) and fill out a survey will receive a $50 H-E-B gift card. There are only 2,000 gift cards available. At this time, 76.68 percent of the eligible Travis County popular has been at least partially vaccinated.
New Dinner and Alcohol Menu
Austin-based taco chain Tacodeli will start serving dinner plates and alcohol for the first time ever at all of its locations starting on Saturday, August 21. Non-taco dishes will include pastor Yucatan (pork on a banana leaf), mole de pollo (chicken with mole sauce, queso fresco, and sesame seeds), escalopas especial (seared scallops with seasoned cashews), arrachera flank steak, and esquites Mexican street corn. Drinks include frozen margaritas, palomas, and beers, with to-go options. Dinner hours will begin at 4 p.m. each day.
Temporary Closure and Relocation
Central East Austin cafe El Tigre is now closed at 1204 Salina Street after last weekend as of August 8. As it renovates the next-door space for its future home, it will start operating within that summer pop-up space run by prebiotics soda company Mayawell on 2609 East Cesar Chavez Street.
Nonprofit Anniversary Party
Food access advocacy collective Free Lunch is hosting a red-themed anniversary party this month as an all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner on Saturday, August 28 at the Prospect House at 12745 Silver Creek Road in Dripping Springs. Tickets, which are $25 donations, must be purchased in advance.
Texas Food Nonprofit Shuffle
Texas Food & Wine Alliance executive director Mariam Parker is leaving the nonprofit organization. After working in the company for the past ten years, she will be moving to Chicago in the fall. Taking over Parker’s role temporarily is Gina Burchenal as the interim executive director while the organization looks for someone to fill the position permanently. The group also added two new members to its board of directors: San Antonio Riverwalk industry vet John Carbajal (who is currently at San Antonio real estate company) and sommelier and beverage industry vet Paula Rester Salinas (who is currently the beverage director of Side Street Hospitality in Fredericksburg).
Austin Restaurant Summer Breaks
South Congress omakase restaurant Otoko is taking a vacation from August 9 through Tuesday, August 24.
Central East Austin barbecue truck Micklethwait Craft Meats’s break began on August 2 and runs through Sunday, August 15. Sibling truck Taco Bronco’s break lasts through Friday, August 20.
Austin Award Winners
CultureMap hosted its Tastemaker Awards last week. Austin winners include Nixta Taqueria as the restaurant of the year, L’Oca d’Oro’s Fiore Tedesco as chef of the year, Distant Relatives’s Damien Brockway as rising star chef of the year, among others.
Burger Chain’s New Vegan Patties
Austin-based restaurant chain Hopdoddy Burger Bar is now using Beyond Burger as its vegan meat option. To that end, the burger chain is taking over roaming Beyond Meat food trucks in cities around the country, including Dallas, with dates and locations to be announced later. To commemorate the change, the chain’s current burger of the month is the Beyond a Reuben with pastrami-spiced mushrooms, sauerkraut, gruyere cheese, Dijon mustard, pickles, and Russian dressing. Hopdoddy’s veggie patty will remain on the menu.
Austin Food Scholarship Winner
Winners of the James Beard Foundation’s 2021 National Scholars Program include an Austinite. Frances Quinton will use her scholarship to go to the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, ultimately working towards becoming a fine-dining chef. The overall 12 winners receive $20,000 scholarships for related educational purposes.
Austin Cookware Series
Austin companies cookware business Made In and Tecovas are collaborating on a new line of products. The Grill Collection will include a carving knife with a wood handle, a knife roll made of duck canvas with a Tecovas harness leather, and a carbon steel grill frying pan, and boots. It launches on Tuesday, August 17.
Chef Shuffle and Restaurant Reopening
Next up on Trudy’s restaurant revamp schedule is the reopening of its North Star location at 8820 Burnet Road as of August 2. The restaurant group also added a new chef, Julian Rodarte, who is finessing the menu. The San Antonio chef has worked as a concept chef for brands such as 7Up and On the Border. Next up will be the opening of the Texas Star location 409 West 30th Street in North Campus sometime during the end of the summer.
Update, August 19, 3:05 p.m.: This article, originally published on August 11, has been updated to clarify when APH’s H-E-B gift card program begins, as well as further details.