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Austin Food Experts on the Most Surprising Food News of 2022

From the fire at Texas French Bread to a missed opportunity in Clarksville

A ruined restaurant building.
The fire destruction at Texas French Bread in January.
Texas French Bread.

As is the tradition as we near the end of 2022, Eater asked a trusted group of friends, industry types, and local bloggers for their takes on the past culinary year in Austin. All answers will be revealed before the year ends — cut, pasted, (mostly) unedited, and in no particular order. Question number seven:

What was the most surprising news story in Austin in 2022?

Pat Sharpe, executive editor and food writer for Texas Monthly
In terms of restaurant news, I was thrilled that two Austin chefs won James Beard awards: Iliana de la Vega, of El Naranjo, for Best Chef: Texas, and Edgar Rico, of Nixta Taqueria, for Emerging Chef. Both restaurants serve contemporary Mexican food.

Chris Hughes, editor-in-chief, Austin Monthly
That McGuire Moorman Lambert Hospitality didn’t buy Nau’s Enfield Drug. I thought that was a given. And honestly, everyone gives them hell, but it would’ve been a lot better if they had. Now, it’ll just be more faceless condos.

Darcie Duttweiler, freelance writer and Eater contributing writer
Via 313 union busting. So disappointing.

Jane Ko, blogger, A Taste of Koko
Austin Bakery Texas French Bread Catches On Fire

Erin Russell, associate editor of Eater Austin
I 100 percent agree with Chris’s assessment — I’m not always the biggest MML fan but I would have loved to see their take on a soda shop.

Simi Estiatorio’s closing completely consumed three weeks of my life — it started with covering a GoFundMe for employees and ended with accusations at some of the most powerful investors in Austin (and owners of Austin FC). Truly a wild ride to report on.

The Texas French Bread fire was a shock — and its comeback is a reminder of the power of the Austin community.

Nadia Chaudhury, editor of Eater Austin
Not surprising, but the fact that Austin restaurant staffers are hardcore looking/working on unionizing. UNIONS FOREVER, from Via 313 to Alamo Drafthouse to Starbucks to the attempts at Tiff’s Treats.

Nixta Taqueria

2512 East 12th Street, , TX 78702 Visit Website

Via 313 [North Campus]

3016 Guadalupe Street, Austin, Texas 78705

El Naranjo

85 Rainey Street, , TX 78701 (512) 474-2776 Visit Website

Texas French Bread

2900 Rio Grande Street, , TX 78705 (512) 499-0544 Visit Website

Nau's Enfield Drug

1115 West Lynn Street, , TX 78703 (512) 476-1221 Visit Website

Simi Estiatorio

601 Congress Avenue, , TX 78701 (512) 886-0999 Visit Website

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