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 eight:
Was there one restaurant/food person in particular that you felt really stepped up for your local community? How did they do so?
Lenny Dewi, @eats_n_noods and Eater contributing writer
I don’t think there was one. With the help of local food blogger and Instagrammer @austinfoodadventures, along with @bumperactive and @yellowyellowart, we brought 40 Asian businesses in Austin together to help raise funds for World Central Kitchen for Dine with Ukraine. I was humbled by the community effort of our local businesses and everyone coming together.
Jane Ko, blogger, A Taste of Koko
Adam Orman, co-owner and general manager of L’Oca d’Oro, runs Good Work Austin. GWA helps support a more equitable hospitality industry by working with employers to raise wages, provide benefits, improve workplace culture, feed communities experiencing food insecurity, and develop the next generation of hospitality professionals.
Chris Hughes, editor-in-chief, Austin Monthly
Edgar Rico and Sara Mardanbigi at Nixta Taqueria. Their community fridge program has done wonders and they’ve also just done a great job of uniting the local food scene [Ed. note: The fridge program is run with ATX Free Fridge Project.] I can’t tell you how many chefs go out of their way to tell me about the help and guidance they’ve received from them. They’re now getting national recognition, and it’s so well deserved.
Darcie Duttweiler, freelance writer and Eater contributing writer
It was amazing to see so many people in our community step up for Texas French Bread after the fire. It felt like the whole industry and city really came together to help.
Erin Russell, associate editor of Eater Austin
The way L’Oca d’Oro continually steps up for restaurant workers and the community continues to impress me, and I love how Nixta Taqueria works with and promotes other chefs (if you haven’t seen Edgar Rico’s James Beard Awards speech — watch it now).
Nadia Chaudhury, editor of Eater Austin
My first answer is honestly the restaurant workers who have united to demand better pay/benefits/etc. from their employers and decided to unionize and/or strike in order to get these needs (see: my answers to the biggest restaurant news stories of the year).
I will also add the hella hardworking community/self-run organizations of Free Lunch (with the help of local restaurants/trucks like LeRoy & Lewis) and Red Beans & Ricely Yours, both of which are still making foods for the people who need it in the city.
Purely restaurants-wise, echoing the praises of L’Oca d’Oro and Nixta Taqueria.