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Brilliant Austin Food Innovations That Should Continue in 2023

An organization reducing restaurant food waste to service fees supporting workers to actually good mocktails

A taco with meat, cilantro, and onions.
A barbacoa taco from La Santa Barbacha.
La Santa Barbacha

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 nine:

What new innovative ideas have you seen emerge this year that you hope continues into 2023?

Chris Hughes, editor-in-chief, Austin Monthly
Places that touch upon multiple passions, like Vintage Books and Wine Bar. A bookstore/wine shop? Give me more of that kind of singular vision.

Melanie Haupt, food editor, the Austin Chronicle
It’s been around since late 2020, but it seems like Too Good To Go has really picked up steam this year as both a fairly accessible way to get restaurant meals on the cheap while also helping to reduce food waste. It can sometimes be a crapshoot in terms of what food you get and what shape it’s in when you get it, but I think it’s a fantastic way to address two different problems at once.

Lenny Dewi, @eats_n_noods and Eater contributing writer
I will definitely continue to use ideas we have tried to continue to organize and help businesses and communities come together such as fundraisers for nonprofits.

Jane Ko, blogger, A Taste of Koko
A rise of new food trucks with really good food — La Santa Barbacha, Ensenada, Pinches Tacos, and Oye Chico [Ed. note: Oye Chico has since closed]. I’d love to see more new food trucks in Austin.

Pat Sharpe, executive editor and food writer for Texas Monthly
I’m happy to see restaurants charging “health and wellness” fees and adding mandatory service charges in order to pay all their workers a reasonable wage and provide health insurance. Birdie’s is one exploring this option, and there are others. Restaurants are where we go to celebrate the happy occasions in our lives. We should be willing to pay the people who make that possible.

Darcie Duttweiler, freelance writer and Eater contributing writer
I appreciate a chef’s tasting menu where I can enjoy the very best of what the chef wants to share with me (and without making too many decisions). It’s not necessarily new or innovative, but it’s wonderful to see people in this town run with the idea and make it their own.

Erin Russell, associate editor of Eater Austin
Thankful for restaurants that put effort into making great mocktails — mixing a bunch of fruit juices together does not a mocktail make!

Nadia Chaudhury, editor of Eater Austin
Chefs striking out and doing their own things isn’t a new Austin thing, but it’s something that has flourished this year and I hope to see this continue into 2023 because that’s how fun food things happen.

ENSENADA ATX

2701 East Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard, , TX 78702 (512) 666-4396 Visit Website

Vintage Bookstore and Wine Bar

1101 East 11th Street, , TX 78702 (512) 551-9215 Visit Website

Birdie's

2944 East 12th Street, , TX 78702 Visit Website

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