Two Austin-born and -based restaurant companies announced out-of-state restaurant openings and expansions this month.
First, Hai Hospitality — the parent company of Japanese restaurant Uchi, etc. — is opening another Uchi in Scottsdale, Arizona in late 2023. There are also plans to open Uchiko in Plano, Texas in 2023; Uchiko in Denver, Colorado in 2024, and Uchiko in Miami Beach, Florida in 2024. There’s already an Uchi in Miami Beach, and plans for Uchi in Los Angeles.
McGuire Moorman Lambert Hospitality (MML) — the parent company of many Austin restaurants such as Jeffrey’s and Sammie’s — took over the longtime family-run Louis Swiss Bakery in Aspen. The company will operate in partnership with owner Jill Soffer (who actually bought the bakery in June 2021) as of December 2022. MML bakery and pastry chef Jennifer Tucket will oversee the baking aspects. This sounds similar to what MML did with Austin’s Swedish Hill Bakery née Sweetish Hill Bakery. MML also operates a location of its seafood restaurant Clark’s and Mexican restaurant Las Montanas in Aspen.
Celebs love Uchi
Actors and couple Alison Brie and Dave Franco talked about how much they enjoyed a meal at Uchi this week while making an appearance on Fox 7 this morning. Franco said it was “one of the very best meals we’ve had in a very long time.”
H-E-B seafood trick
Did you know that, if you buy seafood at H-E-B, you can get it steamed and seasoned for free? This off-menu secret was revealed by TikTok user @Lucystylezz.
Austin culinary students can train at a longtime restaurant
Mexican restaurant Fonda San Miguel is sponsoring a scholarship program at Austin Community College’s culinary arts department in honor of co-founder and chef Miguel Ravago, who died in 2017, as reported by CultureMap Austin. Owner and co-founder Tom Gilliland gave ACC $10,000 for the scholarship, which also gives its recipients the opportunity to train in the restaurant kitchen and be mentored by Fonda chefs Carlos Monroy and Blanca Zesati.
Wanna date a chef?
Austin chef Saine Wong, who runs the counter at Eater Austin Award-winning restaurant Toshokan, is one of Austin Monthly’s most eligible singles of 2023.
Central East Austin bookstore and wine bar Vintage is temporarily closing this week for renovations. It’ll be closed from Tuesday, January 31 through Tuesday, February 7.
Central Texas food award nominees
Several Central Texas food products and beverages made the finalist list of the Good Food Awards this year. This includes Beerburg Brewing’s Yaupon Roggenbier and Vista Brewing’s Hive Mind collaboration honey ale in the beer category; Madhu Chocolate’s saffron milk in the chocolate category; Greater Goods Roasting’s Sumatra Ribang Gayo natural in the coffee category; and the Meteor’s !El Meteoro! Sauces, the super green cremosa and the Pablo’s smoky rojo, are in the pantry category. The winners will be announced in April.
Tracking Austin openings
Oregon-based cafe chain Dutch Bros. Coffee opened its second Austin location at 9605 Menchaca Road in far south Austin in mid-January, as reported by Community Impact.
Former Red River music venue/bar Red Eyed Fly/Sidewinder is now a new membership bar called the Cut, as reported by Chronicle.
New brewery tour company in Central Texas
Northeast-based brewery tour company chain City Brews Tour is opening its Austin location this week. The first tours start on Wednesday, February 1, and participating breweries include Independence Brewing, Family Business, Beerburg, and Celis. The Austin chapter is being run by Jeff St. Andre, who went on a tour in New York and wanted to open one in his hometown. There are two tour options, the Sip of Austin and the Original Brew, each comes with tastings.
Tracking Austin restaurant events
The Wine and Food Foundation is hosting its regular Big Reds and Bubbles event next month. There will be a whole wine and food-tasting setup with wine pours and bites from Austin restaurants. It benefits nonprofit Urban Roots and takes place on Thursday, February 9 at the Fair Market from 7 to 9:30 p.m. VIP tickets are already sold out, but general admission tickets are $150 for members and $190 for non-members.
The Texas Hill Country Wineries is hosting another passport event where people can purchase a passport allowing access to free wine tastings and bottle discounts throughout the wine region. The Wine Lovers Passport Event runs from Monday, January 30 through Thursday, February 24. Two tickets are $100 and individual tickets are $65.