Zilker neighborhood coffee shop and bar Irie Bean is now closed. Its last day on 2310 South Lamar Boulevard was sometime this November. Owner Leslie Stovall confirmed the shutter to Eater over email, writing, “We were not able to come back from the pandemic.” Irie opened in 2006, serving coffee, espresso drinks, teas, beers, and wines. It had taken over what had been Swerve Coffee Lounge
Chef awards season
Restaurant industry trade publication StarChefs announced the winners of its Rising Stars awards for Austin and San Antonio this week. The winning Austin chefs are Egyptian-Texas barbecue truck KG BBQ’s Kareem El-Ghayesh, deli Mum Foods’s Geoff Ellis, all-day cafe Better Half’s Rich Reimbolt, live-fire cooking restaurant Hestia’s Keith Rzepecki, and Southern restaurant Olamaie’s Amanda Turner. Then there’s the Game Changers category, which was given to New American wine restaurant Birdie’s Arjav Ezekiel and Tracy Malechek-Ezekiel; the Game Changers to Mexican restaurant Nixta Taqueria’s Edgar Rico; Concept to fast-casual restaurant Bird Bird Biscuit’s Brian Batch and Ryan McElroy; Pastry Chefs to Mexican restaurants Suerte/Este’s Derrick Flynn and Comedor’s Casandra Perez-Martinez; Bartender to cocktail bar Holiday’s Erin Ashford; Sommeliers to New American wine restaurant Aviary’s Alex Wheatley Bell and pizza and wine restaurant Bufalina’s Rania Zayyat; Artisans for bakery/deli/farmers market stand Casper Fermentables’s Ben and Phoebe Hollander and brewery Meanwhile Brewing Co.’s Will Jaquiss; and Mentor to Italian restaurant L’Oca D’Oro’s Fiore Tedesco.
San Antonio winners are Leche de Tigre’s Emil Oliva (for chef), Eater best new restaurant 2019 the Jerk Shack’s Nicola Blaque (restaurateur) Curry Boys BBQ/Pinch Boil House/Wurst Behavior’s Andrew Ho and Sean Wen (restaurateur), and Roadmap Brewing Co.’s Dustin Baker (Game Changers).
To commemorate the winners, some of the restaurants/chefs/bars will be participating in the publication’s Rising Stars Restaurant Week, where each will offer a special dish or drink. That runs from Friday, December 1 through Friday, December 15. Also, during that time, Little Ola’s Biscuits’s Jules Stoddart is selling spiced apple kolaches during the week, of which $3 of every sale will be donated to Urban Roots.
Restaurant awards season
National magazine Esquire announced the winners of its annual Best New Restaurants list this week. The sole Texas entrant is Austin’s Mexican seafood restaurant Este. Writer Omar Mamoon describes the restaurant as “a love letter to all things marisco.”
Temporary restaurant closure
South Austin Tex-Mex restaurant Curra’s Grill is currently temporarily closed for the week because of repairs to the roof. It started on November 27, and will continue through Thursday, November 29. The Hyde Park location remains open during that time.
Tracking Austin drink events
The Wine & Food Foundation’s annual Big Reds & Bubbles event — where the organization highlights reds and sparkling wines with food by Austin restaurants — is taking place in March 2024, and tickets are on sale now. Early bird tickets are $190 for non-members and $150 for members. The event takes place on Friday, March 1 at downtown rooftop venue Skybox on 6th.