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Two Fried Chicken Restaurants — One Local, the Other National — Are Expanding in Austin

Plus, a closed downtown bar reopens in a new downtown address, and more news

Chicken tenders, fried, and a bowl of mac and cheese.
Chicken tenders at Happy Chicks.
Happy Chicks
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

There are two fried chicken restaurant expansions happening this year in Austin. First, there’s the national chain Popeye’s and the second is the Austin chicken tender mini-chain Happy Chicks.

Popeyes is going to open a restaurant within the Barton Creek Square mall food court in October, as reported by Community Impact. Expect the usual spicy fried chicken, biscuits, fries, etc.

And then, Happy Chicks is opening its fourth overall location in the Quarry neighborhood. It’ll be found at 10611 Research Boulevard starting sometime in the fall. The fast-casual restaurant is taking over what had been the last remaining salad drive-thru Baby Greens, which closed in October 2022. Happy Chicks has three locations in Austin and one in Dallas.

A closed bar comes back

Shuttered downtown bar Reina reopened in the same neighborhood this month. The formerly-on-Rainey-Street bar is now on 214 Trinity Street as of August 24. The bar had to close its original location because of construction for the block in the fall of 2022.

Tracking Austin restaurant events

South Lamar Mexican restaurant El Naranjo and James Beard Award-winning chef Iliana de la Vega are hosting Yucatan, Mexico-based chef Christian Bravo for a dinner dedicated to the Mexican state. The five-course meal will include dishes like tuna ceviche, coconut shrimp, rib-eye with plantains, and papaya-guava ice cream. It takes place on Thursday, August 31 from 5 to 9 p.m. Reservations are $125. Bravo is the corporate chef of seafood restaurant Crabster in Yucatan; co-owner of catering company Bravo also in Yucatan; and co-hosts a YouTube cooking channel Hombres en la Cocina.

Far north Austin Mexican restaurant Bulevar is celebrating its first anniversary with a party on Thursday, August 31. There will be an all-night happy hour starting at 4 p.m. with half-priced cocktails and other drink specials, plus a live flamenco band, and more.

Driftwood winery Fall Creek Vineyards is hosting a grape stomping party this week. People will be able to stomp grapes for wine purposes, as well as preorder boxed lunches, which include a smoked chicken and asparagus sandwich and a chocolate chip cookie, enjoy live music, and buy merchandise. It takes place on Saturday, September 2 from noon to 7 p.m.

Happy Chicks

214 East 6th Street, , TX 78701 (512) 469-0002 Visit Website

El Naranjo [South Lamar]

2717 South Lamar Boulevard, Austin, Texas 78704

Bulevar Mexican Kitchen

9400 Arboretum Boulevard, , TX 78759 (512) 377-9877 Visit Website

Fall Creek Vineyards [Driftwood]

18059 Farm to Market Rd 1826, Driftwood, Texas 78619 Visit Website