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Lauded Chef of an Essential D.C. Restaurant Is Cooking at Austin Dinner Pop-Up

Plus, Austin breweries win beer awards , and more news

A food item with leaves and crackers.
A dish by chef Johnny Spero.
Bar Spero
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.

Austin dinner pop-up series Midnight in the Garden is hosting acclaimed chef Johnny Spero of Washington, D.C. Basque-ish restaurant Bar Spero for a two-night dinner this month. He also runs tasting menu restaurant Reverie, which is currently closed due to a fire in the space over the summer of 2022. The meals, dubbed Midnight Under the Sea, will feature, yes, a ten-course dinner with lots of seafood. It takes place at cookware company Made In’s Austin office kitchen on Friday and Saturday, September 29 and 30. Reservations are $265 (there’s a $100 deposit).

Austin brewery beer award winners

The annual Great American Beer Festival winners have been announced, and two Austin breweries came home with awards. East Austin/North Loop brewery Lazarus Brewing Co. nabbed two gold medals for its Crazy Horse in the Bohemian-style pilsner and its Prodigal Pils in the German-style pilsner categories. And then East Congress brewery Vacancy Brewing got a gold medal for its Jet Lag lager in the other hoppy lager category. Out in the Hill Country, Dripping Springs brewery Family Business Beer Co. got a gold for its Chilis from the Grave in the chile beer category, Driftwood brewery Lone Man Mountain Brewing Co, got a bronze for its LMM Belgian amber in the Belgian/French-style ale group, and Blanco brewery Real Ale Brewing Co. got a gold for its Real Heavy for Scotch ales and bronze for its Cruzer in the German-style kolsch.

Rainey Street bar and construction developments

The owners of downtown street bar Placeholder want to demolish the physical building to create something new, but the Austin’s Historic Landmark Commission isn’t for it, as reported by Austin Business Journal. Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation filings indicate that there are plans for a new two-story bar called Palace Laundry slated for the address (the name of the current tiki bar would make sense, since then it’s a Placeholder for whatever that new bar will be). The 96 Rainey Street building was built in 1887; the commission voted on September 6 to postpone the vote for the plan.Before Placeholder, the address had been home to Bar 96 by Bridget Dunlap, and then the Alibi bar. There had been tentative plans to add additional stories to the bar since its Alibi days.

Tracking Austin food events

A new pan-Asian food event is happening over the weekend this month. Hawk Luck Night Market (get it?) will feature food from Malaysian pop-up Penang Shack, Malaysian dessert shop Austin Kuih Co., skewer truck Otoshi, bakery Cookie Wookie Kitchen, and what seems to be a new dinner pop-up series called Good Jinn run by chef Sakif Khan. Then there will be other vendors with home foods, art, and more. Likewise, the Austin Asian Community Health Initiative will be on deck with information about the organization. It takes place on Saturday, September 30 at McKinney neighborhood distillery Fierce Whiskers.

And earlier that same Saturday, September 30, Fierce is also releasing its newest bourbon. The Ham Choi, which is a straight bourbon that is finished in a cabernet wine barrel, will be on sale for $78 starting at 12:30 p.m.

Update, September 28, 6:08 p.m.: This article, originally published on September 26, has been updated to correctly reflect the chef behind Good Jinn.

Lazarus Brewing Co.

4803 Airport Boulevard, , TX 78751 (512) 394-7620 Visit Website

Fierce Whiskers Distillery

5333 Fleming Court, , TX 78744 (512) 537-5779 Visit Website

Vacancy Brewing

415 East Saint Elmo Road, , TX 78745 (512) 284-9083 Visit Website


96 Rainey Street, Austin, Texas 78701 Visit Website