Two Central Texas cities named best places to open a restaurant in U.S.

In-N-Out Burger opened in Round Rock in 2013. (Rodolfo Gonzalez AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
In-N-Out Burger opened in Round Rock in 2013. (Rodolfo Gonzalez AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

The booming Central Texas economy has earned the attention of The website released a list of the 10 best large cities (50,000+) in which to open a restaurant. NerdWallet crunched data on population growth, density, restaurant sales, and personal income to determine the city’s with greatest demand.

Cedar Park, which has seen its number of restaurants double in the past five years, took the top spot on the list. Round Rock, which is one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., came in at number five on the strength of its population growth and its “strong culinary scene that rakes in over $105 million in sales annually,” according to

South Texas and North Texas also landed on the list, with Mission picking up the number two stop and Frisco coming in at number six.

For the complete list, which includes data on all of the cities examined, head to

Correction: Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ spin-off Violet Taco opens at Star Bar this weekend

Valentina's Tex-Mex serves one of the best sliced brisket sandwiches in town.
Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ serves one of the best sliced brisket sandwiches in town.

A previous version of this blog incorrectly reported that Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ would reopen at Star Bar (600 W. Sixth St.). It turns out Valentina’s sister trailer, Violet Taco, will open at Star Bar, with Valentina’s staying down south at 7612 Brodie Ln. Violet Taco will, however, serve Valentina’s smoked brisket and carnitas daily (as well as ribs on Wednesday). Violet Taco recently left the Craftsmans bar on East Cesar Chavez Street, when it was determined the trailer was too big for the space. Violet Taco will serve dinner and late-nights only until the Star Bar finished its renovation in the coming weeks.


Chef de cuisine Andrew Francisco departing Gardner

Gardner 1914 E. 6th St (Ricardo B. Brazziell AMERICAN- STATESMAN)
Gardner 1914 E. 6th St (Ricardo B. Brazziell AMERICAN- STATESMAN)

Andrew Francisco is leaving his position as chef de cuisine at Gardner, where he has worked since the restaurant opened last fall. Francisco, who previously worked at Mettle and Olivia, is leaving the East Austin restaurant to be closer to his family in Eugene, Orgeon.

PJ Edwards, who has served as sous chef at Gardner since the restaurant opened, will move into the position of chef de cuisine and, as Francisco did, work closely with executive chef and partner Andrew Wiseheart. Edwards’ career includes time at the celebrated McCrady’s in Charleston, South Carolina, and Jason Dady’s Bin 555 in San Antonio.

“We are thankful for (Francisco’s) creative work in the kitchen at Gardner, and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” Gardner said in an emailed statement.

The veggie-centric restaurant was recently named one of Bon Appetit’s 50 Best New Restaurants in America.



Wine & Food Foundation of Texas announce Tour de Vin chef line-up


The Wine and Food Foundation of Texas will showcase several popular Austin chefs at its Tour de Vin: The New Vintage event on September 17.

Chefs Jacob Waver (Juliet), Ek Timrerk (Kin & Comfort), Jodi Elliott (Bribery), and Joe Anguiano (Vox Table) will join Honorary Chair chef Andrew Wiseheart of Contigo and Gardner at the fundraiging event at Fair Market (1100 E. Fifth St.) The chefs will create small plates to pair with dozens of wines at the 13th annual event.

Tickets for the 8 p.m. event cost $70 for non-members and can be purchased at