Days after it was announced that wine director Vilma Mazaite had left the floor at LaV to focus on a wine and food festival produced by the restaurant, award-winning executive pastry chef Janina O’Leary and her husband, interim executive chef Sean O’Leary, have left LaV, a rep for the East Austin restaurant confirmed. There is no word on who will helm the kitchen at LaV going forward, but I will pass along that information when I get it. Sean O’Leary took the helm at LaV after opening executive chef Allison Jenkins departed this summer.
In what looks to be a brilliant marketing move for both companies, UberEATS will deliver free boxes of Voodoo Doughnuts from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday. Once that two-hour window closes, UberEATS will deliver lunch requests, per usual business operations, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The wildly popular Portland-based doughnut shop officially opens at 211 E. Sixth St. on Halloween, so this promotion from the food-delivery app will give people a sneak peek. The promotion is set for 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. but will only last as long as supplies last (limit one box per customer).
Wondering how UberEATS works? Uber users open the Uber app, select EATS, set delivery location, and place their order. Food shows up within minutes. Majorly important note: The UberEATS delivery area is extremely limited in Austin (Lady Bird Lake to 38th Street and Lamar Avenue to I-35). Check the map here.
The app has already expanded its offerings since first launching. As a sample taste, today it is delivering food from Noble Sandwich Co., Sagra, Manuel’s, and Gus’s Fried Chicken.
One of Austin’s star hospitality veterans has returned to town. Paula Rester will rejoin the La Corsha Hospitality Group (Congress, Second Bar + Kitchen, et al) on December 1. Rester, who previously served as captain and sommelier at Congress, will oversee the wine programs at Congress, Bar Congress, Second Bar + Kitchen, the upcoming Boiler Nine Bar + Grill at Seaholm, the soon-to-be renovated Green Pastures, and new location of Second at the Domain.
Rester left Austin last year for New York City, where she served as sommelier at Maialino, the Italian restaurant operated by Danny Meyer’s industry-leading Union Square Hospitality Group. Rester, a Level II Certified Sommelier, has a resume in Austin also includes time at Uchi and as general manager at Vino Vino in Hyde Park.
“I am excited to return home and take on this greater and more challenging role,” Rester said. “It’s an honor to be trusted with the responsibility of curating the wine lists for some of the best restaurants in the city.”
Bill Dumas works his finals days at the barbecue trailer at sausage company Smokey Denmark this week and will move over to Stiles Switch on North Lamar Boulevard. Taking Dumas’ place at the colorful truck at the sausage-making company will be Keenan Goldis, a sausage-making veteran who joined Smokey Denmark this summer after shuttering his Goldis Sausage Co. business. Pitmaster Lance Kirkpatrick still runs the show over at Stiles Switch, which is taking over the adjacent barbershop space, according to Mike Sutter at FedmanWalking.com. Smokey Denmark’s trailer at 3505 E. Fifth St. is open for lunch Tuesday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Italian boom continued this week with the opening of Al Fico. The restaurant from Vino Vino founders Jeff Courington and Kelly Bell is located at 1700 E. Second St. Al Fico’s website says the restaurant is taking reservations (call 512-469-9400 to reserve) but not walk-ins.
As we prepare to release the 2015 Dining Guide, I’m rolling out a few teases. Here’s the second …
One of the city’s best service professionals is shifting gears. LaV’s Vilma Mazaite will leave her position as director of wine and take on the role of executive consultant. In her new position, Mazaite will focus on launching LaV’s Austin: Celebrate Burgundy, a new wine and food festival celebrating Burgundy wines and regional French food that LaV plans to host in its restaurant and garden in early 2017.
“We believe Austin is ready for a world class wine and food event and there is no one better to lead it than Vilma,” LaV general manager Jamie Wagner said. “We’re excited to start Celebrate Burgundy and look forward to working with others in the Austin food and wine community to make it a reality.”
After being culled from the Little Nell in Aspen, Mazaite served on the opening team at LaV and was named a “Best Sommelier of 2015” by Food and Wine magazine. Under Mazaite’s stewardship, LaV’s wine program garnered “Best of Award of Excellence” from Wine Spectator and the restaurant was named “Best 100 Wine Restaurants in the US” by Wine Enthusiast magazine. LaV will announce a new director of wine in the coming weeks.
“I am very proud of what we’ve done at laV and am excited to be starting our next venture,” Mazaite said. “I believe we can create a unique wine and food experience in Austin. We’ve already begun securing participants from Burgundy and have been met with great enthusiasm from several producers.”
For more on the Lithuanian-born Mazaite, read Michael Barnes 2014 here.