After almost a decade in business, Italian restaurant Sagra will close its doors for good after service this Sunday. The restaurant from Sarwat and Gabriel Pellegrini, opened in the former Mars space (now Olamaie) at 1610 San Antonio St. before moving to East 11th Street. Sagra gave notice of its closing yesterday on its Facebook page.
If you’re visiting Houston and find yourself missing Austin, you will soon be able to get a taste of home in the Bayou City. Austin-based Tacodeli and Hopdoddy will both open their first Houston locations soon.
Hopdoddy is slated to open on Memorial Day at 4444 Westheimer Road, in between the Galleria and the Highland Village shopping areas. Tacodeli will open its first Houston location, at 1902 Washington Ave., later this year.
“I’ve been a huge fan of the Houston restaurant scene since I first started visiting the city back in the 80’s! It is very exciting to know that we will finally be able to sling tacos in a city with some serious culinary heritage,” Tacodeli co-founder Roberto Espinosa said. “We are especially excited to be opening in a unique part of the city along Washington Avenue with great neighbors such as B&B Butchers, Julep, and soon to open Platypus Brewing in our building.”
Tacodeli and Hopdoddy will join Uchi, JuiceLand and Torchy’s Tacos among Austin businesses that have expanded to Houston in recent years.
I walked by Torchy’s on South Congress Avenue on Wednesday night and saw an employee wiping down the outdoor bar. Taps exposed though nonoperational, I assumed the taco slingers would be slinging alcohol soon. I was mistaken.
The Austin-based taco empire Tuesday night withdrew its request to city council for permission to sell alcohol at its latest Austin location, according to the Statesman’s James Barragan. Torchy’s had faced opposition from ‘local stakeholders,’ including AISD, due to its proximity to Fulmore Middle School across the street.
While Torchy’s has withdrawn the request, the move is just temporary.
“We look forward to continuing these current discussions and will update the community when we refile our waiver,” Torchy’s said in a statement. “We fully intend to go through the appropriate notification process and we remain committed to being a good neighbor to the South Congress area.”
For the complete story, visit MyStatesman.com.
- Take a taco tour around Austin
- 10 tasty tacos to try in Austin (2014)
- At Torchy’s, Obama orders ‘Democrat,’ ‘Republican,’ ‘Independent’ tacos
One of the best food festivals in America will once again have an Austin contingency on hand, as several local chefs will participate at Feast in Portland this summer.
The multi-venue festival in Portland presented by Bon Appétit celebrates its fifth year in September and will welcome Austin chefs Rene Ortiz (Launderette), Michael Fojtasek and Grae Nonas (Olamaie) and Aaron Franklin. Tickets go on sale at 11 a.m. today.
Other visiting chefs include Hugh Acheson of 5&10 (Athens, GA), Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark of Parachute Restaurant (Chicago), Kotaro Asakura of Kirakutei (Tokyo), Alex Barkley of Manolin (Seattle) and Nina Compton of Compère Lapin (New Orleans). Portland chefs will also be heavily represented, obviously, by chefs like Elias Cairo of Olympia Provisions, Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton of OX Restaurant, Tommy Habetz and Nick Wood of Bunk Sandwiches, Jin Soo Yang of Bamboo Sushi and many more.
“Our fifth year is here and we are ready to up the festival ante once again,” festival co-founders Mike Thelin and Carrie Welch said. “Our goal is to continue to best ourselves every year. Our fifth anniversary is a no-rerun year – everything is new and fun!”
The festival, which runs from September 15-18, features more than 40 events, tastings, panels, parties and more spread across downtown and East Portland. To see the full roster of talent and events, and to buy tickets, visit FeastPortland.com.
When we released our top 10 fried chicken sandwiches list earlier this week, some readers cried fowl. Matthew Odam ate about 20 fried chicken sandwiches in search of Austin’s best and somehow
pecked picked 10 to highlight in this week’s Austin360 cover story. The list included dining establishments like Fixe and Odd Duck alongside the dive likes of Luke’s Inside Out and Lebowski’s Grill.
But several readers claimed our rankings missed some worthy breaded birds. Many commenters wondered why Flyrite, a new local establishment specializing in the stuff, was left off the list completely.
Others defended the Barton Springs staple Shady Grove.
One commenter urgently suggested the sandwhich at this dog park/bar/restaurant.
And for those who are worried about keeping costs low:
You can choose to follow the critic or the community, but you now have fourteen fried chicken sandwich suggestions. Ok, fifteen if you count this guy who likes the simple things in life:
When you consider that celebrated chef David Chang (Momofuku) rolled out a fried chicken-sandwich concept (Fuku) and Shake Shack added a fried chicken sandwich to its permanent menu this year, it’s safe to say that the fried chicken sandwich is having a moment.
You can find them all over Austin menus, from drive-thrus to fine dining establishments. Given their recent ubiquity, I set out to try sandwiches all over town and determine the best in Austin. I’ve eaten so many fried chicken sandwiches in the past month, during conversation I get scared I might start ‘squawking’ or ‘bawking’ or whatever it is chickens do.
Follow this link to read about my Top 10 fried chicken sandwiches in town. They range from bowling alleys to the kitchen of a James Beard nominee.
I dig cheese. I could eat a wheel of it for breakfast, follow that with a salad at lunch and come back for more cheese at dinner. So, you’d think that this steak, egg and cheese taco would be right in my wheelhouse (pun intended). While I love the smoky taste of the gouda cheese (yes, that’s crumbled gouda piled atop that not photogenic taco above), the texture of the cheese and scrambled eggs, toasted at their golden edges, was too homogeneous for me. I wanted some crunch, some variation. The eggs and cheese blanketed strips of juicy grilled meat. The bright orange habanero salsa, with its sweet sting, gave some complexity to the taco ($2.95), but not enough to save it for me.
While I was lukewarm on the breakfast taco (which is served all day), there is also a lunch version called the Señor Crockett, served with onions, peppers and beef. Now we’re talkin’. I mistakenly ordered the breakfast taco, after hearing our social media and engagement editor, Eric Webb, rave about it.
“Smoked gouda is addictive on its own – and on burgers, and as a chip flavor and slice by slice. But it’s not a flavor you ever find in Mexican food. Pairing it with beef on the Señor Crockett taco makes the smoky flavor pop, and the bell peppers cut through the gooey texture like a fresh, zesty knife. Those homemade tortillas are an added bonus,” Webb told me in an email.
I guess I have to go back.
While the breakfast taco didn’t thrill me, I really liked the oily seared beef, sweet caramelized onions, floral cilantro, dusting of queso fresco and broad wings of avocado on the Street Taco ($3.75) at the new Taco Joint on East Riverside.
The Taco Joint makes its own flour tortillas, and they finish the thin, oil-sheened rounds to a toasty finish on the grill. The crunch added the satisfaction of nicely seasoned Seared Fish Taco ($3.75) that came buried beneath a little too much queso fresco and honey-lime slaw. Grab the spicy and creamy avocado salsa from the salsa bar for that one.
Taco Joint. 134 E. Riverside Drive. Facebook.com/TheTacoJoint
Hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday