Madam Mam’s leaving The Drag — but not going far

Clockwise from bottom: red curry and coconut noodle soup called Khao Soi, Yum Green Bean Salad with shrimp and Tiger Cry. (Credit: Mike Sutter FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

On a stretch of Guadalupe Street where 10 years can feel like a lifetime for a restaurant, Madam Mam’s has been around for what feels like an eternity.

Chatfuang (“Mam”) Apisaksiri opened the restaurant in 2001 at 2514 Guadalupe St. But the Thai restaurant will soon be leaving its longtime home. But students shouldn’t worry, Mam isn’t going far. Madam Mam’s is moving into the Grand Marc Austin at 510 W. 26th St.

A manager at the restaurant said she is not sure of the exact date of the transition, but a sign alerting customers to the move has gone up at the original location and new signage is already up at the mixed-use building in West Campus.

There are also locations of Madam Mam’s on Brodie and Anderson Lanes and at the Hill Country Galleria.

Dine at the Radisson closing, as change comes to downtown hotel

The view of Lady Bird Lake from inside the restaurant at the Radisson. (Credit: Deborah Cannon AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Dine at the Radisson will close on May 15. The shutter comes about a year after the Radisson was sold to a group that has plans to spend $75 million ton transform the property into one of their signature Line hotels.

New ownership said last year it had no immediate plans for the Starbucks and Dine, but it seems change is now afoot. The Line has plans for two restaurants at the property at Congress Avenue and East Cesar Chavez Street. While the concepts have not been announced, I’d expect notable names to set up shop, as celebrity chef Roy Choi is behind a restaurant at The Line in Los Angeles and James Beard winner Spike Gjerde is the executive chef of the restaurant at the forthcoming Line hotel in D.C.

Dine was the second restaurant at the Radisson following its renovation in 2014. Parkside Projects owner Shawn Cirkiel initially ran the restaurant as Chavez, and longtime Austin chef David Garrido took over in June 2015, following a brief stint by chef Josh Watkins. Before the sale was announced, Garrido said he had planned a name and concept change for the lakefront restaurant.

In the weeks leading up to its closure, Dine has shifted to buffet-only service for breakfast .


Sway and La Condesa team opening downtown French brasserie Le Politique

The New Waterloo team has shown itself adept with Mexican (La Condesa), Thai (Sway), Japanese (Otoko) and American (Cafe No Se, Central Standard), and this summer will flex its French muscle. The hospitality group will open French brasserie Le Politique on the first floor of the Northshore hi-rise (110 San Antonio St.) this summer.

The restaurant will serve a menu that includes brasserie staples like trout amandine, escargot, and tarte flambée. Le Politique will also feature an extensive raw bar and a separate patisserie and coffee shop.

The husband-and-wife team of Derek Salkin and Alyssa Hurlstone will serve as the restaurant’s executive chef and executive pastry chef, respectively. Salkin comes to Austin from Pao, New Waterloo and chef Paul Qui’s collaboration with the Faena Hotel in Miami Beach. He has previously worked at  Jean Georges, The Modern, Thomas Keller’s Per Se and The French Laundry, and Joël Robuchon Restaurant at the Mansion in Las Vegas.

Architect’s rendering of the Northshore, the home of Le Politique, built at the site of the former Thomas C. Green Water Treatment Plant in downtown Austin. (Credit: Gensler Austin)

“My inspiration for the Le Politique menu is a quote from Julia Child’s memoir: ‘The kind of food I fell in love with was not trendy, souped-up fantasies, just something very good to eat,’” Salkin says. “Our menu will feature French classics that people crave simply because they are satisfying, generous and familiar. That’s what people want to eat, and that’s what I love to cook.”

Hurlstone also comes to Le Politique from Faena and previously served as pastry chef de partie at Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry.

Le Politique, its name a nod to Austin’s role as the state capital, will serve lunch, brunch and dinner in a 9,000-square-foot space that also includes a 2,400-square-foot patio. For more information, visit

In addition to the brasserie slated to open this summer, New Waterloo also recently announced it will open Italian restaurant and sandwich shop Il Brutto in East Austin this summer.  

Pizza nights coming to Salt Lick

Salt Lick owner Scott Roberts is obviously passionate about barbecue. But he also loves showing off the wood-fired oven at his Salt Lick Cellars. The Driftwood restaurant is firing up the oven for the return of their Pizza Nights this month. Over three nights in April (13, 19 and 27) the tasting room and outdoor seating area adjacent to the restaurant will serve a variety of pizza. It is Salt Lick, so you can expect Mmoked BBQ Pizza, topped with burnt ends, pulled pork, and sausage; and a vegetarian-friendly Mushroom pizza with arugula, fontina and gruyère cheese. In addition to pizzas, the special dinner series will also feature wood-roasted meatballs and brisket-stuffed mushrooms. See the full menu below.

Reservations for pizza night can be made by calling Salt Lick Cellars  at 512-829-4013.

Zesty red sauce, garlic, mozzarella, Parmesan – $9
Zesty red sauce, house mozzarella, basil – $9
Driftwood garlic sauce, pork fennel sausage, caramelized onion, ricotta cheese, mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, Parmesan – $12
Garlic & EVOO, mushrooms, Fontina, Gruyère, fresh arugula – $11
Add a sunny-side up egg for $2
Bacon, mozzarella, sage leaf, walnut, seasonal crème fraiche – $13
Zesty red sauce, mozzarella, Salt Lick burnt ends, pulled pork, Salt Lick sausage, roasted red peppers, red onions, garlic – $11

With polenta, pesto, mascarpone, zesty red sauce, basil – $9
With fruit and nuts – $14


South Texas favorite Taco Palenque coming to Austin

The sabor of South Texas will soon be rolling up to Austin. Beloved Laredo-based Taco Palenque, which has locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley and north to Houston, San Antonio and New Braunfels, plans to open a food truck in Austin this summer.

Owner Juan Francisco Ochoa (Don Pancho) opened the first Taco Palenque in Laredo in 1987, several years after selling the American rights to El Pollo Loco, which he also founded. The fast-casual restaurant specializes in grilled beef and chicken plates and tacos, and is well known for its massive pirata, a taco slathered with refried beans and draped with juicy grilled fajita meat and melted cheddar cheese.

Taco Palenque.

The restaurants make their own excellent corn and flour tortillas, the latter soft, chewy and spotted with marks from the grill, and feature fresh salsa bars, with several salsa offerings, grilled jalapenos, pickled and raw onions, cilantro, pico de gallo and more. A visit to Taco Palenque will make you totally rethink the idea of fast-casual Mexican food.

Ochoa and his team told me last week in Laredo that the truck will  feature several of the restaurant’s most popular items on a smaller menu than that found in their 20+ locations throughout Texas. They are not sure where the truck will be located and say there is a strong possibility the truck could lead to multiple Austin brick-and-mortar locations of the massively popular family-owned chain of restaurants, which expanded to New Braunfels four years ago.


Burro Cheese Kitchen grilled cheese trailer opens at new Stonehouse Coffee + Bar


If you can’t beat ‘em, stare em down. Last year, Burro Cheese Kitchen tried to get El Burro Tex-Mex to change its name. That didn’t pan out at the grilled cheese specialists hoped. Now, they can keep their eye on the restaurant that trolled them with a harassing person dressed as a donkey.

The grilled cheese truck has opened at 1105 S. Lamar Blvd. next to the Gibson Bar and the new Stonehouse Coffee + Bar, across the street from El Burro. The truck has expanded operations and is now serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, opening daily at 7 a.m. and closing at 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and midnight on Friday and Saturday. Burro customers can take their food to the patio area or inside the new Stonehouse Coffee + Bar, the new all-day shop from operator Matt Luckie and FBR Management. The sleek shop built in a 117-year-old stone house serves a nice selection of wine and beer, along with pastries from Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery, gelato from Austin Gelato Company and more.



Event: Chef Enrique Olvera dinner at Fonda San Miguel

Chef Enrique Olvera. (Credit: Fonda San Miguel)

Austin’s original temple to interior Mexican cuisine, Fonda San Miguel, will welcome celebrated Mexico City chef Enrique Olvera for a special dinner on April 26. Olvera’s portfolio of restaurants includes the world-class Pujol in Mexico City and Cosme in New York City.

The chef behind two of the most celebrated Mexican restaurants in North America will prepare a five-course dinner that will include tostada de mejillones con chorizo, pulpo con mole de avellanas (grilled octopus with hazelnut mole), short rib, suadero con puré de aguacate y cebollines, and a dessert of meringues flavored with charred corn-husk powder and filled with sweet-corn cream. Tickets for the wine-paired meal cost $189 and can be purchased online. A cocktail hour starting at 6:30 p.m. precedes the 7:30 dinner.