It’s Italian Cucina and Manin Pasta now open on South Lamar

The stretch of South Lamar Boulevard between Barton Springs Road and Ben White has added two new Italian options. It’s Italian Cucina recently opened at 1500 S. Lamar Blvd. (in the Post complex that is home to Barlata).

Owner Al Fini’s Northern Italian-influenced restaurant, which grew out of a former market of the same name in East Austin, serves dinner nightly, with a menu that includes pastas such pumpkin ravioli with garlic brown butter sauce, linguine with clams, agnolotti filled with osso bucco and classic entrees like veal marsala and chicken with prosciutto.

It’s Italian Cucina on South Lamar is one of two new options from the peninsula. (

It’s Italian Cucina, which offers  indoor and outdoor dining, serves half-priced appetizers at happy hour (4 to 6 p.m.) and sells bottles of  wine to-go at a 25-percent discount. It is open Sunday-Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m. and until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. It also serves Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  

Manin Pasta serves Neapolitan pizza in addition to a slew of housemade pastas. (

Further south, Manin Pasta has taken over the former Aroma Italian Kitchen space at 3403 S. Lamar Blvd. The restaurant serves a lunch menu that includes pastas, salads, Neapolitan pizzas and panini, and expand on that menu at night for a broad selection of more than 15 pastas, including housemade fettuccine with salmon and spaghetti carbonara and shaped and filled pastas such as squid ink ravioli stuffed with crab meat. The bar serves Italian-inspired cocktails and more than a dozen Italian wines by the glass, and Tuesday night is half-price pizza night. 

Manin Pasta is open daily for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and for dinner from 5 to 10 p.m.


Seafood-centric restaurant TLC opens next to Alamo South Lamar next week

If you’ve been to the Alamo Drafthouse (or Vox Table or Lick Honest Ice Creams et al) over the past year, you’ve seen the work-in-progress that is TLC for months. Well, the wait is almost over. The restaurant from the Manera Restaurant Group, which also operates J. Black’s Feel Good Kitchen & Lounge, will open the comfort spot that draws on coastal inspiration on Tuesday.

The menu from chef Jeff Parks (formerly of Gumbo’s) will include a variety of seafood boils, sandwiches sandwiches, Gulf redfish, oysters and shrimp, along with comfort staples like deviled eggs and chicken fried steak. The restaurant states in a release that the seafood will be “local, and sustainably sourced when possible.” See the complete menu below. 

The counter-service restaurant will serve 30 beers on tap and feature large tables for communal seating, outdoor space for dining and drinking, TVs set to spots and a game room area with classic arcade games.

TLC opens softly next week with service Tuesday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Follow this link to get 25 percent off your meal on Tuesday night. After its soft opening, TLC will be open Monday – Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and until midnight on Friday and Saturday.



Holy Roller hosts pie-eating contest Tuesday to benefit SAFE

Update from the organizers: Casey Wilcox from Central Standard won the contest,  finishing one pound and three ounces of pie in under three minutes. Launderette’s Laura Sawicki came in 2nd place, finishing nearly one pound of pie, and Parkside Projects’ Shawn Cirkiel was just shy of one pound, earning third place honors. The night raised nearly $1600 for SAFE. Donations will be matched dollar for dollar by the Dell Foundation.


Raising money for a great organization while watching famous chefs gorge themselves on pie? Sounds like a win-win situation. Chef Callie Speer’s irreverent comfort-food spot Holy Roller (509 Rio Grande St.) hosts a pie-eating contest tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. to benefit SAFE (the organization that has joined Safe Place and Austin Children’s Center). Attendees can purchase tickets to bet on their favorite chefs, with all proceeds from sales going to SAFE.  Those holding tickets from the winning chef will have a chance to win prizes from Neon Jungle’s Evan Voyles, Yeti and more. Guests will also get free pie and be able to purchase drink specials.


So, who’s gonna be making a mess of themselves? The contestants include Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue, Tyson Cole (Uchi), Shane Stiles (Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew), Philip Speer (Bonhomie), Laura Sawicki (Launderette) and more. Complete roster of pie eaters and more details on Facebook.


Get barbecue shipped from these Central Texas restaurants

Looking for a holiday gift for your favorite meat lover but don’t want to get off your couch to go shopping? We’ve got a list of Central Texas barbecue joints that ship, saving you the gas money and the hassle. Follow the links for info. 

La Barbecue serves some of the best brisket in Central Texas. (Laura Skelding AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
A tray full of food at La Barbecue in Austin, Texas. Matthew Odam’s Top 10 barbecue restaurants in Austin.
052314 xl cover

Black’s BBQ. The Lockhart-based legacy restaurant sells brisket, ribs, sausage and more through its online store.

Cooper’s Old-Time Pit Bar-B-Que. The famous restaurant that started in Llano serves barbecue combo boxes, racks of ribs and more.

Iron Works BBQ. Whole turkeys, baby back ribs, chili … it can all be yours via the downtown spot’s BBQ Express service.

La Barbecue. The Austin greats ship whole briskets through their partnership with Foody Directt.

Louie Mueller Barbecue. The Taylor legends sell ribs, brisket and much more via the website Goldbely.

Rudy’s Bar-B-Q. The “Country Store” sells a variety of combox packages, there’s even one that includes a Yeti cooler, along with sauces and more.

Salt Lick. Brisket, ribs, turkey, sauce, swag and more. Everything but the Hill Country ambiance.




Stiles Switch’s 12 Days of Smoked Meats continues this week

Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew returned last week with its annual 12 Days of Smoked Meats. The 12-day run features daily specials that span the spectrum of smoked meats, from the expected (prime rib) to the eccentric (chicken-fried beef rib with tater tot casserole). The specials pick back up tomorrow with Day 7 and run through Sunday. The daily specials are listed below.

Smoked prime rib from Stiles Switch.

Day 7: Tues., Dec. 12th – Smoked brisket meatball sub with smoked marinara

Day 8: Wed., Dec. 13th – Smoked prime rib with horseradish cream sauce

Day 9: Thursday – Biscuits & smoked bacon gravy with pulled pork collaboration with guest chef Callie Speer of Holy Roller

Day 10: Friday – Chicken fried beef rib with tater tot casserole

Day 11: Saturday – Smoked brisket chili w cornbread

Day 12: Tamale pick-up. Order from the selection online.


Fast-casual concept Verts now known as Noon Mediterranean

If you’ve been confused as you look for a Mediterranean-inspired lunch from Verts and can’t seem to find the name in town anymore, don’t worry. The fast-casual artist originally known as VertsKebap still exists, but now goes by the name Noon Mediterranean. The business, which started in Austin in 2011, felt it had an identity and branding issue last year, according to industry publication QSR Magazine,  and axed the “kebap” from its name, choosing to go with the more direct Verts. But the new name for the restaurant that started as “the world’s smallest food truck,” operating out of a Smart Car off The Drag, still didn’t communicate the idea of the restaurant well enough, so now it’s Noon Mediterranean. Noon, which got its start as Verts selling spit-roasted doner kebabs, serves a variety of grain and greens bowls (though you can still get a pita-wrapped meal) topped with grilled proteins and a variety of sides and accoutrements.

Founded by Michael Heyne and Dominik Stein, the company took on $20 million in private funding in 2015, and expanded to East Coast cities like Boston and New York. The concept, which had 26 stores in 2015, has since contracted, and now has 20 locations, including eight in Austin. The owners told QSR Magazine that they intend to expand nationally, with plans to open in New York City by the end of the year.



20 Austin restaurants for day drinking on a weekday

Maybe work got cancelled due to weather. Maybe you have friends in from out of town. Maybe you’re playing hooky. Or maybe you’re just thirsty. Dip into one of these Austin restaurants for some day drinking on a weekday. (Because sitting in a restaurant drinking all day somehow seems more acceptable than sitting in a bar all day. Hypocrites.)


Beer Plant: Mitigate the guilt of working through the beer list with some vegan pub fare.
Black Star Co-Op: Fish and chips and house brews.
Boiler Nine: Fun wine list, great beer selection, superb cocktails and you can sit by the fire at the back chef’s counter.
Bonhomie: Tuck into the back cocktail bar with a side of pommes rosti.
Bufalina: Killer wine list, best Neapolitan pizzas in town.
Cafe No Se: Rosè and pastries all day.
Clark’s Oyster Bar: A bottle of minerally white and a dozen oysters to start.
Dai Due: Large format Texas beers and locally sourced grub.
Fresa’s: Margaritas and all the tacos at the sit-down South First spot.
Hopfields: It’s like you discovers your own little pub during a wander around Ireland or France or somewhere magical.
June’s All Day: Big bold French red and a great soundtrack.
Kome: It’s never too early for Japanese whiskey. Right?
La Condesa: Sip one of the cities best margaritas while watching the downtown minions scurry about.
Launderette: Sit at the bar and pair the global fare with wine.
Odd Duck: Burger and whiskey. Repeat.
Perla’s: Bottle of white with some seafood or a bottle of red with beef. Or maybe just an extra dirty martini.
Salt & Time: Ain’t it funny how time just slips away while eating a giant burger and sippin beer.
Sway: Maybe a dry Riesling to go with all of those exuberant Thai flavors?
Texas French Bread: So you dipped into a French red while the person next to you sunk into some soup. Let em judge.
Trio at the Four Seasons: Imagine you’re a movie star or millionaire and maybe get boozed up enough to throw down your credit card for a room, so you can extend the royal treatment a little longer.