Scholz Garten introduces new barbecue menu this weekend

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Austin’s oldest dining and drinking establishment will tap back into Central Texas traditions this weekend, as Scholz Garten introduces a new barbecue menu. The oldest bar in Austin will serve its new barbecue menu on Sundays only, with a menu that includes brisket turkey, ribs, sausage (and vegan sausage) and more. Customers can order a three-meat plate with three sides, with options like cole slaw, charro beans and a corn cup, for $24.95 or a kids plate of one meat and two sides for $12.95. The owners of downtown haute dog restaurant and bar Frank took over food and beverage operations of the historic German beer hall last summer, taking over from longtime helmers Green Mesquite.

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Barbecue at Scholz Garten. (Contributed)

Annies Cafe & Bar on Congress Avenue is closing

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The ever-changing landscape of the downtown dining scene will receive some more action next month when Annies Cafe & Bar closes after an almost-10-year run at 319 Congress Ave..

Ralpha Barrera AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Love Nance, who founded Annies in 1982 and moved it to its Congress location in June 2009, has sold the hot piece of real estate where the restaurant sits on Congress Avenue and will turn her energy to her concepts at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA), Annies & Farm Aire and  I Vini, a fast-casual Italian restaurant, wine bar and market. In an emailed statement, Nance also hinted at a future street-side home for Annies.

“To our treasured downtown customers and family of employees, thank you for years of extraordinary memories,” Nance said. “All of your favorite Annies menu items and classic dishes are still available at our Annies & Farm Aire location (gate 18) at the Austin airport.  Until we see you again street-side, we look forward to seeing you at the airport.”

The last day of service at the restaurant’s Congress Avenue location will be April 22.

The downtown Austin lunch scene has seen increased competition in recent years with the arrival of chains like Mad Greens, Flower Child, Modern Market and Newk’s Eatery.

Punch Bowl Social planning downtown Austin location

Punch Bowl Social will open a second Austin location late this year.

The entertainment venue has signed a letter of intent for 22,000 square feet in the Scarborough Building at West Sixth Street and Congress Avenue.

Plans call for Punch Bowl Social to occupy spaces on the first floor and in the basement that were vacated by Brooks Brothers and Gold’s Gym. An outdoor patio along Congress Avenue is envisioned, as well.

When the downtown location opens, it will join one that has been at The Domain since 2014. Nationwide, there are 13 locations – most in urban settings similar to the new downtown Austin location.

“The Domain location was such a homerun from the very beginning,” Punch Bowl Social founder and CEO Robert Thompson said. “We love Austin and are excited to finally have a downtown location.”

While there will be many similarities between the two locations – dining, a bar and plenty of games – there will also be some differences, Thompson said.

“I’d say the look will probably be the biggest difference,” he said. “Back when we opened at The Domain, that was only our third location and we just didn’t the budget then that we have now.”

Expect some menu adjustments, too. The focus will still be comfort foods, Thompson said, but more Tex-Mex cuisine will be added. All dishes are made from scratch.

CNN reporter declares Salt Lick ‘heaven’ and starts a flame war on Twitter

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Can’t everybody just let people like what they like and let it rest? I guess not when it comes to barbecue. (And, hey, pot calling kettle “black,” I confess.) And, especially when it comes to Salt Lick BBQ. CNN political analyst/serial hot taker/comedian Chris Cillizza did something he probably thought was fairly innocuous (and it should have been). He went to an unarguably charming and pastoral setting (Salt Lick), ate some barbecue and declared he had found heaven. Trust me, after living in D.C. and eating some barbecue out that way and points further north, I have no doubt that for a District denizen drifting into Driftwood, the Salt Lick would feel heavenly, especially on a beautiful spring evening when twilight seems to last for four hours.

Contributed by Kenny Braun

Do I think Salt Lick serves some of the best barbecue in Central Texas? No. Did I Tweet at Mr. Cillizza with some more ideas, while not shaming him for his choice? Yes. Did other people get much more carried away with Cillizza’s declaration? Of course. Because the internet. And barbecue. To his credit, Cillizza handled the mocking with aplomb, and a full stomach.

As the popularity of barbecue and the proliferation of great barbecue options in the Austin area has increased, so has the vitriol for anyone who dare say anything nice about Salt Lick, one of the places that many of us who have decades of history in Austin will always hold close to our hearts for nostalgic purposes, if nothing else.

So, without further ado, the public shaming and rushing to defense of a reporter who his Tweet. Folks, if we keep treating visitors like this, nobody will ever move here.

Etc.

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Exclusive: Galaxy Cafe at the Triangle closing after 10 years, looking to relocate

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Galaxy Cafe will close its location at the Triangle (4616 Triangle Ave.) on April 15 after 10 years of business. The location celebrated its 10th birthday on March 22.

The Austin-born cafe, which opened its first location at Brodie and Slaughter Lanes in 2004, plans to relocate the shuttered business to a location with more of a neighborhood vibe, and one with fewer parking and logistical distractions, allowing the business to focus on food and guests, according to co-owner Kelly Chappell. The partners hope to make an announcement on expansion by the end of the year, if not sooner.

French toast with bananas and strawberries from family-friendly, all-day restaurant Galaxy Cafe. (Ralph Barrera AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

The Galaxy Group operates the original location, along with Galaxy Cafes on West Lynn Street and Mesa Drive, along with Zocolo Cafe on West Lynn Street and Top Notch on Burnet Road (home to one of the best fried chicken sandwiches in town).

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Winflo Osteria on West Sixth Street is closing

West End Italian restaurant, happy hour hang and listening room Winflo Osteria (1315 W. Sixth St.), which is owned by the Dickson family of Austin, will close on March 30 after five years in business. A new restaurant group will take over the space in the coming months.

The patio at Winflo on West Sixth Street. (Laura Skelding AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

“We are thankful and grateful for our customers, neighbors, staff, family, and friends for their support,” the family said in a statement. “After much deliberation, we’ve decided to close the restaurant with service concluding on March 30. We are transitioning to a new operator from New Orleans with strong restaurant experience that has great plans for our little bungalow and we are very supportive of the next chapter of this special place.”

Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor adding alcohol to its menu

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Want to buy a cold beer or some warming bourbon to go with your massive beef rib at Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor? Soon, all of your booze-fueled dreams will come true.

Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor.

Wayne Mueller, owner of the legendary restaurant and grandson of its namesake, posted on Facebook this week that the restaurant has applied for a permit to sell mixed beverages and stay open late. He tagged the photo, in which he teased drinks on the menu this summer, #margaritaville and #itsaboutdamntime.

Credit: Wayne Mueller’s Facebook page reposted on Louie Mueller BBQ page.

In the comments section, Mueller expounded on the change at the establishment that is currently BYOB: “Yes, it’s been a byob place for about 7 years. Thank you for your continued support during our ‘dry’ era. Recently, we decided to offer convenience to the majority of our patrons wishing to share in libations but for reasons specific to them, are unable to bring it with them. We also hope to participate in the enrichment of the burgeoning night life in Taylor’s downtown district with later hours of operation, beers and spirits, occasional music and special Pitmaster events.  Fun and festive times ahead!!!”

Louie Mueller Barbecue is not only adding alcohol, they are also looking to expand their hours. They are currently open until 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday but are targeting opening on Sundays and being open later on weekdays and as late as 2 a.m. on weekends.

“We want to generate some night life. We have had enough influx of people moving from Austin looking for a little less stress and traffic nightmares,” Mueller said. “If that demographic is flowing into Taylor, we really need more amenities to keep them here.”

They will also add live music one or two nights a week to the mix. The alcohol offerings will slowly roll in, starting with keg beer and a frozen margarita machine, before expanding.

While liquor will be new to the legacy barbecue restaurant, it won’t be the first time cold beer has been served at the Taylor destination. Louie Mueller Barbecue sold beer from 1959 to 2011.

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