104.9 The Horn hosting a barbecue cook-off Saturday at Horn Bash

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We all love the great barbecue places that Austin and Central Texas have to offer. But one of the great things about barbecue is that there are some amateurs out there who have just as much passion and knowledge as some of the pros. This weekend, 104.9 The Horn hosts its Horn Bash and an amateur barbecue cook-off, overseen by Louie Mueller Barbecue of Taylor, is part of the festivities on Saturday. A wristband for the weekend event costs $20 (purchase at the gate) and will give attendees a chance to sample the smoked meat that will be judged by a panel that sadly won’t include me due to prior obligations.

Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The event takes place Friday from 3 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. at Buck’s Backyard in Buda (1750 FM 1626). There’s also a washer tournament, poker tournament and sharp-shoot chip off slated. The event benefits the Buda Professional Fire Fighters Association 4650, and more details are available at hornfm.com.

Full disclosure: Writers from the Austin American-Statesman appear each Wednesday morning on The Horn to talk about entertainment goings on around town.

 

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Cavalier celebrates grand opening in former Dog & Duck Pub space this weekend

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A new bar with a scruffy soul and led by industry veterans has taken over the short-lived Dog & Duck Pub space at 2400 Webberville Road. The Cavalier, which serves a food menu that riffs on smart Southern comfort, opened in March and will celebrate its grand opening on Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m. with food, drink, DJs and a puppy-kissing booth.

Deviled eggs at Cavalier. (Alison Narro)

That last detail should give you a sense that the bar helmed by Shangri-La, Backspace and Vespaio veterans Chadwick Leger and Rachelle Fox intends to have a little fun and not take itself too seriously. Reinforcing that vibe are the bar’s motto “Come As You Are, Leave As You Like” and the dictum “no religion” and “no politics” painted on mirrors inside the bar.

The divey neighborhood bar’s menu features items like charred green beans ($5), buttermilk fried chicken ($14), roasted acorn squash with goat cheese ($14), cheeseburger on brioche bun ($8) and chicken liver mousse ($8). The menu was designed by consulting chef Sam Walter of Lenoir.

The drink menu at the bar that features two patios includes classics like a Boulevardier and pineapple daiquiris and unique creations like the Red Headed Stranger, a mezcal cocktail with strawberry puree and lemonade.

The Cavalier is open 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturdays. You can take a peek inside via the neighborhood bar’s Instagram page.

The Dog & Duck relocated to East Austin in 2015, following its 24-year run near the Texas State Capitol, but closed suddenly last fall.

Hudson’s Hill Country now open in the former Hudson’s on the Bend space

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One of Central Texas’ great legacy restaurants has been rebooted. Again. Hudson’s Hill Country announced Tuesday on Facebook that it is now open for dinner daily from 6 to 9 p.m. The restaurant is housed in the Lakeway-area space Jeff Blank made famous starting in 1984.

The dining area at the entry to Hudson’s Hill Country. (Credit: Facebook.com/HudsonsHillCountry)

Real estate developer, serial entrepreneur and philanthropist Dilum Chandrasoma purchased the restaurant in December months after the initial reboot closed. Chandrasoma brought on executive chef John Sturdivant, formerly of Z’Tejas, to create a menu that riffs on the Hill Country classics that were the staples of the Hudson’s menu. The final menu is expected to be released in the coming days, but Chandrasoma said it will be comprised of Hudson’s wild and exotic game classics, original Hill Country-inspired dishes and a vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.

“We’re trying to accommodate everyone’s palate,” Chandrasoma said.

Blank sold his longtime business in 2016 to an owner who reopened the restaurant in November 2016 under the guidance of young chef Billy Caruso and sommelier Chris McFall. The week I (positively) reviewed the restaurant last year, it suddenly closed with no explanation.

Lucy’s Fried Chicken closing on South Lamar and opening in Cedar Park

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Chef James Holmes’ short-lived run with Lucy’s on the Fly on South Lamar, an extension of his Lucy’s Fried Chicken brand, will come to an end this weekend, as the longtime Austin chef says goodbye to the space at which he has operated a restaurant for 10 years. Holmes says he was unable to renew the lease at the space at 2403 S. Lamar Blvd., where he first opened Olivia in 2008, a fine dining restaurant that was at the forefront of the farm-to-table wave of upmarket dining that came to Austin over the last 10-15 years.

Credit: Ricardo B. Brazziell AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Lucy’s on the Fly will close Sunday, but with that shutter comes news of a new location for Holmes fried chicken restaurant that got its start off South Congress Avenue in 2011. Lucy’s Fried Chicken plans to open in June at 401 E. Whitestone Blvd. A-108, in the the Railyard complex. Holmes will have more details, including opening date, in the weeks to come.

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El Tacorrido opening in North Austin

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The El Tacorrido taqueria is expanding to North Austin with its fourth location. The building, which features a drive-thru, is under construction at the northeast corner of North Loop and Burnet Road.

El Tacorrido at the corner of North Loop and Burnet. (Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

It will join the Rundberg, South First Street and Berkman Drive locations in the taqueria family started about a decade ago by owner Jose De Loera. The Mexican native also owns Takoba, which closed in January but is slated to re-open by the World Cup this spring.

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Hank’s, a casual but sophisticated cafe from Henri’s owners, now open in Windsor Park

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The Windsor Park neighborhood just north of Mueller has a new casual yet sophisticated dining option. Andy Means and Jessie Katz opened Hank’s, a restaurant, bar and coffee shop at 5811 Berkman Drive this week. The restaurant is an evolution of the couple’s former South Lamar Boulevard wine bar, Henri’s.

Fusilli pasta, potatoes, hummus, wood grilled salmon at Hank’s. (Credit: Wynn Myers)

Hank’s serves a selection of burgers, sandwiches (turkey and gruyere, prosciutto and brie) and salads (charred kale, trout and avocado), along with house-made pastas and larger former entrees like fried chicken and wood-grilled salmon. All of the offerings at Hank’s are made in-house, including bread, pasta and pastries, and can be altered to suit vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets upon request. Hank’s also features a kids menu.

Hank’s comes from the owners of the former Henri’s. (Credit: Wynn Meyers)

Hank’s bar menu has expanded from Henri’s, which closed in 2016 following a fire, and includes a full cocktail menu, along with wine and beer. The modern restaurant has a minimalist West Texas aesthetic, with warm wood, wrought iron and decorative succulents, and the space, much larger than that at Henri’s, also includes patio seating and drive-thru service.

“We’re beyond excited to open our doors to Austin in the growing Windsor Park neighborhood,” Katz said. “It was important for us to create an open space where all our guests feel welcome, and we’ve worked to develop a menu everyone can enjoy, with options for health and comfort, work and play.”

Hank’s is open Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.

Food & Wine names Austin restaurant one of 10 Best New Restaurants in America

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The accolades continue to pour in for chefs Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya Matsumoto’s Japanese smokehouse, Kemuri Tatsu-Ya. After landing a spot on my list of best new restaurants last year and a Top 10 ranking in my annual Austin360 Dining Guide, along with a top mention from Bon Appetit, the good-timin restaurant in East Austin was named one of the 10 Best New Restaurants in America by Food & Wine restaurant editor Jordana Rothman. One of her favorite things about the restaurant that mashes up Japanese and Texas cultures? The barbecue ramen, of course:

If there’s one dish that sums up the spirit of Kemuri, it would be the BBQ Tsukemen—springy noodles in one bowl, a thick dipping broth in another. That soup is a three-day labor of love that stacks collagen-rich chicken and pork feet for texture with smoked brisket burnt ends, kombu, and katsuobushi. The result is murky magic that you’ll want to polish off like a shot of whiskey.

Hearts and beef tongue at Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, one of Austin’s best new restaurants. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Kemuri is joined on the list by Better Luck Tomorrow, the Houston bar-restaurant from chef Justin Yu and Texas’ mixology godfather, Bobby Heugel. The rest of Rothman’s exciting list bounces around the country, with welcome nods to places as diverse as Minneapolis, Seattle and Ferndale, Michigan. See the full list here.

The list comes in the middle of a spate of news from the Kemuri owners, who have announced that they have signed a lease on Burnet Road and are going to take over the space on East Sixth Street formerly occupied by Qui.

The magazine last year named June’s All Day one of the country’s best new spots.

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