Zilker-area restaurants donating portion of Sunday sales to park improvement campaign

If you haven’t heard, Austin’s beloved Zilker Park turns 100 this year, and the celebrations kick off on Sunday, April 9 with the park’s first-ever free day. That’s right—you get free access to Barton Springs Pool, the Austin Nature and Science Center, the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum, Zilker Botanical Garden and the Zilker Zephyr all day Sunday.

Color is bright and bold at the Chuy’s on Barton Springs Road, a longtime Austin favorite that is growing nationally.
Chuy’s flagship location on Barton Springs Road.

Zilker-area restaurants are getting in on the action, too: Several restaurants on Barton Springs Road will donate a portion of the day’s sales to the Zilker 100 campaign, which will help fund future improvements in the park. Participating restaurants include Chuy’s, Shady Grove, JuiceLand, Sno-Beach, SquareRut Kava bar, and Juliet. Trudy’s trailer will also be participating by giving out free waters per purchase for guests to take along as they enjoy Free Day activities.

RELATED: Zilker Park celebrates 100th birthday this year

PHOTOS: Zilker Park turns 100

Brisket wars: Salt Lick ranked higher than Franklin on list of best barbecue joints

You’ve heard the Franklin hype. It’s been lauded by the New York Times, NPR, the New York Times again and countless tourists claiming it’s the best barbecue they’ve ever had. The owner, Aaron Franklin, is even launching his own festival this year. People have gotten married in the famous long line. Bill Murray stopped by, and former President Barack Obama and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay even got to skip the line (sorry, Kanye). But as internet commenters will be quick to tell you, it’s widely disputed as the best barbecue in Austin.

(Ralph Barrera/American-Statesman)

READ: Forget the Franklin Barbecue hype, here’s the facts

Southern Living’s “South’s best” rankings were released last week, and the famed Austin barbecue landed the No. 8 spot on the magazine’s list of the best barbecue joints in the South—two spots below Salt Lick BBQ. The barbecue joint in Driftwood isn’t without its famous friends, either—Neil Patrick Harris is fond of the restaurant.

But there’s no need to argue about which is the best in Austin, or even Texas: The real question here is why barbecue joints from Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee were ranked higher on the list than Texas—those are fighting words.

RELATED: Central Texas’ Best Barbecue from the 2016 Austin360 Dining Guide


Kesos Taco House closing South Congress location next week

The same day beloved taco joint Maria’s Taco Xpress announced an impending closure, another South Austin favorite also announced it’s closing its doors.

The original Kesos Taco House on South Congress will close Friday, March 3, the restaurant announced on Instagram.

Grilled shrimp tacos from Kesos Taco House. Photo by @austin.afire
Grilled shrimp tacos from Kesos Taco House. Photo by @austin.afire

The restaurant was unable to extend its lease at the 4720 South Congress Ave. location, according to the message from Chief Executive Officer Jhonatan Aldama.

The Kesos Taco House at 600 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. will remain open, and the restaurant will shift its focus to that location, which has been in business for more than a year. The restaurant will soon be selling beer and liquor and is working to extend its hours.

The restaurant thanked its customers for their support during the South Congress location’s three years in business:

“Thank you so much for all the love and support you have given us since we opened our doors back in 2014. Every single one of you has made our journey amazing, and we hope to continue seeing all of y’all at our other location, and at our future locations to come. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause for any of you taco loves, but rest assure Kesos Taco House will continue to grow, and we hope to relocate this original location in the near future. Also, stay tuned for other exciting news we have in store.”


Launderette offering free birthday cake ice cream sandwiches Sunday

It’s Launderette’s second birthday, and the East Austin restaurant is offering one of its most popular desserts for free for Sunday dinner patrons.

According to a release from the restaurant, Launderette will offer diners free birthday cake ice cream sandwiches from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. One “slice of cake” will be offered to each guest eating dinner at the restaurant Sunday.

Matthew Odam describes the dessert as “bite-size birthday cake ice cream sandwiches that taste like Mexican sheet cake ice cream wedged between soft layers of cookie dough” in his 2015 review of the restaurant.

Launderette is offering free birthday cake ice cream sandwiches Sunday for its two-year anniversary.
Launderette is offering free birthday cake ice cream sandwiches Sunday for its two-year anniversary. Contributed by Launderette