Home Slice Pizza North Loop now open Tuesdays; online ordering available at both locations

There was a unique frustration when I lived in Rome. You’d get excited about going to lunch, only to arrive and realize that the restaurant was chiuso per giorno di riposo. Closed for a day of rest. I remember it happening a lot on Tuesdays and also on Sundays, obviously. In the always-open United States of America, that is known as the Chick-Fil-A Sunday. You wake up hungover and want a fried chicken sandwich and are all sorts of out of luck (until you remember all of the great fried chicken sandwiches you can get in Austin from local vendors).

A classic mushroom and pepperoni New York City style pizza from Home Slice Pizza. 02/04/15 Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

But, I digress. Maybe out of consideration for its employees or electric bill or maybe simply to take a page out of Italy’s book, Home Slice Pizza has long been closed on Tuesdays. That problem was somewhat alleviated down in South Austin when More Home Slice opened its windows for Tuesday customers. Now, the problem is being solved up north. The new location on North Loop is now open on Tuesdays. And they are celebrating with  all day drink specials on Sept. 25 to Oct. 30, called “3 Cheers for Tuesday!” which includes $3 draft beer pints and glasses of house wine, and $3 off draft cocktails.

And for those of you, like the Twitter follower of mine I can’t seem to locate, who don’t like the zany music-filled hold music you hear when placing a to-go order at Home Slice, you’re in luck. The pizza joint (that also serves some of the best sandwiches in town), now accepts online orders for pick-up. 

Uchi opening its first location outside of Texas in October

One of the standard bearers of refined dining in Austin and throughout Texas has its eyes set beyond the Lone Star State. After opening locations in Dallas and Houston, Austin-based Hai Hospitality is set to open Uchi Denver on October 4. The restaurant will be located on the corner of 25th and Lawrence in S*Park (Sustainability Park), the new sustainability-focused development in Denver’s S*Park (Sustainability Park) neighborhood.

The Uchi Denver opening follows on the heels of the spring opening of Hai Hospitality’s Asian smokehouse Loro, both of which occurred under the leadership of Hai’s CEO Tony Montero, a former regional vice president for Cheesecake Factory who joined the Hai team from Craftworks Restaurants and Breweries, Inc. in the spring of 2017. 

The maguro sashimi dish at Uchi Austin. (Contributed by rica Wilkins)

Diners can expect the a style of menu and service familiar to Uchi and Uchiko guests from a team created by James Beard Award-winner Tyson Cole, including chef de cuisine Brandon Brumback and executive pastry chef Ariana Quant.

Uchi Denver will offer four dishes unique to the new location:  Sake Toro Aburi: (salmon belly, stone fruit, horseradish), Lamb Shoulder (buttered rice, black truffle, smoked kombu), Wagyu (ribeye, cilantro, turnip, applewood) and  Beets (heirloom beets, black sesame, grapefruit, malted barley). Otherwise, the menu, featuring hot and cool tastings, yasaimono, agemono, makimono, and sushi and sashimi, will look familiar to Austin patrons, with dishes like machi cure (a smoked yellowtail served with yucca crisps and marcona almonds), maguro goat cheese (tuna with apple and grated goat cheese) and fried milk (a dessert featuring chocolate ganache, blondie crumble and cocoa tuile).

Unlike the Austin locations, Denver Uchi will feature a greenhouse above the restaurant to source seasonal produce, a collaboration with Altius Farms.

Uchi Denver is now accepting reservations online.

The best pepperoni pizzas in Austin

It’s another fake food holiday; I mean, really, #NationalPepperoniPizza day? Well, whatever. It is one of my favorite pizza orders, though I sometimes get creative.

A pizza from Home Slice Pizza with a large pepperoni heart design. 02/04/15 Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

In the spirit of this day of national recognition, here are my top four pepperoni pizza variations in Austin:

Pepperoni and green peppers at Home Slice (with a side of ranch): That vegetal snap of pepper is a nice balance to the pull of the pepperoni rounds and ooze of cheese.

The Fat Queen at Pieous: A mass of fatty Italian meats – hot sopresatta, savory Italian sausage and crispy pepperoni comingling for a spicy, salty and oily chorus.

The Detroiter at Via 313: So. Much. Cheese. So. Much. Pepperoni. Natural and smoked casings.

The Red Pie add pepperoni at Bufalina: I would say the pepperoni with jalapenos (for same vegetal snap as Home Slice, but with a kick, but since it doesn’t seem to be on the menu right now, I will go with the red pizza, which gets umami from Parmesan, spicy buzz from red pepper flakes, piquancy from garlic, sweetness from tomatoes and herbaceous complexity from oregano).

Cedar Door owners opening Italian-Southern restaurant downtown Friday

Two of the most popular dining trends over the past several years in Austin have been Southern and Italian cuisines. Soon you can get a taste of both under one roof. Longtime Cedar Door owners Steve and Heather Potts will open La Volpe Friday at 201 Brazos St. B, next door to their downtown bar. The restaurant helmed by executive chef Will Eason intends to “blend traditional Italian with ultra-fresh ingredients and Southern flavors.”

Ravioli at La Volpe, which opens Friday. (Credit: The Velox Standard)

Eason got his start in cooking at Revival Grill in Greensboro, North Carolina and eventually made his way to Italian-inspired Second Bar + Kitchen before going to work at the Cedar Door in 2014.

His menu includes fried baby artichokes with shaved fennel and limoncello crema, charred okra with smoked tomato and mustard green purée, white truffle lasagne with porcini mushrooms, ribeye with Texas cabernet compound butter; and a grilled pork chop.

Pastry chef Amanda Neber, a veteran of Olive & June and Foreign & Domestic, has created a menu that includes charred corn panna cotta with cinnamon cornbread croutons; and sweet tea tiramisù.

The bar at La Volpe (meaning “fox” in Italian) features Italian and Texas wines, craft beers, and handcrafted cocktails infused with fresh herbs and spices.

La Volpe is located at 201 Brazos St. Building B. Dinner will be served Tuesday-Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. and until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, with Sunday brunch planned in the coming weeks.

RELATED: Austin360 Dining Guide: The Best Restaurants in Austin

 

Suerte chef collaborating with 40 North Pizza for charity special

What happens when one of the city’s best Mexican chefs joins forces with a rising pizza star? You can find out starting next Monday, as Suerte chef Fermín Nuñez will be the next chef collaborating with 40 North Pizza.

Núñez and chef Clint Elmore of 40 North have created a Mexican-inspired “La Buena” pizza topped with mole amarillo, nduja, pickled carrots, and kale.

Pizza Buena collaboration between chefs Clint Elmore and Fermin Nunez of Suerte. (Contributed)

The pizza, along with a queso fundido baked in 40 North’s wood-fired oven and featuring avocado, oregano, pickled onions, and chile morita, will be available on the menu at 40 North.

The restaurant will host a kick-off pizza party Monday from 6 to 10 p.m., with both chefs in the kitchen collabing on the La Buena and a one-night-only mole negro pizza. The La Buena and special queso fundido will be available for the month of October. As with each of their guest chef collaborations, a small portion of proceeds benefits charity. In this cases, $1 from each pizza sale will be donated to Grassroots Leadership, Núñez’s charity of choice.

40 North is the relatively new brick-and-mortar restaurant at 900 West 10th St. it shares a named with the pizza trailer Elmore previously operated on South First Street that made our Best Pizza in Austin list a few years back.

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Celebrate National Cheeseburger Day with some of Austin’s best burgers

It’s National Cheeseburger Day in ‘Merica. Now, I just turned in my annual dining guide and am hitting the reset button with a juice cleanse, so I hate National Cheeseburger Day this year. However, in honor of this most magnificent fake holiday, I’m re-posting my Best Hamburgers in Austin list from 2015. I’m just posting them in alphabetical order below; so if you want the juicy descriptions of all of them, go read the original story for my rationale and beautiful adjectives and thrilling verbs.

The burger at Odd Duck. (Laura Skelding AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
07/23/15 Laura Skelding/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Dining Guide: Matthew Odam’s Top 25 restaurants in Austin. The green tomato hamburger at Odd Duck.
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Obviously, the original list is a little bit dated. Some of these might not be on my list now, and others would be. I haven’t had time to revisit them all, and the dozens (hundreds?) of places in Austin that serve burgers, but I am going to go ahead and throw in some more favorites from my last few years of dining. The new additions you see below would make the updated list, which I may or may not be currently researching. If you don’t see your favorite, tell me what a dummy I am in the comments section. (I know there are some I must still try. Looking at you, L’Oca d’Oro brunch burger.) Happy National Cheeseburger Day, you animals.

New additions (alphabetically):

Brewer’s Table, Cafe No Se, Casino El Camino, Dai DueDelray Cafe, Garbo’s, Holy RollerJune’s All Day Soursop

2015 List

Six classic burgers for about $6 (alphabetically)

Best veggie burgers

 

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Willie Nelson’s Luck, TX culinary grant will award $5,000 to Texas chef

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Farm-Aid founder and Texas legend Willie Nelson’s annual Luck Reunion has teamed with the Austin Food & Wine Alliance to award a $5,000 culinary grant to a chef “whose inspiration and vision have contributed to the American roots narrative by leaving a distinctive mark on culinary culture.”

Willie Nelson performs at the Luck Reunion on March 16, 2017. Suzanne Cordeiro/FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The grant will be one of six from the Austin Food & Wine Alliance that will distribute $60,000 in support of culinary innovation and community giveback projects in Central Texas. The Alliance awards specific grants each year funded by supporters, and this year’s Willie Nelson’s Luck, TX grant stems from the Luck Reunion, an arts, music, cultural and food event that takes place each year at Nelson’s Luck, Texas.

“Luck Reunion was established to celebrate creative communities influenced by the no-holds-barred, rogue creative culture pioneered by our landlord Willie Nelson; and brought to life in the Texas ‘town’ of Luck,” said Ellee Fletcher, producer of Luck Reunion and Nelson’s great-niece. “This grant will be awarded to a chef whose inspiration and vision have similarly contributed to the American roots narrative by leaving a distinctive mark on culinary culture.”

Grant applications are being accepted through October 12 at austinfoodwinealliance.org. Grant winners will be announced and awarded at a ceremony in early December.     

Previous AFWA grants include the state’s first organic apple orchard (Argus Cidery), the first USDA-inspected salumi producer in Texas (Salt & Time Butcher Shop & Salumeria), the state’s first locally grown and malted barley to support craft beer production (Blacklands Malt), a unique volunteer program teaching farming skills to diverse populations and culinary students (New Farm Institute at Green Gate Farms), Austin’s first and only community-supported bakeshop (Miche Bread) and a Georgetown farm producing stress-free, free-range meat while helping wounded veterans (Snodgrass Farms).