One of Round Rock’s best restaurants opening Georgetown location

Chef Rob Snow’s Greenhouse Craft Food was a breath of fresh culinary air when the farm-to-table cafe opened in Round Rock in 2013. Now the chef, who once served as executive chef at the late Mansion at Judge’s Hill in Austin, will bring a location of his family-friendly counter-service restaurant to Georgetown.

Sandwich at Greenhouse Craft Food in Round Rock. Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Greenhouse Craft Food plans to open at 708 S. Austin Ave. on the square in Georgetown in early November. The space was previously occupied by The Hollow, whose chef Jacob Hilbert has since opened Ramble Restaurant and Farmhouse Grill in Salado. The Georgetown location will feature many of the most popular menu items from the original, in addition to some selections exclusive to the new location.

“At our soon-to-open Georgetown location, our guests can expect to find a particular emphasis on smoked food (think brisket enchiladas), specials (including high-end and early-bird), craft beer (Texas only, of course), milkshakes, and some live music,” Snow said.

More details on Greenhouse Craft Food‘s new Georgetown location, including opening date, menus, and hours, will be announced soon. Stay up to date by following the restaurant on Facebook.

 

Pizzeria and bar coming to Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar complex

Just a few weeks after opening the market, cafe and bar called Artista Rosso, the owners of that business have their eyes on another project in the same complex.

The former Vox Table space will be the home of South End Connection Pizza & Bar. (Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

South End Connection Pizza & Bar will take the place of the former Vox Table in the Lamar Union complex. The pizzeria and bar, which management hopes to open by November 1, will set up shop directly across from the Alamo Drafthouse, which serves plenty of pizzas already. Artista Rosso and South End Connection Pizza & Bar are both operated by the owner of Barley Bean.

South End plans to serve dinner Tuesday-Sunday with daytime service on the weekend.

Recently closed Frisco holding online auction

Looking for a gift for your favorite line cook or nostalgic Austinite? This auction might be right in your wheelhouse. The Frisco, which recently closed on Burnet Road after more than six decades in business, is holding an online auction. The list of items up for bidding include the practical (grills, freezer, sinks, et al) and, probably of greater interest to most Austinites, memorabilia like menus, hat racks, an oil painting, malt glasses a six-foot metal rooster and more. The auction ends on September 11

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The Frisco on Burnet Road. (AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Roster of all-star female chefs teaming for benefit dinner at Parkside

Parkside will host a five-course dinner prepared by a roster of some of Austin’s top female chefs on September 25. The dinner, which costs $85, will benefit the scholarship program of the Austin chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier.

Participating chefs include Jennifer Nguyen (parkside), Juliann Stoddart (Parkside Projects), Jo Chan (Eberly), Lindsay Flagg (South Congress Hotel), Bonnie Wright (Olamaie), Natalie Gazaui (Ramen Tatsu-ya), Abby Love (L’Oven), Sarah Heard (Foreign & Domestic), and Kendall Antonelli (Antonelli’s Cheese). Each of the chefs will create a dish inspired by a strong woman in their lives. The dinner will be preceded by a cocktail hour featuring craft cocktails from Tara Davies (Parkside) and Tacy Rowlands (Midnight Cowboy), and the meal’s wine service will be spearheaded by sommelier Krista Church (Eberly).

“This dinner is about bringing a community of stellar women together to create an evening of excellence unparalleled to anything else we have had here in Austin,” Stoddart said.

The dinner, which takes place on the second floor of Parkside (301 E. Sixth St.), runs from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online here.

 

Famous Houston po’ boys are coming to Austin and Central Texas

If you grew up in Houston or have spent any amount of time there, you are likely familiar with Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys. The deli and its wholesale operation serves Italian cold cut combo (ham and salami) sandwiches on soft hoagie rolls made by Royal Bakery in Houston. The Original sandwich is brushed with mayonnaise and topped with pickles, Provolone cheese and the deli’s famous chow chow relish, which they sell by the jar. The Super follows the same blueprint but doubles down on meat and cheese.

Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys Super. (Contributed)

Not only can you find the sandwiches at two delis and some grab-and-go kiosks in Houston, they are available at 250 locations throughout Texas and Louisiana. Now Austin will one again get a taste of those sweet, sweet Original (green wrapper) and Super Original po’ boys (red wrapper), as well as the turkey and Swiss (brown wrapper) and tuna varieties (blue wrapper).

Beginning Aug. 31, Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys will begin selling its four signature sandwiches at grocery stores in Austin and the surrounding areas. The first Austin-area stores will have their shipment Friday, with plans for the sandwiches to be available in all 48 Austin-area H-E-B by Saturday.  The company plans to hit shelves at more than 60 area stores by the end of 2018. You will originally be able to find the sandwiches, which will be made in Houston and delivered overnight to Central Texas, at H-E-B locations in Central Texas, with expansion headed to San Marcos, Wimberley, La Grange, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Round Rock, Dripping Springs and Pflugerville. (Yes, day-old sandwiches aren’t quite as good as freshly made, but beggars can’t be choosers, I reckon.)

Antone’s was previously distributed by a licensee, who also briefly operated a storefront, in Austin at Randall’s and Exxon beginning in 1999.

Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys was originally opened in Houston by Lebanese immigrant Jalal Antone in 1962. Legacy Restaurants, which bought the brand in 2015, is also exploring further expansion of its wholesale business into other regions including North Texas and San Antonio.

 

“We are extremely excited to bring Antone’s classic sandwiches into the Central Texas market,” Legacy Restaurants CEO Jonathan Horowitz said. “There are so many people from Houston who grew up eating these sandwiches and who now live in the area – we get calls and emails weekly from fans who ask us if we can send them some sandwiches. Now they will have the opportunity to enjoy them whenever they have a craving. We look forward to continuing our growth through expansion into new markets next year.”

This post has been updated to include arrival of sandwiches in Austin market. 

EXCLUSIVE: Familiar Austin faces buy Sweetish Hill, announce plans for bakery’s future

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A new school titan of the Austin restaurant world is taking over an old-school classic. The McGuire Moorman Hospitality group has purchased beloved Clarksville-area Sweetish Hill Bakery (1120 W. Sixth St.) from Jim Murphy, with the sale slated to close in early September.

Sweetish Hill Bakery was founded in 1975. (Mark Matson FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

The owners of Jeffrey’s, Clark’s, Perla’s (and more) will close the doors for remodeling on September 8 and plan to fully reopen by Christmas under the moniker Swedish Hill Bakery Cafe & Deli. The new spelling is a slight rebrand and nod to the Swede’s Hill neighborhood where Patricia Bauer-Slate and Tom Neuhaus originally opened the business at 14th and Waller streets in 1975.

The new Swedish Hill will serve as the bakery for all seven of MMH’s Austin-area restaurants and also operate a retail bakery offering savory and sweet items, a wine bar, and deli serving prepared foods and made-to-order sandwiches. There are also plans to serve bagels and smoked fish spreads (initially probably only on weekends). And, yes, there will still be three dozen parking spaces on site. 

MMH co-founder and native Austinite Larry McGuire points to the business models and offerings of Gjelina in Los Angeles and Russ & Daughters in New York City as inspirations for the concept that will expand on the bakery that Jim Murphy has owned,initially with Bauer-Slate, since 1990.

McGuire, who grew up in the Travis Heights neighborhood and has fond memories of his family buying Italian cream cakes from Sweetish Hill for birthdays, said his business needed a centralized bakery for its wide assortment of baked goods and that purchasing Sweetish Hill and the land on which it sits would allow them to help preserve a bit of Austin and what makes the city cool.

“If we didn’t buy it, somebody was gonna build an apartment complex,” McGuire said.

The bakery, which will bake the San Francisco-style sourdough for Clark’s, the laminated doughs and baguettes for Elizabeth Street Cafe and much more, will be under the direction of chefs and MMH partners Alex Manley and Jennifer Tucker.

Sweetish Hill co-founder Patricia Bauer-Slate and Jim Murphy at Sweetish Hill Bakery in 2005. Mark Matson FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN

After baking in Houston and New York City, Murphy returned to Austin and became the bakery manager at Sweetish Hill in 1988 and a partner in 1990. The bakery, which relocated to the current Clark’s space on West Sixth street in the late 70s, moved across the street to its current location in 1991. Murphy, who helped found the Bread Bakers Guild of America in the 90s, bought out Bauer-Slate’s interest about 10 years ago.

After more than 40 years of keeping baker’s hours, trying to stay afloat in an increasingly expensive city while catering to an aging customer base, and paying fair wages and keeping prices affordable, Murphy said he is ready for a change.

“It’s something we’ve worked hard it. It’s a tough business. It’s a people business. You have to really like it,” Murphy said. “Ultimately, I’m a baker first. And I think the bakery business all over the world is evolving more and more to restaurants and cafes. I don’t want to be in the restaurant business.”

Friendly neighborhood service and cakes like their legendary Dutch chocolate and the fruit-filled holiday cakes have made Murphy and Sweetish Hill a Clarksville-area institutions for decades. And as word has leaked out in recent weeks, many longtime customers have come by the bakery to say thank you to Murphy and pay their respects.  

“It’s just been great to have such loyal customers,” Murphy said.

While he is ready for the change of pace, and to get out from under the soaring property taxes, Murphy, who took about a month to come around to the idea of selling, admits he still has brief moments of doubt.

“Some days I almost wake up with a panic attack, thinking, ‘Gah, what am i doing?’” Murphy said.

What he’ll be doing in the future is consulting, working on projects and maybe teaching classes as Barton Springs Mill. He’ll also help the MMH team get the bakery up and running once construction, which includes expanding into the adjacent Pause & Imagine dress shop, is completed.

Murphy, who along with his partners has always been steadfast about sourcing locally, avoiding trans fats and using unbleached flour, felt it was important that the brand he and Bauer-Slate worked so hard to cultivate remain in good hands. And he believes that McGuire Moorman will honor their legacy.

This is not MMH’s first time to take over a historic brand and space. The company known for its keen attention to detail and stunning aesthetics and branding revamped 80s and 90s icon Jeffrey’s in 2013. McGuire sees his role in taking over the popular neighborhood bakery in the same light, and appreciates the responsibility of polishing a classic brand and carrying it into the future.

“I’ve been through this a bunch before; it’s a valid concern,” McGuire said of people worried about losing their favorite bakery. “We’re trying to open the best thing we can open. My job is to set them up for the next 30 or 40 years. That’s our goal.”

Bánh mì wizards Saigon le Vendeur open food truck downtown

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The makers of the best bánh mì in the city have dispatched a new food truck to feed downtown denizens on weekdays. Saigon le Vendeur, which I ranked as the best makers of Vietnamese sandwiches last year, recently opened a food truck in the lot at Congress Avenue and Third Street.

Ralph Barrera/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The truck, which makes pork, chicken and tofu sandwiches on French bread, is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday. Chef Tebi Nguyen, owner of the food truck that originated on East Seventh Street, also opened Vietnamese cafe Le Bleu near Burnet Road and Research Boulevard earlier this summer.