Peached Tortilla and JuiceLand now open at Austin airport; East Side Pies coming next year

Your time at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport just got a little tastier (and healthier). Asian-Southern fusion restaurant Peached Tortilla and JuiceLand officially open today at Gate 7 at the airport. Peached Tortilla will serve the fusion tacos, bowls and burger that has made their brick-and-mortar and truck locations such a hit, and JuiceLand will bring organic juice, smoothies and vegan grab-and-go food to travelers. No official hours for the businesses have been announced, but with Peached Tortilla getting into the breakfast taco game for the first time and JuiceLand known for their juices and smoothies, expect morning to evening hours.

JuiceLand at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. (Contributed)

“I have always had the dream of putting Peached Tortilla into the airport. It’s been a goal of mine since before I even moved to Austin. To me, your brand has arrived when you open at the airport,” Peached Tortilla owner Eric Silverstein said. “We are tied to other tremendous local brands like JuiceLand, Tacodeli, East Side Pies and Amy’s. A manager referred to the new area of the airport we are in as Austin 2.0. In many ways it is. When you land at the airport you now get a sense for what Austin is all about: unique food concepts with an attention towards taste and an overall experience.”

The two locally owned businesses join fellow Austin businesses Annie’s Cafe & Bar, Maudie’s Tex-Mex, Second Bar + Kitchen and others. Additionally, East Side Pies announced yesterday on Facebook that they would be joining the local food options at the airport, with plans to open in the terminal early next year.

Where to eat at ABIA

Gate 5

Fig + Plum: Tacos and cocktails

Saxon Pub: A whiff of that old South Austin vibe along with burgers and beer.

Between Gate 6 and 7

Plane Box Food Co.: Grab-and-go sandwiches.

Second Bar + Kitchen: One of Austin’s leaders in upmarket New American. And a craft cocktail before a flight is never a bad idea.

Gate 7

Auntie Anne’s: Carb delights.

JuiceLand: Organic juice, fresh smoothies and grab-and-go vegan food from an Austin original.

Peached Tortilla: Asian and Southern flavors blend in bowls, tacos and more.

Gate 8

Hippies & Hops: A bar featuring Live Oak beers, as well as some national brands and wine by the glass.

Gate 10

Ray Benson’s Roadhouse: Load up with burgers, hot dogs and a pulled pork sandwich at this comfort spot that features live music.

Austin Java & JuiceLand: Coffee to-go and a refrigerated case of cold-pressed juices from Austin’s number one name in juice.

Salt Lick Taco Bar: Brisket tacos. That’s pretty Austin.

Gate 12

Amy’s Ice Creams: Fill your orbs of ice cream with a variety of crush-ins.

The Salt Lick Bar-B-Que: Get covered in sticky barbecue sauce from the Hill Country legend.

Maudie’s Tex-Mex: Nachos before take-off? Or, even better, nachos during take-off?

Schlotzsky’s Deli & Cinnabon:  Lunch meats and sweet cinnamon rolls? A match made in airport heaven.

Gate 13

Vino Volo: Pinkies out and glasses up at this wine bar.

Gate 15

Austin Java Coffee: Nobody wants to fall asleep on the person next to them on the plane.

Earl Campbell’s Sports Bar: Sports bars and sausage wraps courtesy of The Tyler Rose.

Gate 18

Annie’s Café & Bar: Probably your healthiest bet at the airport, from salads to sandwiches and a variety of prepared foods.

Gate 19

Ruta Maya Café: Organic coffee and pastries from an Austin original

ThunderCloud Subs: Get the Office Favorite (egg salad with bacon) at this Austin institution.

Gate 20

Ivini’s Italian: Pizza, pasta and wine. Like an Italian sidewalk café but in the airport.

Pizza specialists 40 North opens today on Lamar Boulevard

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Clint Elmore made our list of the best pizza places in Austin in 2015, but his 40 North trailer closed shortly thereafter. Elmore joined the team that operated the short-lived PS35 in Round Rock and now returns to the Austin scene with a brick-and-mortar version of the trailer that made him popular.

Credit: Nicolai McCrary

40 North, which opens today at 11 a.m., is located at 900 W. 10th St. in the old Bacon space and focuses on wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas, with a menu that includes the Hot Honey (tomato sauce, ricotta, coppa, parmesan, fresno, charred scallion, Mike’s Hot Honey), The Barbe (tomato sauce, fennel sausage, coppa, red onion, chili, parmesan, basil), The Queen (tomato sauce, mozzarella, pecorino, basil) and others.

In addition to his excellent Neapolitan pizzas, Elmore’s 40 North also serves a porchetta sandwich, hamburger, vegetable-driven small plates, salads and more, with Elmore focusing on sustainability and quality by sourcing locally.

“The overall vibe and menu will feel very familiar to fans of the trailer, but I’m excited to branch out and expand the menu a bit. We’re laid back, welcoming, a little rough around the edges. It’s a neighborhood pizza joint – a place you want to frequent multiple times a week… meet up with friends and linger over a bottle or three of wine,” Elmore said.

40 North is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.


2.12.2015: The best pizza in Austin

Texas French Bread heightens its ambitions with new executive chef Max Mackinnon

Texas French Bread has elevated its ambitions. The Austin staple owned by Murph Willcott has offered regular dinner service for about seven years, but with the hiring of new executive chef Max Mackinnon, the restaurant that opened its original location in 1981 under the stewardship of Willcott’s parents, Judy and Paul, has signaled that it has grown more intent on becoming a serious player in Austin’s dining scene.

Chilled carrot and avocado salad with spiced carrot puree, cilantro and pecan from Texas French Bread. (Contributed by Ilana Panich-Linsman)

“In so many ways, Texas French Bread feels like a natural fit, and my general feeling as the incoming chef is that the food should not feel like a tremendous departure from the fresh, seasonal menu that Texas French Bread has offered in recent years,” Mackinnon said. “Rather, my focus will be on developing the culinary team and making sure that up and down the line, we have the skills to execute core bistro techniques that can elevate a very simple dish into something truly and consistently special.”

Mackinnon’s seasonal and ingredient-driven menu currently includes dishes like chicken country pâté, chilled carrot and avocado salad with spiced carrot purée, tagliatelle with Gulf shrimp and pompano with charred cabbage, a dish reminiscent of that which Mackinnon cooked for Willcott during a dress rehearsal dinner for the role.

“I like simple, humble, restrained but really well-executed food, and I feel like I speak the same language as those guys,” said Willcott, who points to Montreal bistro L’Express as the template for the consistency of quality he’d like his restaurant to emulate under Mackinnon.

The chef joins Texas French Bread following a quick stint back home in Vermont, where he first came to national attention as the executive chef of Pistou, a restaurant that earned him a James Beard semifinalist nod for Best New Restaurant in America directly out of culinary school at the former French Culinary Institute in New York.

Judy Willcott opened the campus-area location of Texas French Bread in 1987. (Contributed by Ilana Panich-Linsman)

After leaving his home state, Mackinnon worked at esteemed restaurants in Copenhagen and Washington before helping San Francisco restaurant Mason Pacific earn Bib Gourmand honors from the Michelin Guide.

Mackinnon is joined at the restaurant by his wife, a longtime Texas French Bread regular and former wine rep, Carenn Jackson, who will serve as the restaurant’s general manager and beverage director.

Where to eat Mother’s Day brunch in Austin in 2018

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Mom deserves a special brunch every weekend. But, if you don’t step it on one weekend in particular, you may be the deserved recipient of a little bit of maternal side-eye. Mother’s Day is one of the biggest dining events of the year, and many Austin restaurants will roll out the red carpet for Mom on May 13, with prix fixe menus and specials like free bubbles.

For more Austin restaurants, including my Top 25 (most of which serve brunch), visit

Chilaquiles (and massages) will be on the brunch menu at Native on Mother’s Day. (Contributed)

Apis Restaurant & Apiary. 23526 Texas 71, Spicewood. 512-436-8918, The Hill Country destination restaurant will serve a prix fixe brunch that includes choices like egg toast, Spanish octopus and a lamb tasting. Cost is $64 for adults and $25 for children.

Aviary Wine & Kitchen. 2110 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-916-4445, The bistro will give all moms a free bottle of bubbles to accompany a brunch menu that includes steak and eggs, smoked fish toast and oysters.

Backyard at Waller Creek. 701 E. 11th St. 512-478-1111, Let your kids cook for you. The al fresco restaurant at the Sheraton near the Texas Capitol will team mom’s little ones with a member of the culinary team to create a brunch of omelettes, waffles and more. Cost is $30 for adults and $15 for children.

Cafe Blue. 12800 Hill Country Blvd., G-115. 512-366-5230, The restaurant at the Hill Country Galleria will service a brunch that includes shrimp cocktail, blueberry pancakes, migas and more. Cost is $39.95 for adults and $15.95 for kids 12 and younger.

Cannon & Belle. 500 E. Fourth St. 512-493-4900, The restaurant at the Hilton will serve a brunch buffet with options like an eggs Benedict station, charbroiled chicken, and red velvet cupcakes. The cost is $48 for adults, $19 for children ages 6-12, and free for kids under the age of 6. The restaurant will also offer a Bloody Mary Flight.

Carillon. 1900 University Ave. 512-404-3655, The fine dining restaurant at the AT&T Hotel & Conference Center on the University of Texas campus will host a brunch buffet that includes shrimp campechana, grilled lamb chops and a prime rib carving station. Cost is $68 for adults and $30 for children. Kids 5 and younger eat free.

Chicon. 1914 E. Sixth St. 512-354-1480, The handsome sister restaurant to Contigo serves a three-course family-style meal that includes migas, pork Benedict and avocado toast. Cost is $25 for adults and $15 for kids.

Driskill Grill. 604 Brazos St. 512-391-7162, The Austin classic serves a brunch buffet spread that includes salmon charcuterie, Texas waffle bar and a host of treats from the 1886 Cafe & Bakery. Cost is $89 for adults, $46 for children. Bottomless mimosas available for $20.

Duchman Family Winery. 13308 FM 150. 512-858-1470, The Hill Country winery will serve a family-style brunch that includes brie and spinach frittata, grilled beef tenderloin and bread pudding. Cost is $50 for adults and $15 for children.

Geraldine’s. 605 Davis St. 512-476-4755, The restaurant that doubles as a music venue hosts a jazz brunch with a soul-inspired menu that includes pork and grits, a Cuban Benedict and honey bun.

Jeffrey’s. 1204 W. Lynn St. 512-477-5584, The luxe brunch spread includes seafood tower, prime rib-eye, truffled deviled eggs and more. Cost is $85 per person.

Josephine House. 1601 Waterston Ave. 512-477-5584, The prix fixe menu at Jeffrey’s kid sister includes huevos rancheros, cured salmon and avocado toast and a rice bowl. Cost is $50.

Juniper. 2400 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-220-9421, Juniper has gotten out of the brunch game in lieu of Sunday dinner, but they will roll their brunch back out for this special holiday. From 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. the upscale Italian restaurant will serve a menu that includes lasagna; bombolini with milk jam, mascarpone, and lemon ash; and kolache with strawberry, ricotta and pistachio.

L’Oca d’Oro. 1900 Simond Ave. 737-212-1876, Chef Fiore Tedesco takes inspiration from his grandmother’s kitchen for this brunch themed “Just Like Someone’s Ma Used to Make.” The meal will be served from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., with a menu that includes meatballs marinara, crab bucatini and chicken parmigiana. Cost is $45 for adults and $20 for kids ages 3-12.

Lamberts Downtown Barbecue. 401 W. Second St. 512-494-1500, The downtown barbecue restaurant from McGuire Moorman Hospitality will serve a barbecue brunch buffet with options that include brown sugar-and-coffee-rubbed brisket, breakfast sausage and eggs to order. Cost is $50 for adults and $25 for kids=.

Native. 807 E. Fourth St. 512-551-9947, In addition to a new brunch with dishes like fried chicken eggs Benedict, duck confit with watermelon and herb salad, and peach French toast, the upscale hostel will also offer live music, flowers and massages for Mom between noon and 4 p.m.

Peached Tortilla. 5520 Burnet Road, No. 100. 512-330-4439, The restaurant that blends Asian and Southern flavors will serve a prix fixe menu for $40.

Second Bar + Kitchen Domain Northside. 3121 Palm Way, No. 101. 737-300-4800, Chef David Bull’s restaurant serves a family-style brunch with options like roasted beet and citrus salad, rib-eye loin station and charcuterie bar. Cost is $48 for adults and $24 for children.

Vista Brewing. 13551 FM 150. 512-766-1842, The Driftwood brewery celebrates its grand opening with brunch May 12-13, along with live music and pop-up shops from local vendors.

Watch: Recap of Rock Your Taco at Austin Food & Wine Festival

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More than a dozen chefs from around the country competed for taco supremacy at Austin Food &Wine Festival’s Rock Your Taco event Saturday night at Fair Market. Check out the highlights in the video.

Chef Amanda Freitag poses with her lechon de coco taco during the Austin Food and Wine Festival’s Rock Your Taco celebrity chef showdown on Saturday April 28, 2018, in Austin. (Rodolfo Gonzalez FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN)


Austin Food & Wine Festival: Chatting with Brooklyn’s Billy Durney about Texas and barbecue

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We headed up to Brooklyn last year to check in on their much-discussed barbecue scene. The only place we visited that would’ve cracked the Top 10 in Austin? Billy Durney’s Hometown Bar-B-Que in Red Hook. We chatted with the barbecue cook at the Austin Food & Wine Festival.

A pig cooks on a rotisserie during the Austin Food & Wine Festival. (Nick Wagner AMERICAN-STATESMAN)


John Mueller Black Box BBQ celebrates anniversary Sunday with free barbecue

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The Dark Prince of Texas barbecue has a soft side, it seems. John Mueller is getting nostalgic this weekend and hosting Tonto Fest, a party to celebrate his Black Box BBQ trailer’s first year in business in Georgetown (and his love for his new metal tomahawk). Following the conclusion of regular service at 2 p.m., Mueller will smoke a half cow with Jim Buchanan of Buck’s BBQ in Houston. The event takes place during the weekend-long Red Poppy Festival in downtown Georgetown.

John Mueller loading the pit at his old trailer on South First Street in 2012. (Ralph Barrera AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

The men, who will be joined by special guests like Bill Kerlin of Kerlin BBQ, John Brotherton of Black Iron Eats and some other unannounced barbecue stars from Central Texas, will hand out the smoked meat, along with St. Arnold’s Beer and Tito’s Vodka. Mueller will also be mic’d up for some color(ful) commentary and a taping of the Tales from the Pits podcast. John Mueller’s Black Box BBQ is located at 201 E. 9th St. in downtown Georgetown.