Gino’s East on Sixth Street temporarily closed for remodeling

Update: An earlier version of this blog stated that ATX Brands owned the Scoot Inn, but the Statesman’s Gary Dinges reported this afternoon that C3 Presents have purchased the historic venue.

Despite the mentions on various websites, the darkened space and even the restaurant’s own website labeling the restaurant as closed, Gino’s East owner Doug Guller says the Austin branch of the Chicago pizza chain is only temporarily closed. In an email to the Statesman, Guller said the restaurant is shuttered while undergoing renovations.

ATX Brands owner Doug Guller at the Scoot Inn. (Kelly West/AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Gino’s East opened on Sixth Street in 2015, and Guller says he hopes to have the restaurant back open around the end of August. Guller’s ATX Brands also owns and operates Pelon’s Tex-Mex, Bikini Sports Bar & Grill and more.


P. Terry’s owners to open taco concept, Taco Ranch, in Southwest Austin

P.Terry’s founders Patrick and Kathy Terry hope to do for the taco stand what they did for the fast-food burger when they opened their first drive-thru 12 years ago. The couple plans to open Taco Ranch in Southwest Austin later this year in a former Burger King at MoPac Boulevard and U.S. 290 (5033 U.S. 290 W.).

While they are still finalizing a menu, Patrick Terry said Taco Ranch will rely on the same elements that have made P.Terry’s such a success: quality (humanely raised meats, organic eggs, etc.), value and convenience. Everything in the restaurant will be made from scratch, including both flour and corn tortillas, salsas, guacamole and queso.

“I’m astounded when I go to a taco stand and pay $3.50-$4 for a taco and I know the tortilla came out of a package,” Terry said. “Clearly there are a lot of people doing it very successfully, so I don’t question that, and I give them all the credit in the world. But we’re going to make it as hard on ourselves as possible, as we always do.”

Patrick Terry and his wife, Kathy, hope to do for tacos what they did for hamburgers.
(Ricardo B. Brazziell AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Terry and his wife have been testing recipes in their kitchen and turning to many of their 500 P. Terry’s employees for ideas. The hope, as with P. Terry’s, is to deliver restaurant-quality food at a low price point that makes it accessible to pretty much everyone.

“It will be reminiscent of taco stands, again, from the early ’60s. A very simple menu. It’s not going to be hard to figure out, and I’m hoping that everyone will be surprised by the quality, the taste and the price,” Terry said.

The restaurant, which will be designed by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture, will feature a dining room, patio and drive-thru, and with Hsu involved, don’t expect it to look anything like a Burger King. Taco Ranch will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night. As for future expansion, Terry says that they are currently only focused on one location.  

“The smartest thing we ever did was that we never looked beyond the first one,” Terry said of the process he followed in opening his original burger drive-thru on South Lamar Boulevard.


Alex Manley bagel pop-up at Small Victory cocktail bar Sunday

An afternoon and evening bagel pop-up at a cocktail bar? Why not? Chef Alex Manley, formerly of Bufalina and the McGuire Moorman Hospitality empire continues her bagel pop-up series Sunday at the intimate cocktail bar Small Victory.

Manley will serve a variety of her boiled and wood-fired bagels, including a whole wheat bagel made from grains milled at Barton Springs Mill, along with housemade schmears and cured and smoked fish from Joseph Galindo of Lambert’s. Making this pop-up a little different will be the drink program. Small Victory wizard Josh Loving will pair the creations with a slew of drink options, including vodka & aquavit, Trader Vic Rum punch and Bloody Marys. The bar will also serve sparkling wine & rosé at happy hour prices.

The pop-up runs from 3 to 9 p.m. at the bar tucked into the parking garage (old schoolers will remember it as the old Mike’s Pub) at 108 E. Seventh St.

Drew Brees and New Orleans Saints quarterbacks compete for Salt Lick BBQ

How do you break up the monotony of NFL training camp? If you’re Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, you put a little something on the line and get competitive. The Westlake High School graduate and Super Bowl MVP is featured in a new video on the Saints website in which he and the rest of the QB depth chart (and some coaches) compete for Salt Lick BBQ. Each participant gets to pick a target at which to throw. Each target represents different meats. The pork ribs get a lot of attention from the native Austinite, as well as University of Missouri graduate and fellow Texan Chase Daniel. Check out the video and see who walked away with which meats. I’ll give you a hint: one of them is a future Hall of Famer for a reason.

Watch the video: Saints QB Challenge 

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Porter Ale House on South First Street closed

Porter Ale House, known for its burgers, beer and slick bar snacks, has closed at 3715 S. First Street after about three-and-a-half years in business, according to its Facebook page. Located underneath the Tree Condominiums, Porter was opened in January 2014 by Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort veterans Joe Bixel, Neil Joiner and Trevor Lane.

Maggie Nemser (left), Porter co-owner Trevor Lane (center) and Jeffrey Zurofsky (right) on Bravo TV’s “Best New Restaurant.” (Credit: Rick Kern / Bravo)

“Special thanks to all of the great people who have worked so hard to help us realize our dream,” the Facebook post read in part. “We are very sad to have to close our doors. We will be seeing you again soon as we have other projects in the works.”

Joiner posted a comment in addendum to the original post requesting Porter fans visit him at his German-style food truck, The Black Forest, at Live Oak Brewing Company.


Eater restaurant critic names Austin restaurant one of country’s 12 best new restaurants

Eater critic Bill Addison travels the country all year looking for the best the nation’s restaurants have to offer. His annual assessment of the best new restaurants in America this year includes a unique Austin restaurant that hybridizes Japanese and Central Texas traditions. When he first looked at the menu at the izakaya-smokehouse Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, Addison thought, “Welcome to Gimmick Town.”

Brisket at Kemuri. (Credit: Ricardo B. Brazziell)

Then he tried the mash-up of East and West in dishes like octopus fritters with chili and poke with guacamole and thought, “Genius.” Read what else he had to say about the restaurant from chefs Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya “Tako” Matsumoto. This is the second time this year that Kemuri has received praise from a national publication. GQ’s Brett Martin named it one of the country’s 10 best new restaurants in April.

Xochi, the new Oaxaca-inspired restaurant from recent James Beard winner Hugo Ortega of Houston, was the only other Texas restaurant to make the list.


Franklin Barbecue closing for 10-day summer vacation after this weekend

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If you were hoping to stand in a long line (or, maybe take advantage of the hot weather and summer evacuation of the city to find a shorter-than-normal line) at Franklin Barbecue, you’ll need this information: After business on Sunday, the restaurant operated by James Beard Award-winner Aaron Franklin will close for its annual summer vacation. Franklin Barbecue will be closed from August 1-10. It is one of the few times each year the East 11th Street restaurant closes, the other three centering around the Texas Monthly Barbecue Festival, Thanksgiving and Halloween.

Aaron Franklin opened Franklin’s Barbecue in East Austin with his wife in March 2011. (RESHMA KIRPALANI / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)