Ah, traditions: buying the turkey; anxiously cooking the turkey in hopes it doesn’t dry out; fighting over whose stuffing recipe to use; fidgeting about who should carve the turkey; lying about how good your mother-in-law’s pie tastes. What would we do without the rituals that surround Thanksgiving? Maybe just call a professional.
This year, more so than any I can remember in Austin, there is a staggering number of restaurants offering up their services for Thanksgiving. They are selling to-go meals that take the stress off of you, saving you time and allowing you the opportunity to watch more football. I mean, spend more stress-free time with loved ones. Call or email the restaurants for more details about pricing and information on ordering and pick-up. Gobble, gobble.
Apis. 23526 Texas 71, Spicewood. 512-436- 8918, apisrestaurant.com. This Spicewood gem is selling Thanksgiving meals to pick up on November 22 or 23. The packages cost $275, feed up to 10 people and include one whole roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, turkey leg hash, cranberry sauce, turkey gravy and two pies.
Boiler Nine Bar + Grill. 800 W. Cesar Chavez St. 512-220-9990, boilernine.com. The industrial restaurant built in the old Seaholm Power Plant has introduced a new Thanksgiving To-Go program. Thanksgiving meals are available for pre-order through November 15 (with rush ordering through the 17th). Whole meals can be purchased for two ($70), four ($130) and eight ($240). A la carte offerings include meats by the pound ($19), such as smoke roasted turkey breast and beer-braised brisket, and 16-ounce containers of sides, such as roasted Brussels sprouts and oak-roasted carrots, for $9.
Easy Tiger. The bakery located on East Sixth Street and at the Whole Foods 365 in Cedar Park is selling pull-apart dinner rolls ($8/dozen) and croutons made of levain and sourdough bread ($4/14-ounce bag) for the big day. Orders must be placed two days in advance of pick up, with ordering ending at 5 p.m. on November 20. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512-986-7872 for more information on ordering from the Whole Foods 365 store and email email@example.com or call 512-614-4972 for downtown orders.
El Chipiron.2717 S. Lamar Blvd. #1085. 512-518-3618, elchipironaustin.com. The Spanish restaurant is selling Thanksgiving feasts that include a whole turkey or hen, along with mashed potatoes and gravy, cornbread, stuffing, a selection of Spanish meats and cheeses and more. Meals feed two, four and six, and cost $105, $210 and $260, respectively. Add a bottle of Spanish red or white wine for $20. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call restaurant Monday-Saturday between 5 and 10 p.m. by November 16 to order. Pick-ups take place November 21 and 22.
Freedmen’s. 2402 San Gabriel St. 512-220-0953, freedmensbar.com. The campus-area barbecue favorite is selling whole smoked turkeys for $120 (14-16 lbs. and feeds 8-10), smoked turkey breast ($80, feeds 8-10), along with half-pint ($5.50), pine ($11) and quart-sized ($22) sides of sides like brisket burnt-end cornbread stuffing, smoked cheddar mashed potatoes and more. The deadline for pre-ordering is November 16, with pick-up on November 22.
Fresa’s.1703 S. First St. 512-992-2946, fresaschicken.com. Mexican restaurant Fresa’s is selling meals that feed 8-10. Included in the bounty are a whole roasted turkey with turkey pan gravy, chorizo stuffing, citrus-serrano cranberry sauce and a selection of three sides that include poblano spinach gratin, sweet potato mash and roasted Brussels sprouts. Cost is $280, and executive pastry chef Laura Sawicki is also selling apple and caramel pumpkin pies ($30 each) and Mexican vanilla ice cream for $10 pint. Orders must be placed by November 20, with pick-up taking place at the South First Street location on November 22.
LeRoy and Lewis. 121 Pickle Road. 512-775-3392, leroyandlewis.com. The inventive barbecue wizards are preparing a slew of meats and sides to take home. The meats, all sound by the pound, include turkey with giblet gravy ($26/pound) and 44 Farms brisket ($24/pound). The sides, sold by the quart, include mashed potatoes and gravy ($18/quart) and macaroni and cheese ($24/quart). They’re also selling pumpkin gooey cake ($32) and smoked pecan pie ($40). Email email@example.com with questions, for family packages, or to place your order.Final orders due by Friday, November 17th. Scheduled to be picked up by 8 p.m. on November 22nd.
Mañana. 1603 S. Congress Ave. 512-872-3144, mananaaustin.com. The coffee shop at the South Congress Hotel, home to talented executive pastry chef Amanda Rockman, will be selling pies (chocolate bourbon pecan, caramel apple and pumpkin) through November 18th on South Congress Hotel’s website (shop.southcongresshotel.com) or for in-store purchase November 20th through November 23rd.
Mongers Market. 2401 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-215-8972, mongersaustin.com. The long list of items available for pre-orders at this seafood market and restaurant includes chowder, gumbo, fish dip, crab fingers, shrimp salad, oysters and more.
Olamaie. 1610 San Antonio St. 512-474-2796, olamaieaustin.com. You can serve some of the best biscuits on the planet at your Thanksgiving or holiday feast. The off-menu items are being sold for pick-up. You need to give the restaurant notice a week in advance of pick-up. Pick-up will be between 10 a.m. and 2pm on Thanksgiving Day, and the last pick-up day of holiday season is December 23. There is a one-dozen minimum for orders. Interested customers email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Phoebe’s Diner. 533 Oltorf St. 512-643-3218, phoebesdiner.com. The diner from the Winebelly team is selling ham dinners (with all the fixins) for pre-order. Ham and sides are both sold by the pound. Those meals must be ordered by November 21. Call for more details.
Rudy’s “Country Store” & Bar-B-Q. Multiple locations. rudysbarbq.com. The barbecue restaurant is selling whole smoked turkeys for $47.95 ($53.95 with a bottle of sauce). Pick up days are November 20-22. Place orders at bbqgo.com.
Tiny Pies.5035 Burnet Road. 512-916-0184; 2032 South Lamar Blvd. 512-460-9697, tinypies.com. The pie makers are selling a dozen small pies (choose apple, pumpkin, cherry and brownie-pecan) for $51, as well as an assortment of regular 9”pies for $30. Pre-orders end November 15.
Vox Table. 1100 S. Lamar Blvd #2140. 512-375-4869, voxtableaustin.com. The restaurant across from the Alamo Drafthouse is selling packaged meals that feed six-eight people. Options include ribeye with red wine au just ($135) or turducken ($115) as the main course, and sides like mac and cheese ($8) and mashed potatoes ($8). Orders must be placed by the end of day November 18 and can be picked up November 22 between noon and 9 p.m.
Walton’s Fancy & Staple.609 W. Sixth St. 512-542-3380, waltonsfancyandstaple.com. Sandra Bullock’s bakery and cafe is selling full turkeys (ranging from $120 to $180), thyme-rubbed airline turkey breast with turkey gravy ($90-$150), rib roast ($138) and other entrees, along with sides like whipped Yukon potatoes and cauliflower; creamed sweet corn with crimini mushrooms and farmer’s cheese (all $29), and a variety of pies ($25) and spiced bundt cake ($19). They are accepting orders November 17-25 and December 18-January 1. They will close at 4 p.m. the day before Thanksgiving and will be closed on Thanksgiving.
The barbecue spot with the country vibe is getting an address in the heart of the city. Rudy’s “Country Store” & Bar-B-Q is slated to open in late spring at 3918 N. Lamar Blvd. in the space occupied for 22 years by EZ’s Brick Oven and Grill.
It will be the fifth Austin-area location, and first in the center of town, from local restaurateurs Ken Schiller and Brian Nolen, whose K&N Management is the licensed area developer for Rudy’s. Schiller and Nolen opened the first Austin-area Rudy’s in 1994. The restaurant will serve the same barbecue and breakfast taco menu as the other Austin-area locations, blend the familiar meat-market ambience with some nostalgic design elements from the building’s past and offer 81 parking spaces.
The new restaurant, which will also incorporate the adjacent building that is currently home to Banzai Sushi & Grill, will be designed in collaboration by architect Morris Hoover and builder John King, who intend to “create a distinctive space that fits the neighborhood,” according to the owners.
There were 14 finalists for the hot and highly visible property that has a storied history dating back to 2-J’s in 1954. The property owners, the Moton Crockett Jr. family, chose K&N Management,which also owns Mighty Fine Burgers, Fries & Shakes, due in part to Moton Crockett Jr.’s great-grandson’s love for both Mighty Fine and Rudy’s, according to a news release.
“We are pleased to be working with the Crockett family, who embodies our commitment to supporting the local community,” Schiller said. “We are proud and honored to be able to bring Rudy’s to Central Austin.”
The original Rudy’s opened in Leon Springs in 1989, and there are now 32 locations in Texas, two each in Oklahoma, Colorado and Arizona, and three in New Mexico.
If you’re driving around this afternoon and evening, you might see lines of wide-eyed folks sprouting up all over town. Just ahead of one of the first cold fronts of the year, Amy’s Ice Creams will do that thing where they annually cause mild pandemonium, giving away a free tiny ice cream with a topping or a small ice cream with a crush’n or topping to guests from 3 to 7 p.m.
Food & Wine magazine was apparently smitten following visits to the latest restaurant from the McGuire Moorman Hospitality group. The important food magazine named June’s All Day to its list of the 10 Best New Restaurants in America Thursday. The restaurant named after partner and master sommelier June Rodil opened last summer on South Congress Avenue, and true to its name, serves morning, noon and night. When we reviewed the restaurant in December, we called it a mash-up of a Parisian bistro and the Peach Pit, and its menu delivers comforting eclecticism, from a pastrami salmon board in the mornings to meaty bolognese at night, as well as one of the city’s best burgers.
What made the restaurant grab the magazine’s attention?
“All of our Restaurants of the Year winners are defying convention in some fundamental way—and June’s All Day is a perfect example. On the surface, this easy-breezy Austin hangout looks like a stylish wine bar, with colorful design and a cool vintage-diner vibe. But here, the food supports the wine, instead of the other way around,” Food & Wine editor-in-chief Nilou Motamed said. “The kitchen has created small plates to go along with the brilliant wine list, curated by sommelier June Rodil. She comes up with the most unlikely yet spot-on pairings, like a briny South African rosé matched to a hearty matzo ball caldo soup.”
It had initially announced plans to also open restaurants in Cedar Park, Lakeway and near the Mueller redevelopment project in East Austin.
The closures are part of parent company Fiesta Restaurant Group’s “strategic renewal plan.” Fiesta also owns the Taco Cabana chain.
“Fiesta’s recent growth initiatives diverted resources from our core markets and some amount of renewal is required to restore momentum in these markets,” Fiesta president and CEO Richard Stockinger said in a written statement. “While the decision to close restaurants is never easy, we believe it is vital to focus the company’s resources and efforts on markets and locations that have proven successful for our brands.”
Some of the closed Pollo Tropicals may reopen at a later date as Taco Cabana locations, Fiesta said.
Like a phoenix rising from the barbecue ashes, John Mueller has another rebirth in store. The longtime Texas barbecue boss and grandson of Taylor barbecue scion Louie Mueller will soon be cooking again, this time at the Black Box Barbecue trailer in historic Georgetown. Owners Gary Brown and Justin Bohls will soft open the trailer at 201 E. Ninth St. next weekend during the town’s Red Poppy Festival.
The black trailer will serve Mueller’s famous brisket and beef rib, along with pork ribs, pulled pork, chicken and his various side dishes. The trailer is intended to be just the first step in Mueller’s reintroduction to the Central Texas market. His partners, with whom Mueller has been friends for decades, plan to open Black Box barbecue on the adjacent property, with construction to begin soon.
“It feels frickin awesome,” Mueller said of his return to professional cooking.
Black Box Barbecue will be the third barbecue business the enigmatic pit masters has been associated with in the past six years in Central Texas. He opened J Mueller Barbecue on South First Street in 2011, but his involvement came to an end in 2012 following a fiscal dispute with his sister, LeAnn Mueller, who transformed the business into La Barbecue. Mueller then headed to East Austin, where he operated John Mueller Meat Co. at East Sixth and Pedernales streets from 2013 until last August, when the State of Texas closed that business, citing Mueller’s unpaid taxes.
Mueller says that those who may wonder about his business acumen and relationships this time around shouldn’t worry.
“I’m going to cook for people who’ve known me all my life, who’ve read everything there is to read about me and still want to work with me,” Mueller said. “We’re gonna have a really sound business and cook really good food.”
Mueller first came to recognition in Austin, almost as much for his surly attitude as his stunning brisket, while running John Mueller BBQ on Manor Road from 2001 to ’06, during which time a young Aaron Franklin cut onions and worked the register. Following that shutter, Mueller took a hiatus from Austin before returning for his tumultuous run of the last seven years.
As for any doubters or haters, Mueller laughs at the idea.
“Are there still any out there?” asked Mueller. “I don’t think anyone remembers who I am.”