7 things to know about Austin’s cuisine: Spot Buzzy launches sweet summer menu

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Editor’s note: We understood. It can be hard to keep up with the fast pace of Austin’s restaurant and bar scene. We’ve got you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.

Openings, new offers and celebrity visits

Meridian 98, the rooftop restaurant and bar at the Sonesta Bee Cave Austin hotel, introduces an all-new menu to complement the breezy atmosphere. New selections from Executive Chef Patrick Newman and new Executive Sous-Chef Adrian Brice draw heavily on honey, both in cocktails and in cooking. Bacon-wrapped gulf prawns are served with grapefruit and honeycomb, while a new cocktail called The Beekeeper is built on New Amsterdam gin, orange liqueur, lime, simple syrup and cucumber mint.

Freebirds World Burrito, a convenient and consistent choice for fast food that doesn’t taste like it, opened its first location in Dripping Springs on April 27. Texas-born competitor Chipotle recently announced huge statewide expansions and marked the opening by offering free burritos for a year to the first 25 visitors online.

Iconic weatherman and journalist Al Roker got to know Austin’s food scene recently for his “Family Style” segment on Today all day. Exploration focused on various immigrant-owned restaurants, Tony’s Jamaican, Me Con Bistro and Habesha. Today shared her findings in video clips and written vignettes, all of which focused on family influence in starting and sustaining these businesses. The full video features 25 minutes of interviews, behind-the-scenes food shots, and insights into Austin’s culinary scene.

Other news and notes

III Forks looks to the future of restaurants and now accepts BitCoin as a form of payment. The steakhouse is testing the waters in tech-savvy Austin so the rest of the nationwide CRO, Inc. restaurant group can later follow suit. At the end of a meal, if a customer decides to pay in BitCoin, the waiter will bring a QR code, and payment will be completed in seconds via Bitpay on the Bitcoin Lightning Network.

Farmhouse Delivery, a grocery service that focuses on local organic foods, acquired a similar service, Good Apple, on April 25. Good Apple’s business plan reallocated profits from its paid subscription service to provide free deliveries to food-insecure customers, and included collaborations with community organizations like CapMetro and Mobile Loaves and Fishes. Good Apple is handing over all operations and supplier relationships to Farmhouse Delivery after the May 2 merger. The latter makes deliveries in the Austin area from Tuesday to Friday.

Il Brutto celebrates four years of classic Italian cuisine on April 28. Its fourth anniversary party features special menus, flash tattoos, live music and DJ sets, and more. As the restaurant has grown in popularity, it has become known for its beautiful decor and lives up to Chef Erind Halilaj’s authentic touch, drawing on his high Italian past. He also announced a new series starting May 3 called “un altro,” which features live music on the patio every Tuesday from 5-7 p.m.

In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week, Hat Creek Burger Company is honoring teachers and other school staff with free burgers this Sunday, May 1, from 11 a.m. until closing. The promotion is viable at all 26 Texas locations, including four in Austin. Visitors need only show a school ID card to receive the burger of their choice. Founder Drew Gressett claims a personal connection to the cause, citing his wife’s past as a teacher.

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