The Austin food landscape has changed a lot over the past few months - with all of the new limitations and uncertainty in dining, restaurants have had to get creative. While many spots have shifted to special takeout menus, others have used this as an opportunity to launch pop-ups and collaborations. From smashburgers delivered via “burger chute,” to rotating pizza team-ups, we’ll be regularly keeping track of them here and telling you how to get them. Many of these sell out quickly, so be ready to drop everything and run like your lunch depends on it.
The Pop-Ups & Collaborations
Sandoitchi is a Japanese-style sandwich pop-up based out of Dallas, making a temporary residence in Austin. The menu here has just a few items, like katsu and egg salad sandwiches, supporting its showstopper - a $75 A5 Hokkaido wagyu katsu sandwich. They’ll be here in Austin until January 23, but you’ll have to be quick on your feet to snag a sandwich - their first week sold out in just seven minutes. Follow along on their Instagram for updates, or sign up to be notified by email when their next event goes live.
Le Beef Burger is a pop-up featuring burgers and natural wine, as well other dishes like fried chicken sandwiches and smoked chips and dip. So far they’ve done pop-ups at the restaurant Little Trouble in Lockhart and the gelato spot Gelateria Gemelli in East Austin. The next one is on January 19th at Justine’s Brasserie. Follow them on Instagram for more.
For fans of ramen, there’s Mr. Noodle San, a pop-up serving homemade noodles that’s operated at places like Cuantos Tacos and Aviary Wine & Kitchen. They’ve been doing fun and different ramen like an al pastor tonkotsu shoyu and a vegan mushroom tsukemen. Their plan is to open a brick and mortar in New Mexico in late 2021 - there’s even a GoFundMe - but for now you can get bowls of noodle soup in Austin. Follow them on Instagram for the latest.
Chef Teddy Simon is a private chef selling daily lunchboxes, sushi platters, and Indonesian food via Instagram. Different days of the week tend to feature a different meal, with recurring specials like “Tuna tataki Tuesday” or “salmon Sunday.” Orders tend to sell out fairly quickly, with all transactions taking place through Instagram DMs for the time being.
Taco Fuego is a pop-up at the East Austin restaurant/bar The Cavalier with dishes retired by Taco Bell. Apparently there is enough nostalgia (stoner-fueled or otherwise) for things like a seven-layer burrito, cheesy potatoes, and a Mexican Pizza. Earlier this year when Taco Bell removed the “pizza” from the menu - really it’s just two crispy shells with seasoned beef and cheese - over 150,000 people signed a change.org petition. Keep an eye on their Instagram for the next one.
Man vs Fries is a pop-up operating in multiple cities - like San Francisco, Portland, Oakland, Seattle, and Houston - and now they’re coming to Austin. The menu has dishes like asada fries, a SoCal burrito (with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and french fries), enormous quesadillas, and deep-fried cheesecake. Three locations are opening in Austin for pickup and delivery - the first in South Austin opens Tuesday, December 5th. Check their website for more info.
Bad Larry Burger Club describes itself as “never open” and “never closed” which is pretty accurate given the constantly-changing locations and the infrequent cadence. Sometimes you’ll find them set up in a neighborhood, delivering burgers via remote-controlled truck, and other times they’ll be set up from a second-story balcony dropping burgers through a socially-distanced “burger chute.” We can’t promise when you’ll get one, but we can tell you that if you do manage to snag a coveted spot, it’ll be one of the best burgers you’ve had all year. Typically, they’ll announce when presales go live a day or two in advance on their Instagram, so set a timer and be ready to quickly slide into some DM’s for a reservation. And don’t be late - the last one sold out in under 5 minutes.
Penang Shack describes itself as an “occasional Malaysian pop-up,” which is pretty apt. Full disclosure: it’s run by The Infatuation Austin staff writer Nicolai McCrary. The pop-up happens every month or so with menus in the past including nasi lemak and chicken satay. There’s also a very good curry laksa that comes meal kit-style, in which you need to cook the noodles separately. It’s one of the few places in Austin that you can actually get curry laksa - it’s on Peached Tortilla’s dine-in menu, and Kinda Tropical has run it as a special in the past. All proceeds go to different local causes, including the Austin Justice Coalition and the League Of Women Voters Austin. The next pop-up will be in mid-January. Follow on Instagram for the latest.
The Soul House describes itself as a “Harlem-styled Soul food pop up,” which means you’ll find dishes like chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, and honey-chipotle chicken biscuits. Dates and events get announced on their Instagram with the most recent event taking place in late November. They are expected to open up a roaming food truck in the upcoming weeks.
On most Tuesdays, the East Austin Mexican restaurant Suerte has been hosting what they call a Taquero Takeover, in which they have a guest chef or restaurant come up with a special taco (with 50% of the taco sales going to a good cause). In the past they’ve had La Barbecue, Cuantos Tacos, and TLV. Keep an eye on their Instagram for the latest.
Galleta is a virtual cookie shop taking place out of a private residence in West Austin. Cookies are sold by the dozen, with each box containing four different varieties - inspired by Mexican and Filipino flavors - that change weekly. The menu is announced at the beginning of each week on their Instagram - with flavors like hibiscus and pumpkin seed butter, or ube and coconut. Orders must be placed a few days in advance with payment through Venmo.
Comadre Panaderia is a newish online-only bakery pop-up with modern spins on pan-Latinx sweet and savory breads. Keep an eye on their Instagram account.
We’re not really sure how to describe the concept of Nixta’s frequent collaborations other than just that - collaborations. Concepts change from week to week, with past mashups ranging from fire-roasted confit chicken wings with Thai al pastor sauce in collaboration with Dough Boys, to an East Side taco mashup with neighbors Discada and Cuantos. Collaborations happen a couple of times each month, usually only lasting a day or two. Follow along on their Instagram for the latest information. These tend to sell out fast.