Are you getting into the swing of ordering takeout from restaurants yet? Beyond buying gift cards or merchandise, it’s the safest and easiest way to support local restaurants that are fighting to stay alive during the coronavirus pandemic. Also: You’ve gotta be a little tired of your own cooking by now, right?
For those still wary about the safety of takeout, the Centers for Disease Control has said the risk of getting COVID-19 from food or packaging is very low, and the American Medical Association recently released a chart labeling the risk a "2," or "low," on a scale of 1-10, the same as camping or pumping gas. By comparison, the AMA labeled dining on a patio a "4" (moderate-low) and eating in a restaurant dining room as "7" (moderate-high).
A critic works to place restaurants in a greater social and cultural context and analyze preparation and plating while exploring a chef or restaurant owner’s narrative and intention. All context right now is coronavirus. Execution for takeout is trickier than in-restaurant dining. And everyone’s current intention is to simply remain open.
So, this recurring Takeout Treasures series focuses on the other part of a critic’s job: weeding through the abundance of options and pointing you toward some solid choices for dining at home. And, remember: wear a mask when you go to pick up your food. It’s the responsible thing to do, and it’s currently the law in Austin.
Chicken bacon ranch burger at Hold Out Brewing
When you think of the food at a standard brewpub, your mouth might not water. The recently opened Hold Out Brewing, just west of Lamar Boulevard, blows up that old thinking. And since it is licensed as a brewpub and not a bar, it’s still open under the current statewide restrictions.
As a sibling of Austin360 Dining Guide Top 50 restaurant and neighbor Better Half, Hold Out could probably just run some of that excellent all-day fare over from across the courtyard and call it a day, but the brewpub has its own strong menu. The two stacked patties made with ground chicken are seared and juicy, draped with Swiss cheese, crunched up with iceberg lettuce and red onion and given an umami blast from tangy miso ranch dressing.
There’s so much going on you can barely taste the bacon, which is really saying something. And if you don’t dig on swine, you can sub out the pork for shiitake bacon for a small fee. Grab a four-pack of juicy, piney and tropical Koala Takedown IPA ($14) to discover that Hold Out does beer as well as it does food.
Information: 1208 W. Fourth St. 512-305-3540, holdoutbrewing.com.
Takeout hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday; the patio is open for reservations only.
How it works: Call in or order online and pick up at the table on Hold Out Brewing’s patio or have their carhop deliver it to you in the parking lot.