Christopher McGhee left his position at Freedmen’s and has joined the team at Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew. McGhee, who also worked under John Lewis at La Barbecue, started at Stiles Switch last week.
“We’re bringing Chris on board to hopefully take us to the next level,” Stiles Switch owner Shane Stiles said. “I couldn’t be happier.”
In addition to McGhee, Stiles Switch has also hired Doug Diechmann, former plant manager at Smokey Denmark and a 15-year-veteran of Rudy’s. The move will allow Stiles Switch to bring all of its sausage-making in house.
McGhee and Diechmann join a team that also includes Lenoir chef-owner Todd Duplechan, who is partnering with the Stiles Switch team on its new concept in South Austin and is already consulting on non-barbecue-related menu items, like the Cajun cole slaw he recently introduced to the menu at Stiles Switch on North Lamar Boulevard. With the recent additions, Stiles says he feels the restaurant has a “barbecue dream team in place.”
McGhee’s departure from Freedemen’s comes just a few months after he took the reins of the kitchen following the exit of opening pitmaster Evan LeRoy. Juan Morales, a Freedmen’s employee since the restaurant opened in 2012, and Brad Robinson, who has been at the restaurant for almost two years, will jointly spearhead the kitchen.
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Stiles Switch also announced the roster of its 12 Days of Smoked Meat, an annual ritual for the North Austin barbecue restaurant. Each day through Dec. 18, the restaurant will run a smoked meat special. The specials will also be paired with a local or regional beer. Specials include brisket smoked meatloaf with buttermilk mashed potatoes (Dec. 9), smoked fried chicken with slow smoked corn on the cob (Dec. 11), and smoked brisket tamales served with Tacodeli chili con queso (Dec. 18). In addition to the specials, Stiles Switch is also accepting online orders for its smoked brisket tamales. More information about both can be found at stilesswitchbbq.com.
Despite all its growth during the past decade, East Austin still has dining niches that need filling. One of those has long been a need for Chinese food. That problem was remedied this week when Old Thousand opened at 1000 E. 11th St. Suite #150.
The restaurant, which will focus equally on takeout and dine-in service, is helmed by chef James Dumapit (former executive sous chef at Uchiko) and chef David Baek (formerly of Thai Kun and Uchi). The restaurant is the first from SMGB Hospitality Co., a newly formed group that includes industry veterans Benneth Cachila (Uchi), Larry Perdido (Moonshine), Tony Pollock and Christian Romero (Uchi).
Old Thousand, which takes a modern approach to traditional Chinese dishes, is open for dinner nightly with a menu that includes jellyfish salad, honey prawns with pecans, mapo dofu, dan dan noodles with mushroom puree, brisket fried rice, and hot pot with pork belly and Chinese sausage. Old Thousand also features a full bar, with local beers on draft and an accessible wine list featuring mostly European labels.
As for that name? Mahjong players will recognize it as one of the wild card tiles in the game. It’s also a clever nod to the restaurant’s address. (oldthousandatx.com)
The Jacoby’s Restaurant and Mercantile group helmed by owner Adam Jacoby and his husband, creative director/designer Kris Swift, didn’t have to look far for a space for its second concept.
They opened Grizzelda’s last week at 105 Tillery St., across East Cesar Chavez Street from their original ranch-inspired restaurant. Led by executive chef Albert Gonzalez, also of Jacoby’s, Grizzelda’s serves a mix of interior and coastal Mexican food as well as Tex-Mex. The menu includes snapper ceviche with nopales and crispy jalapeno, tuna tostadas with crispy shallots, Puerco pibil tacos, and beef dishes sourced from the Jacoby family ranch, like picadillo or braised short rib.
Grizzelda’s, which took over the former Taqueria Los Jaliscienses space, is open Wednesday through Sunday for dinner. (grizzeldas.com)
University of Texas students have another fast-food option in their lives. California-based In-N-Out Burger is now open at 2700 Guadalupe St., just north of Dean Keaton Boulevard. The restaurant, which has a drive-thru, opens daily at 10:30 a.m. This is the seventh Austin-area location of the burger joint with the secret menu and underwhelming fries.
One of Austin’s best restaurants is entering uncharted territory. Uchi will host its first-ever brunch on Dec. 11. The reason? To benefit the Central Texas Food Bank. The brunch will be omakase style (chef’s choice) and include sake-cured masu, Hausbar (Farms) herb omelet, duck confit with grits, fried whole seabass and more. The cost for the event is $100 for two guests, not including tax, gratuity or beverages. The brunch runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 512-916-4808
“We are always looking for new ways to support the community and we thought what better way to give back than by trying something new,” Uchi chef de cuisine Michael Castillo said. “We are not a ‘brunch’ restaurant, so spreading our wings a bit and doing brunch Uchi style is really fun for us.”
If you are in possession of our lovely Austin360 Dining Guide, please note that the proper address for the excellent La Barbecue trailer is 1906 E. Cesar Chavez St. (labarbecue.com)