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In the news: Cooper’s BBQ coming to downtown

Addie Broyles

All month, it seems like we’ve been talking about booze.

Leading up to South by Southwest, where visitors can drink it. During South by Southwest, how a drunk driver could plow through a street filled with people. After South by Southwest, how Austin developed such a culture for heavy drinking.

We think of drinking alcohol as such a frivolous, celebratory activity, but it’s all fun and games until the consequences start rolling in.

And the big story in the past week has been what might or might not happen to legendary Central Texas retailer Twin Liquors in the fallout of the Yassine scandal, in which the owners of numberous bars downtown were caught laundering money and selling drug and weapons.

On Thursday, business reporter Gary Dinges broke the news that the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission’s inquiry into possible ties with the Yassines and Twin Liquors could very well shut down the locally owned chain, which has dozens of outlets throughout the area.

Readers, as you’d expect, have lots to say about this recent turn of events.

While all this has been going on, Liquid Austin columnist Ari Auber continues to write about what’s new on the Austin beer/wine/spirits scene, including a new smoked porter beer collaboration between Thirsty Planet and Stiles Switch BBQ and a new urban winery that is about to open in Northeast Austin.

Freelancer Beth Goulart told us about the connection between pretzels and Lent (who knew?) and wrote one of the most beautiful restaurant profiles I’ve ever read about the family that runs the Emerald Restaurant in Bee Cave. Haven’t heard of the Emerald? It’s outside of the Austin core but has been around for decades, providing the kind of old school fine dining experience that draws customers from all over Central Texas.

Matthew Odam takes us back to the downtown core with his review of No Va on Rainey Street, which doesn’t quite live up to his expectations, and he also has lots of opening/closing news, including a post about plans for Llano’s famed Cooper’s BBQ to open an outlet right on Congress Avenue, as well as info about the Omelettry’s new home, Waterloo Ice House closing on 38th street and John Bullington’s new restaurant, A-OK Chinese on South Lamar.

And in case you missed it, Barley Swine/Odd Duck chef Bryce Gilmore is officially a finalist for the James Beard Best Chef Southwest Award, and if I were a betting woman, all my money would be on him.