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One of Austin’s best new dining options, Distant Relatives, moving to new brewery

Matthew Odam
Austin 360
A plate of pork ribs, pork belly bacon, burnt end peas, homemade pickles and collard greens from Distant Relatives.

Damien Brockway introduced one of the best and most interesting new dining options of the year when he opened his Distant Relatives trailer in East Austin in late winter. 

But Distant Relatives will soon be on the move. The trailer will serve its final meal from the lot next to Leal's Tire Shop on June 27 and reopen on July 7 at Meanwhile Brewing in Southeast Austin, about six miles south of the trailer's current location. 

"Opening at Leal’s Tire Shop was an amazing introduction to Austin and a great opportunity to get our feet wet during an otherwise crazy year," Brockway told the American-Statesman. "They took a chance on us and we helped each other and had a lot of fun together; it was always the plan to find a permanent home."

Brockway, who worked in fine dining for most of the previous two decades, has used his operation to explore the foodways of the African diaspora. Smoked meats serve as the trailer's main canvas, the pork, beef and chicken punctuated with spicy, funky and rich side dishes like green mango slaw, coconut collard greens with fermented seafood, and burnt ends black-eyed peas. 

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Chef Damien Brockway is taking his Distant Relatives rolling smokehouse to Meanwhile Brewing in Southeast Austin.

The trailer has been evolving since Brockway opened, as the chef who once eschewed brisket in favor of beef chuck has introduced the popular Central Texas cut and other dishes to his menu (he serves it both by the pound and as the centerpiece of one of the city's best sandwiches, slathered with pimento cheese and piqued with pickled onions). 

"Moving to Meanwhile Brewing will give us the ability to expand even more, play around with additional specials and new rotating menu offerings, as well as provide guests plenty of seating, shade, and access to amenities and atmosphere from live music to regular programming," Brockway said. 

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The chef, who ran the culinary operations at Jester King Brewery after leaving since-shuttered fine dining restaurant Counter 357 downtown, says the Meanwhile beers pair well with his food and he looks forward to collaborating with the Meanwhile team down the road. 

Will Jaquiss, who arrived in Austin after working at the award-winning Breakside Brewing in Portland, opened the IPA-centric Meanwhile in October. As part of its unique offerings, Meanwhile serves cocktails made with wine, sherry and house-brewed hard seltzer.