Season those French fries with tears and don’t let your wails keep you from throwing back a chocolate Frosty. The Wendy’s in the Texas Union on the University of Texas at Austin campus is closing Thursday, according to the UT Unions social media accounts.
We are sad 😪 to announce that today is the last day that Wendy’s 🍔🍟 will be open in the #TexasUnion. However, you can still visit Wendy’s at our Jester location. We apologize for the inconvenience. We are working to identify a new ✨ vendor as quickly as possible! pic.twitter.com/l9XCKcLk0R
“We are sad to announce that today is the last day that Wendy’s will be open in the #TexasUnion,” read a tweet and an Instagram post both posted Thursday afternoon. “However, you can still visit Wendy’s at our Jester location. We apologize for the inconvenience. We are working to identify a new vendor as quickly as possible!”
Wendy’s has been a longtime fixture in the university’s student union. The fast food spot gained some fame in the UT community and beyond from its most famous employee, Ishmael Mohammed Jr., aka “Junior the Wendy’s Guy,” who was known for his lightning-fast order-taking skills. He was “the Rachmaninoff of the register, holding the record for taking the most orders and sales within a 30-minute span, 246 orders for $1,035 — or one order every 7.3 seconds,” according to a 2014 American-Statesman story. Mohammed, who died in 2016, was also the subject of short documentary in 2006. Nikolas Ray Eller was sentenced last year to two years in jail for delivering a punch that killed the popular fast food cashier.
If you saw last year’s “Loving,” Austin director Jeff Nichols’ film about the landmark 1967 Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court case that decriminalized interracial marriage in America, you know Ruth Negga can act.
But despite her great accent and acting performance in that film, Negga isn’t American; she’s Ethiopian and Irish. And today, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, she’s teaching everyone how to make a proper Irish coffee.
In today’s edition of “Celebrities: They’re just like us!” I present to you Fred Armisen eating Mighty Cone at a surf park in the middle of downtown Austin, which is a sentence I could only type if it was South by Southwest — oh hey, turns out it is.
Anyway, the “Portlandia” star and “Saturday Night Live” veteran was spotted chatting with folks at the Animal Kingdom installation on Fourth Street and Congress Avenue on Sunday while enjoying fare from one of Austin’s most beloved food trucks, Mighty Cone.
It’s hard to tell what he’s eating, but it looks like it could be french fries. Solid choice, but has nobody told Fred how good the hot and crunchy cones are? I mean, you’ve got chicken, you’ve got avocado, you’ve got mango-jalapeno slaw, you’ve got ancho sauce … if anybody sees Fred, advise him to go with the cone next time.
We Texans can get pretty defensive about our state’s homegrown fast food treasure, Whataburger. So it’s clear as day that the staff at The Ringer made a few errors in regards to its list of the “Top 50 fast food items in America.”
The Corpus Christi-born chain landed in the No. 37 spot with one of the “All-Time Favorites” menu items, the Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich. The Ringer left off the “strip” in its name, which is the first of many mistakes (in my opinion) made in this ranking, which include:
Ranking the Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich way too low at No. 37
Only placing one Whataburger item on the list to begin with
Placing three burgers from California’s In-N-Out ahead of Whataburger
The Ringer is based in Los Angeles, so perhaps there is a slight regional bias. Whataburger has a Texas-sized online personality and is deeply embedded into our state’s food culture. How could a list of the greatest fast food not mention the expansive menu of items like chicken strips, burgers the size of your head, milkshakes and the holy grail of breakfast food, the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit?
Chick-fil-A’s waffle fries landed in the top spot of the list. A truly eclectic ranking, somehow enough people are convinced Arby’s is worth visiting that the curly fries and roast beef sandwich ranked higher than Whataburger. Other items ranking higher than the Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich: Taco Bell’s chicken quesadilla, McDonald’s baked apple pie and Chipotle’s soft tacos. Auntie Anne’s pretzel landed in the top 20!
Since the list was decided by The Ringer’s staff, I asked my colleagues what they thought of the whole ranking. Here are some choice comments from our newsroom:
“HBCB in the middle of the night or bust.” – assistant online editor Gabrielle Munoz
“I won’t be reading any list that starts with Chick-fil-A fries. Gross. That being said, the Whataburger honey butter chicken biscuit is fast food nirvana.” – assistant features editor Emily Quigley
“Honey BBQ chicken is to die for.” – sports columnist Kirk Bohls
“I used to work at Raising Cane’s, and I’m very proud of that, so I take it very personally that their sauce didn’t get its own list item on this list. And – biggest mistake of all – they didn’t even mention the Whataburger Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit. THEY DIDN’T EVEN MENTION IT. I’m pretty sure it’s scientifically proven to be the best thing to eat at 3 a.m. ever.” – Rachel Rice, reporter for the Westlake Picayune and Lake Travis View
“I’m disappointed that Taco Bell’s Cinnamon Twists aren’t on this list. Crunchy pieces of fried dough dusted with cinnamon sugar… what’s not to love?! These treats kept my sister and I happy on plenty of family road trips during our childhood.” – multimedia producer Tina Phan
“Wendy’s chili is getting so screwed over here.” – online content producer Joe Harrington
“It is absurd to rank a Shake Shack burger under a McDonald’s burger. This is not a slight on the Big Mac: I believe that every fast food item has its relative merits. There is room for, say, a Taco Cabana taco and Taco Bell taco in all our lives, on their own terms. But when one considers the objective values assigned to each component part of the hamburger – freshness of bun, flavor and texture of meat, melt of cheese – ranking a Big Mac over a Shack Burger is a farce of the highest order and an attack on the very concept of fact-based evidence. And why even bother placing Popeyes menu items in contention if you are going to exclude red beans and rice, which are the perfect side dish? Also: Blizzards are Beyonce, McFlurrys are Rita Ora. Correct placement.” – social media and engagement editor Eric Webb
Another one of our multimedia producers, Alyssa Vidales, just sent me this video of someone trying to burn a Big Mac using molten copper.
Even those who impose strict dietary restrictions on themselves can find it hard to resist a sweet treat…
Animal rights group PETA recently released a list of their top 10 vegan desserts in the country, and it turns out if you’re looking to indulge you don’t have to go far. Austin’s vegan ice cream shop Sweet Ritual’s “Banana Split Split,” which features three different kinds of ice cream and a caramelized banana split down the middle, made the list and is reportedly a customer favorite.
Here is what Yelp reviewers had to say about Boteco:
“This place is amazing – my girlfriend and I had the Coxinha, Piccanha, and Yucca Fries – each dish was absolutely fantastic.” – Daniel D.
“This in my opinion is the best food that has ever came off a food truck. Words cannot explain how delicious the food is here. If you stop by I promise you it will be the best Brazilian food on planet earth. Staff is friendly and courteous, they are second to none in my opinion.” – John R.
“Hands down best food truck in Austin. The food is incredible and the guys working the truck are some of the nicest we’ve met. They also gave me free snacks while we waited, which is the way to a pregnant women’s heart.” – Lauren A.
“You know how you nurse and savor your last beer? You will find yourself doing this with your last slice of this pizza. Just do it in private otherwise the rest of your family will scarf it down. It is really that good.” – Steve S.
“The whole menu is awesome and the service is above an beyond what I would expect from a pizza food truck (better than a brick and mortar pizza place!” – Victoria W.
“Still my favorite pizza in Austin! When my husband goes out of town I get the twisted rita and on numerous occasions ate the whole damn pie. I can’t even feel guilty about it, everything, I mean EVERYTHING, is made fresh! Everything is also consistent, from the food to the amazing service. Scarlett and her husband Izak are always making an effort to ensure you feel taken care of. If you haven’t tried this place yet, you are missing out!” – Jenna M.
You’re probably going to need to eat at more than two restaurants in 2017, however. We’ve got a whole dining guide to make the decisions a little easier.
President Donald Trump announced his method Thursday for paying for that border wall he commissioned Wednesday: a 20 percent tax on all goods imported from Mexico.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the plan would generate $10 billion a year and “easily pay for the wall,” according to the Associated Press.
Later, Spicer said the 20 percent tariff was just one of several options available to the administration to pay for the wall.
The announcement set off a firestorm on Twitter. Users were quick to point out the many things imported from Mexico that would balloon in price if the tax is approved by Congress, like cars and car parts ($24 billion worth, according to CNN Money), telephones ($11.9 billion), refrigerators ($4.1 billion), tomatoes ($1.8 billion) and beer like Corona, Modelo and Dos Equis ($2.8 billion).
Are you set on paying for your lunch today? Then we’ve got just the free burger for you.
Shake Shack has a new promotion that makes getting a free burger almost as easy as eating it. The restaurant is celebrating the launch of its new mobile-ordering app by gifting everyone who downloads it a free burger. You can get yours by downloading the app, creating an account and using promo code “shackappy” at checkout.
The app is intended to make getting Shake Shack when you want it that much easier. Users can order ahead of time and specify the time they’ll be ready to pick up. The app is not currently available for Android phones. So if that’s your situation, borrow a friend’s iPhone and get what’s yours.
Crumbled up Hot Cheetos. This is 2017. The kids who went through middle school with red fingertips are grown up, and Hot Cheetos are now considered a spice. Also try: sprinkled on mac and cheese.
Ramen seasoning packet. Because most of what’s in a ramen seasoning packet is salt, this is just another way of salting your popcorn. But fun flavors like lime chili shrimp can make for interesting toppers. Instant mac and cheese powder packets are also worth a shot.
Shaved coconut. Take it to another level by popping your popcorn in coconut oil. Mmm, tropical.
Cinnamon sugar. Maybe not the weirdest flavor combination, but chances are cinnamon sugar isn’t what you grab after popping some corn. But now it will be.
If you’re looking for something to watch while snacking on your popcorn this National Popcorn Day (and aren’t comfortable bringing a jar of pickle juice with you to the movies), watch this video of popcorn being popped in slow, beautiful motion:
In a unique move, Austin’s The Factory Cafe decided this week to ban customers from using laptops in the space.
The cafe, which calls itself a “creative sanctuary,” announced the decision on its social media channels on Tuesday with a graphic saying, “No laptops! Talk to each other” and the caption, “Starting tomorrow, Dec 7th [sic], we are going laptop-free! Make new friends, be inspired, find your muse.”
The Factory Cafe, which opened in the former Saladworks space on Burnet Road earlier this year, is one of Austin’s few coffee shops that doesn’t have a WiFi connection (Cuvee Coffee is another, and Radio Coffee and Beer turns its WiFi off at 5 p.m. when the happy hour crowd begins to show up).
The decision is an interesting one for a coffee shop in a city brimming with bloggers, freelancers, creatives and technology workers. U.S. News and World Report ranked Austin as the top metro area for working remotely, with 6.77 percent of the city’s nearly 1 million workers telecommuting at least half the time they are working. Austin is also home to four universities, a community college and various other institutes of higher education, with more than 70,000 total students who use spaces like Factory Cafe to study and work.
The cafe is open from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. and serves beer and wine, as well as a variety of decked-out waffles and snacks.
We’ve reached out to Factory Cafe for comment on their decision to go laptop-free.