The Austin City Council is set to hear a request from Wheatsville Co-op on whether it can sell beer and wine at a new location on South Lamar Boulevard.

A respected local business looking to open a second location, with the backing of neighbors and local organizations: sounds like a slam-dunk, right?

The Austin Yellow Pages lists 39 doughnut shops in the Capital City.

Now former Longhorn Colt McCoy, known better for passing the pigskin than passing the crullers, is set to increase that number by more than half: An investment crew lead by the former UT quarterback is planning on bringing two dozen Dunkin’ Donuts stores to Austin.

KUT News

Local farm and food enthusiasts already have sown some seeds at the Texas Capitol, and they’re pressing for more legislation in 2013 that could help their industries grow.

Proposals likely to come before lawmakers once they convene in January will address food sampling at farmers’ markets, expanding last session’s “cottage foods” law and reducing barriers for small farms seeking the agricultural property tax exemption.

As bill filing began Nov. 12 for the upcoming session, Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, proposed legislation easing restrictions on the sale of raw milk, a measure some small farmers backed unsuccessfully in 2011.

KUT News

No holiday is more closely associated with food than Thanksgiving. But many Central Texans will be thankful just to get enough to eat this holiday season.

Several free holiday meals are being offered this Thanksgiving holiday. 

In a week in which the news has been filled with a fiscal cliff, rockets, sex and security, a restaurant review also raised a ruckus.

Pete Wells, the restaurant critic of The New York Times, reviewed the new restaurant Guy Fieri has opened in Times Square with a string of rhetorical questions that began by asking Mr. Fieri if he's ever eaten at his own place.

The 2012 Austin City Limits Festival is less than 24 hours away.

Thousands of ACL attendees are probably compiling lists of bands to see, foods to eat, and places to go. But it's going to be a challenge: There's over 100 different acts performing at the festival, close to 40 different vendors serving all types of food and drink, and tons of events and parties going on all over downtown Austin.

While we can’t put your list together for you, maybe we can help you get started.

Here's some picks compiled by KUT's Austin Music Matters team: 

From Susan Castle, KUT Music Host:

Rain or shine, the annual St. Elias Mediterranean Festival is kicking off this weekend.

The festival, now in its 80th year, promises Mediterranean delights from Lebanon, Palestine, Greece, Eritrea and Romania. According to the festival, “Gyros, Kibbee, Baklava, Spanakopita and Mici are only the beginning as you feast outdoors on delicacies from the Orthodox world.”

Along with a feast of foods, the festival will offer shopping in a festival marketplace, dance demonstrations and children’s activities at the Kid’s Oasis. Music and live dancing will be provided by Laand Greek Ensemble.

Dozens of Austin restaurants are highlighting their best this week, offering deals on three-course prix fixe dinners. It’s all part of Austin Restaurant Week, a biannual event that raises awareness of Austin’s culinary scene and money for charities.

Restaurant Week is a bit of a misnomer, however: it’s actually made up of two half-weeks. The good eats kicked off yesterday, Sept. 23, take a break on the 26th, resume Sept. 30, and come to an end on Oct. 3.

Taylor Perkins is with Austin Restaurant Week. He says the festival is a testament to Austin’s burgeoning culinary standing. “The event has grown hand-in-hand with the Austin culinary scene,” he says. This installment marks Austin Restaurant Week's fourth year.

Where foodie influences were previously imported into Austin, Perkins says local chefs have evolved to create their own styles. “The scene in Austin has really come into its own,” he says. The majority of participating restaurants are found only in Austin, and Restaurant Week increasingly focuses on restaurants that source locally and offer a unique experience. Peoples

While food trucks have been embraced in Austin and can be found clustered throughout the city, Houston food truck owners are struggling to change city ordinances that impose limits on their operations. 

Yesterday, dozens of food truck operators and enthusiasts came before the Houston City Council to petition for changes in mobile food unit ordinance, which bans food trucks that use propane stoves and grills from operating in the busy downtown area.

The Houston Mobile Food Unit Collective has proposed that the mobile food unit ordinances be amended to allow trucks with propane tanks under 40 pounds to operate downtown, eliminate the required 60 feet of space between trucks and permit food trucks to provide up to three tables and six chairs for patrons.

Congress is set to make a brief appearance in Washington this week, then recess until after Election Day. That means a farm bill is likely to be left undone, just one of the many items on lawmakers' "to-do" lists that won't happen anytime soon.

KUT News

Almost one out of five Texas households is at risk of hunger, according to a new report by the United States Department of Agriculture.

The USDA says 18.5 percent of Texans households experienced “low or very low food security” from 2009 to 2011. The Texas rate exceeds the national average by almost four percent and is the third highest rate of “food insecurity” in the country.

The USDA considers a family “food secure” if it has enough nutritious food to eat without having to rely on emergency food supplies, scavenging or stealing food. The USDA has used food insecurity as a measure since 2006 because it says “hunger is an individual-level physiological condition” which is more difficult to track.

KUT News

A Stanford University study published today doubting the health benefits of organic fruits, vegetables and meats has some Texas farmers raising questions.

The study, authored by Dena Bravata, MD, MS, was published in today’s issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. It found no consistent differences in the vitamin content of organic food versus the cost-cutting, conventionally grown alternative.

“That study doesn’t really look at a lot of very important factors,” says Judith McGeary, founder of the Texas-based Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance. “Vitamin content isn’t the only issue, even for adults. One issue is the exposure to pesticides, which are to be blunt, poison. And the study did show that there was significantly less exposure to pesticides from organic produce than from conventional."

Todd Wiseman / Julie Jordan Scott, Texas Tribune

As Congress debates proposed cuts to programs that help feed needy families and school children, some school officials and advocates for low-income families are concerned about how the changes could affect Texans who rely on food stamps and reduced price school lunches.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, provides food for 3.6 million Texans each year. But some lawmakers argue that the program has grown too large and become too expensive, and they are looking for ways to cut SNAP in the 2012 Farm Bill.

"A lot of Texas families rely on SNAP, especially now," said Jonathan Lewis, food policy specialist for the Center for Public Policy Priorities, an Austin-based liberal think tank. "Families that already are having trouble paying for their electrical bill, rent and the gas in their car could struggle even more." 

Photo courtesy

The Austin Independent School District will be feeding free breakfast and lunch to children starting today. The summer food service program is in place at more than two dozen campuses.

Students don’t have to apply for the program. The free meals are open to any child ages one through 18 regardless of family income.

Photo by Mose Buchele for KUT News

Traditional chicken al carbon – chicken grilled over a charcoal-fired flame – has gotten a makeover. 

Austin-owned Fresa's Chicken al Carbon – an upscale take on the Mexican street-food staple found at modest establishments like El Pollo Rico – opened this April.

"I'm a big fan of El Pollo Rico, which is an existing concept in East Austin, and I thought it would be really wonderful to provide a similar product," said Margaret Vera, one of the restaurant's three partners. 

FDA Rules Corn Syrup Can't Change its Name to Corn Sugar

May 31, 2012

Corn-based-sweetener manufacturers may be singing a sour tune today. The Food and Drug Administration just ruled that the ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup that sweetens many of our candies, sodas and snacks cannot be called "corn sugar." But much like Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator character, they'll probably be baaack.

KUT News

Biking this week will save you more than just gas money. Bike-to-Eat Week (BTEW) is a project giving cyclists discounts at certain locally owned restaurants in Austin. All you have to do is show up on a bike to automatically receive a 10 percent discount on any of these restaurants.

“The idea is to bring restaurants which are part of the local community, the Austin community, on the radar of the cycling community,” says Christopher Stanton, executive director and founder of the Ghisallo Foundation, which created Bike-to-Eat Week. “This will as a result bring the idea of engaging with that cycling community at large to the restaurant.”

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

After four decades in business, local pizza purveyor Gatti’s Pizza is closing its campus location on Martin Luther King Boulevard this Monday, May 28.

The location is currently Austin’s oldest continuously running pizza place. The restaurant is closing its doors after it lost its lease with the landlord of the property.

The restaurant is somewhat of a fixture in the campus area, it’s buffet having filled untold numbers of undergraduate bellies since its founding in 1972. When KUT News visited this afternoon, the line was stretching out the door. (It doesn’t hurt that from now until closing, all buffet customers pay the “kid’s price” of $5.49.)

Photos by KUT News

Vote Anywhere During November's Presidential Election?

The Travis County Commissioners are meeting this morning to talk about using vote centers for the November 2012 Presidential election.

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir says vote centers, or countywide polling places, give all registered Travis County voters the option to vote at any polling location in the county on election day. Right now, that’s only allowed during early voting.

A Michigan teen says he got a taste of more than just roast beef when he bit into his Arby's sandwich last week. Ryan Hart was nearly finished with his meal when he tasted something chewy — an employee's finger.

The Jackson Citizen Patriot reports:

"'I was about to puke... It was just nasty.'

"The piece appeared to be the back of a finger, including the pad and extending beyond the first knuckle. ...