Welcome to AM Intel in the time of coronavirus, a round-up of the city’s newest bits of restaurant-related intel. Follow Eater on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date details on how COVID-19 is impacting the city’s dining scene.
TABC reverses guidelines on whether breweries can serve beer on patios
Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission has reversed its previous guidelines that would have allowed breweries to reopen their patios for service, Fox 7 news in Austin has reported. An email sent to breweries from the Texas Craft Brewers Guild stated that TABC has reversed its stance on whether breweries could serve beer premises on outdoor patios. Breweries must now transition to selling beer to-go only. The Craft Brewers Guild has said that TABC’s decision-making shows a lack of leadership, planning and communication.
Last week, the TABC ruled that breweries must count beer sold to distributors in addition to direct customers when determining if they meet the 51% of alcohol sales that distinguishes bars from restaurants. That caused breweries like Saint Arnolds, which has a massive restaurant and beer garden, to be classified as a bar and not a restaurant, which meant they were ordered to close under Governor Greg Abbott’s rollback of his Open Texas Plan.
It’s because of TABC decisions like these that several Texas brewers have joined together to form the advocacy group Save Texas Breweries.
Houston now has a drive-through strip club, thanks to Covid-19
Necessity is the mother of invention, and many businesses have had to pivot due to social distancing guidelines in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Amongst those businesses: strip clubs. Houston is now home to the city’s first drive-thru strip club, located on Winrock Boulevard, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Vivid Gentleman’s Club has set up a white tent in which dancers perform behind metal barricades. Patrons must stay in their cars, and are limited to a two-song performance in order to make room for the next customer, but are also able to order burgers, beer, and even tip the dancers, many whom have struggled financially as bars and other businesses have closed.
The idea is not entirely new — there’s a drive-thru club in Portland, Oregon, and a similar business opened in San Antonio back in March.
Celebrity chef Tim Love opens Tex-Mex ghost kitchen in Houston
Chef Tim Love, known for his Lonesome Dove Bistro restaurants and Food Network cooking shows, has opened a line of ghost kitchens focusing on Tex-Mex cuisine in four Texas cities, including Houston, Austin, Fort Worth and Denton, according to CultureMap. Burritos, Fajitas and ‘Ritas opened on July 21 in Houston out of Woodshed Smokehouse at 3728 Wakeforest Avenue. As the restaurant’s name implies, it focuses on the three areas of Tex-Mex cooking, offering dishes like vegan summer squash burritos, handcrafted margs and homemade salsa fresca, all available for delivery and takeout only. Diners can place orders at ChefTimLove.com.
Luby’s reports $25 million loss, continues push for sale
Luby’s, the Texas-based cafeteria chain founded in 1947, has reported a staggering $25 million loss in sales for the second quarter of 2020, in part due to to the coronavirus shutdown, according to a story in the Houston Chronicle. The chain was already struggling due to changes in modern dining habits, and began courting buyers in June. The story saysthat loss amounts to an 80% drop in sales compared to the same time period in 2019.
In 2001, the owners of the Pappas family of restaurants bought a majority stake in Luby’s with the intention of revising the beloved cafeteria chain. But Pappas has also struggled during the pandemic, announcing the closure of five Houston-area Pappas location in June. It’s unclear as of yet what the loss of revenue will mean for Luby’s.