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  • July 9, 2013
  • By m s
  • Comments Off on Drama & Tonic (Austin Chronicle)
  • in news

Drama & Tonic (Austin Chronicle)


Katherine Smith tends the Butterfly Bar.

Why Austin theatres are adding mixed drinks to the mix, offstage and on


"What'll you have?"

Used to be a simple enough question to answer at a local playhouse – I mean, if you had a thirst for an adult beverage, what were your options besides a can of Lone Star or whatever jug wine was cheapest at H-E-B that week? Now, though, you look behind the bar – not a concessions counter but a bona fide bar – and you face a range of lagers, ales, and varietals, and what's that lining the shelves with them? Liquor? Sure enough, enough vodkas and gins and bourbons and tequilas to drown the cast of Cats. Maybe you'd write this off as just another sign of the ritzification of Austin – the ousting of the cheap and casual (Pearl, Liberty Lunch) for the pricey and hipsterish (craft cocktails, SoCo) – but you're at one of the established indie theatres on the Eastside.

In March, the Vortex – yes, the home to all those ritual-theatre spectacles and homegrown musicals about fairy-tale heroines, goddesses, and elementals – obtained a liquor license for its in-house lounge, the Butterfly Bar, and now you can sip a mojito or martini with your next cyberopera. Theatre founder and Producing Artistic Director Bonnie Cullum has been working toward this for several years, steadily upgrading what was originally a bare-bones lobby area into a cozy venue for enjoying libations. The idea was to create a place where patrons might arrive early enough to have a few drinks before the show or stick around afterward instead of going somewhere else. If they liked it well enough, they might even show up on nights when there wasn't a play, just to wet their whistle. "Through the years, the challenge when people finish the show is always 'Where are we gonna go now?'" says Cullum. "If they could stay here, and the actors and audience could intersect and be able to talk about the show, and some of the people come in from Salvage Vanguard and some of the restaurants on Manor Road when they close, plus the neighbors, then it starts to be this great cross-section of people."

The plan appears to be working. Cullum reports a steady increase in business over the past year, such that the Butterfly now sees action all week long. "We're looking at this year's budget being double what it was two years ago, and that's primarily because of the bar," she says. "Now we have a barback every night, because it's that busy."

Read full article here...

  • July 9, 2013
  • By m s
  • Comments Off on All in the Patrizi Family (Austin Chronicle Review)
  • in news

All in the Patrizi Family (Austin Chronicle Review)


Patrizi's Meatballs in Red Sauce

New East Austin food truck culls 50 years of family values



Italian food does not typically cater to trailer truck gastronomy. It’s meant for the big   table, the long time. It’s the unofficial food variety of family reunions, of intimate dates. You sit; you drink your wine; you fill up early on bread. And when it’s all over, you sit and drink your wine some more.

It’s with that understand in mind that my buddy and I cruised down Manor Road Tuesday night to check out the latest in Austin’s Kickstarter-funded culinary establishments: Patrizi’s, a spaghetti-slangin’ Italian food truck run by Nicholas Patrizi, the man behind the Jalopy cart on 15th and San Antonio Streets. The place comes inspired by a Beaumont restaurant of the same name, one Nic’s grandfather ran for fifty years. So the recipes at this place have been handed down from big Patrizi, and surely from a few bigger Patrizis before him.

Today’s iteration of Patritzi's rests in the northeast corner of the backyard belonging to Butterfly Bar and its neighboring performance space, the Vortex, on a tidy patch of dirt now canopied under wood framing and a sheet of corrugated steel, that Nic’s cousin Matt built himself. It’s nice. It’s inviting and comfortable, and, for a food trailer, inherently Italian. Each table’s dressed with an olive oil bottle holding greenery and garnishes, and the seats look like they were pulled out of a diner. If that's not the same as the red-and-white checked tablecloth, it’s the next best thing.

Nicholas Patrizi stood present in the food truck window when we stepped up to the counter. With the help of one employee, he answered questions and talked about each dish. My buddy and I ordered the pomodoro with ricotta ($10) off the truncated menu, which Patrizi promised will expand to its full potential once they get themselves out of the first week run, and the Cacio E Pepe ($10): two cheeses (grand padano and pecorino) with black pepper and oil. We also picked up a small caesar salad –homemade dressing, pretty good! – and three pieces of bruschetta ($2 for 1, $5 for 3), which came stacked with either mushrooms or tomatoes.

My buddy was inside at Butterfly Bar when Patrizi arrived with his order. “What’d you get?” he asked quite quickly, unaware of my standing with the Chronicle. “Cacio E Pepe?” I nodded in agreement. “Full order?” Full order. “Full order. Full order… With the Wop burger?” he asked “No. No. No,” he said. “Just the full order.”

Three minutes later, a full order of pasta: a light, portable-if-necessary fistful of freshly made fettuccine tossed lightly with the cheese and the peppers. I thought it was fantastic. My buddy, who’d already considered picking up a Wop burger to-go, thought the Cacio was even better than his order, which I noticed carried a heavier consistency than mine.

About that Wop burger, though, because it raised a red eyebrow at our table. He's a bold man who will name a hamburger after some slang against his kin. I had the right to be curious about its makeup.

“Dude, he takes a meatball and makes a hamburger out of it, with tomato sauce for ketchup, and padano cheese on top,” my buddy explained. Holy canoli. The case against Italian bar food had officially been whacked.

Patrizi came to check on our table as we made our way through the final quarter of our collective meals. He told us about the concerns and the neighborhood (Is Patrizi’s too pricey? Those running the shop know they’ve set set up in a gentrifying area, though TacoMex’s $1.50 tacos still loom around the corner), his plans (more offerings, washable plates held over from his grandfather's restaurant), and the swelling crowd that first night (“Over eighty people showed up. We were expecting only twenty or thirty.”). When he finished, he asked if we'd had the chance to try the Wop burger. “No, sir,” we said, and he retreated into his truck.

Patrizi returned five minutes later with a Wop burger ($6) for our table. It’s delicious. It’s also just a meatball sub named in jest. But for Patrizi, it represented something different. For him, it’s an Italian delicacy that you can hold in one hand.

Austin hasn’t had much to offer in the ways of accessible, dexterous Italian spots that’ll fill your soul without doing the same to your belly. Because of Patrizi’s, that’s no longer an issue. And for that, we have an old restaurant in Beaumont and a family full of fine recipes to thank.

Read full review here...

  • July 9, 2013
  • By m s
  • in news


nightmustfall for wordpress

Ben McLemore and Mary Kennelly star in Night Must Fall

Different Stages continues its 2012 - 2013 season with Emlyn Williams’s classic mystery Night Must Fall. In a bungalow in a forest in Essex lives Mrs. Bramson, a fussy hypochondriac. She pays her niece Olivia a small salary to act as her companion and the household also includes her cook, Mrs. Terence, and her maid Dora. When Dora gets pregnant, Mrs. Bramson is determined to get the boyfriend to marry her. At the same time, a woman disappears from a nearby hotel. The police begin investigations and, when Dora brings home her boyfriend Dan, Olivia immediately notices that his behavior is not quite normal. He is perpetually putting on an act and soon he worms his way into the affections of Mrs. Bramson, leaves his job as pageboy at the hotel and moves in. Then the woman’s body is found – headless…

Directed by Norman Blumensaadt (Quills), Night Must Fall features Ben McLemore (Doctor Faustus) as Dan, Mary Kennelly (You Can’t Take it with You) as Mrs. Bramson and Bethany Harbaugh (Plus meets Minus) as Olivia. The cook is Played by Paula Gilbert (Too Many Husbands) and the maid by Laura Artesi (Two Gentlemen of Verona). Daniel Norton (A Skull in Connemara) plays the police inspector, and Jonathon Urso (Is Life Worth Living?) plays Olivia’s boyfriend. Terrie Cooper (You Can’t Take it With You) plays Nurse Libby.

Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 7pm. No performance July 4. Added performance 8pm Wednesday, July 10. Tickets are Pick Your Price: $15, $20, $25, and $30.

Contact us

Name: Butterfly Bar Austin
Phone: 512-478-5282
Address: 2307 Manor Rd Austin, TX 78722