Now open in Austin: Party Barn is back, drive-in movies downtown, burgers in North Austin and more

Buddy's Burger is open in Northeast Austin off of Cameron Road. (Courtesy Buddy's Burger)
Buddy's Burger is open in Northeast Austin off of Cameron Road. (Courtesy Buddy's Burger)

Buddy's Burger is open in Northeast Austin off of Cameron Road. (Courtesy Buddy's Burger)

See the latest in new business openings around Austin.

1. Chicken Salad Shoppe opened at 7433 Burnet Road, Austin, in August. The new restaurant from husband-and-wife team Ivan and Molly Mills initially started as an idea for a catering company before the owners pivoted to delivering family meals and boxed lunches to hospital workers during the COVID-19 crisis, then opening their own restaurant. 512-790-7790.

2. Buddy's Burger opened in July at 9001 Cameron Road, Ste. 101, Austin. The local burger restaurant was started by family members Saad, Zain and Isha Fidai. Saad Fidai is a recent graduate of the University of Houston, while Zain and Isha Fidai are current students at The University of Texas. They said they plan to expand to more locations in the Austin area soon. 512-401-3325.

3. Party Barn, located at 3300 Guadalupe St., Austin, opened Aug. 20. New co-owners Robert Ellis and Meador Hall bought the business after the drive-thru beer and wine store initially closed March 30 after 42 years in business. The new owners installed new walls, insulation, coolers and product selections when they reopened the business, according to a social media post. 512-451-8508.

4. Kung Acupuncture opened Sept. 1 at 812 W. 11th St., Austin. Dr. Debbie Kung left a career in the fashion industry to earn master's and doctorate degrees in Chinese medicine, then started her practice in New York City before opening her physical location in Austin. 512-900-1932.

5. Blue Starlite opened a drive-in theater location on the roof of the parking garage at 300 San Antonio St., Austin, beginning Sept. 2. This is the third Austin-area location for Blue Starlite, which also runs mini urban drive-in theaters in the Mueller neighborhood and Round Rock. In addition to movie screenings through the end of October, the Downtown Austin Alliance will work with performing arts organizations and artists to provide community programming as well as local restaurants to provide pick-up and delivery orders. 707-787-5072.

6. Gyu-Kaku opened at 1211 E. Fifth St., Austin, on Aug. 18. The Japanese restaurant has locations in 18 states and Canada, including six other restaurants in Texas. During its soft opening, it is open 5-9 p.m. for parties of up to six. 737-209-0531.

7. High Noon, located at 2000 E. Cesar Chavez St., Austin, opened Sept. 11. The new bar at the former location of Craftsman bills itself as a blend of retro and psychedelic styles. On its Facebook page, it is described as "part West Texas, part West World."

8. Sweet Pea, a company that provides lunches for children who are learning virtually at home or in a pod, launched Sept. 8, the first day of virtual learning in Austin ISD. Founder Nicole Fabian previously worked as operations manager for Revolution Foods, a company based in California that makes healthy school food. Parents choosing Sweet Pea's meals can opt for vegetarian and gluten-free options.

9. Austin Oyster Co., a company that delivers, shucks and serves fresh oysters to customers, began operating in April. Founder Brendan Yancy, a product strategist at vacation rental company Vrbo, ships oysters from Massachusetts and Maine. Austin Oyster Co. employees set up outside, wear protective gear, stay at an appropriate distance and handle cleanup.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Zain Fidai's name.
By Jack Flagler
Jack is the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Central Austin and Southwest Austin editions. He began his career as a sports reporter in Massachusetts and North Carolina before moving to Austin in 2018. He grew up in Maine and graduated from Boston University, but prefers tacos al pastor to lobster rolls. You can get in touch at


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