FOOD: Bethany Andrée created a special place five years ago. The artist and sometime hostess called it Snack Bar. The headline back then was about the epic struggle to transform the former El Sol y La Luna at the Austin Motel into a presentable eatery. Later, the extremely pleasant cafe on South Congress Avenue contended with its overly complicated menu of healthy snacks, later streamlined and updated. That’s all behind Andrée and crew, who toasted the anniversary at a Soiree that included intense bites of food and a full array of anecdotes. New general manager Mark Mansfield, most recently of New Orleans’ Commander’s Palace, formerly of Austin’s Zoot and the Courtyard, talked about Snack Bar as the “third place” — after home and work — where you meet friends and family. I’ve probably conducted more than 100 interviews in these cozy quarters. It’s one of my “third places.”
CHARITY: Soon, all services will all be under one roof. Austin Habitat for Humanity‘s three wings will be united at South First Street and Ben White Boulevard in the former Chuck E. Cheese spot near the long-ago grounds of Civil War-era Fort McGruder. The huge old industrial building with the high street profile will serve the construction, fundraising and storefront needs of the group that builds houses for the needy. On hand for a hard-hat party at the Four Seasons Hotel was Ebonie Trice, a Habitat beneficiary. Development director Georgia Thomsen also showed me plans for a mixed-use center that the nonprofit plans for far South Austin. For a short stand-up party — transferred from the lawn because of the 24-hour shower outside — this one was full of hopeful news.
HEALTH: Ben De Leon’s history of service led him to the Fifty. Taken from my story in the Statesman: “Attorney Ben De Leon has signed on with the Fifty. No, it’s not a cut-rate wannabe Spartan army. The Fifty is a group of young Austin leaders who back the new teaching hospital, Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas, which will work hand in hand with the UT Dell Medical School. Recently, the Fifty threw a movie-themed costume party at Brazos Hall (more on that later). Before that, the native Austinite met me for coffee at the original Austin Java location off North Lamar Boulevard to explain his Austin roots and his loyalty to the city’s health care providers.” http://shar.es/10AQve