Wendy’s in the Texas Union building closing Thursday

Season those French fries with tears and don’t let your wails keep you from throwing back a chocolate Frosty. The Wendy’s in the Texas Union on the University of Texas at Austin campus is closing Thursday, according to the UT Unions social media accounts.

“We are sad to announce that today is the last day that Wendy’s will be open in the #TexasUnion,” read a tweet and an Instagram post both posted Thursday afternoon. “However, you can still visit Wendy’s at our Jester location. We apologize for the inconvenience. We are working to identify a new vendor as quickly as possible!”

Wendy’s is no longer listed as a dining option at the Texas Union on the University Unions website.

Junior (Ishmael Mohammed Jr.) strikes a familiar pose as he rings up a student in line at Wendy’s in the Student Union at UT in 2003. “This is my show, I’m the king.” Laura Skelding/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Wendy’s has been a longtime fixture in the university’s student union. The fast food spot gained some fame in the UT community and beyond from its most famous employee, Ishmael Mohammed Jr., aka “Junior the Wendy’s Guy,” who was known for his lightning-fast order-taking skills. He was “the Rachmaninoff of the register, holding the record for taking the most orders and sales within a 30-minute span, 246 orders for $1,035 — or one order every 7.3 seconds,” according to a 2014 American-Statesman story. Mohammed, who died in 2016, was also the subject of short documentary in 2006. Nikolas Ray Eller was sentenced last year to two years in jail for delivering a punch that killed the popular fast food cashier.

Austin drag queen returns for another lap on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’

Sashaying away early from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” couldn’t stop one Austin drag queen’s rising star. Cynthia Lee Fontaine is back in the competition for season 9.

RuPaul’s Drag Race season 8 premiere featuring Austin’s own Cynthia Lee Fontaine, at Ironwood Hall on Friday, Feb. 26, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Erika Rich for American-Statesman)

The zany performer, who was eliminated in the third episode of the show’s eighth season last year, was revealed Friday as the ninth and current season’s secret 14th contestant. Fontaine also announced the news on her Instagram.

The flamboyant comedy performer, a fixture at Oilcan Harry’s in downtown Austin, was diagnosed with stage 1 liver cancer shortly after returning to town from filming season eight. Fontaine (aka Carlos Hernandez) has since gone into remission, and the storyline featured prominently in her return to the show.

View this post on Instagram

Good afternoon miss amores: Today marks one year I received my first Chemo treatment for my live cancer stage 1. Today I can say I'm blessed because I'm on remission for almost 7 months! Thanks to my parents for been my guardians and angel true all this journey (maria and Rene on the pic) thanks to my sister @acidbetty for taking care of me and her friendship!!!! @misslailamcqueen you were an angel and friend support me in this experience te amo !!! To my best friends Miguel, Jeremy , Gloria , Javier and Chris love you guys !!!! To my family , and drag family thank you !!! To world of wonder and logo tv thank you for everything!!!!!!To all miss amores cucu fans you are amazing!!! Do not forget to help, support this cause and spread love !!! Blessings and Celebrate life !! #misscongeniality #happycucu #letskickcancerinthecucu #rpdr 🎗🎗🎗

A post shared by Cynthia Lee Fontaine (@cynthialeefontaine) on

“It’s a wonderful experience to represent Austin, Texas, my Hispanic community, and my community here in Austin,” Fontaine told Austin360 before the debut of “Drag Race” season 8. “We are equipped with great performers — female, male, androgynous, campy, trashy, whatever — and this city provides everything in between. So I’m just proud that I can represent a little piece of that and share it with the entire world.”

Oilcan Harry’s will host “Drag Race” viewing parties all season on Friday nights, so you can root for Fontaine on her home turf. Watch Fontaine’s “Meet the Queens” interview for season 9 below.

These famous Austin fries were named some of the best in U.S.

You know what fries go well with? Burgers. You know what else they go well with? The endorphin-rushing satisfaction of national culinary praise.

(Photo by Dale Rice/AMERICAN-STATESMAN file)

The locally beloved French fries served at Hyde Park Bar & Grill have been named among the 20 best in the country by Food & Wine magazine. From the magazine’s accolade:

“Hyde Park treats its fries like many people treat fried chicken: by soaking cut potatoes in buttermilk, battering them, and then frying them. They’re served with a side of mayo that’s kicked up with jalapeños and dill. Possibly the most famous fries in Austin, and deservedly so.”

As a news release from the restaurant points out, this is not the first honor bestowed upon the fried tubers. Last year, the dish also made Food Network Magazine’s list of “10 Best French Fries in the US” list and People’s “15 Best French Fries in the US” list. The fries have been on the Hyde Park Bar & Grill menu since the restaurant opened in 1982.

MORE: Here’s where to celebrate National French Fry Day in Austin

We should also mention that Austin360 restaurant critic Matthew Odam calls the Hyde Park fries some of the most “overrated” in Austin.

READ: Whataburger puts French fry pedicabs in Austin for SXSW

Also on the list with an Austin connection: the duck fat fries at Salty Sow. Food & Wine spotlights the egg-and-béarnaise-topped dish at the gastropub’s Arizona location, though you can get the same fries at the Austin location on Manor Road.

Soon you’ll be able to get a tattoo and a haircut in the same place, because Austin

If you’ve ever gotten a haircut and left the salon wishing you had made a more permanent change than trimmed sideburns, we have good news. A combination barbershop and tattoo parlor is opening in Austin next month.

(Photo by Brian Nixon)

Tried & True Barber & Tattoo is set to open April 10 at 6501 South Congress Ave., according to CultureMap Austin.

MORE: Ingrid Michaelson got a tattoo before her show in Austin

From CultureMap:

“In the early 20th century, it was common for a tattoo artist to rent space in the back of a barbershop. Plus, with both professions being so similar in nature, it’s too cool of an idea not to continue the tradition,” say the owners in a joint statement.

On its Facebook page, Tried & True writes that it “is a full service barber shop and tattoo studio offering clipper & scissor cuts, straight razor shaves, and beard trimming and custom tattoo design.” Walk-ins will be accepted, as well as appointments.

PHOTOS: Star of Texas Tattoo Art Revival in January

CultureMap quotes the owners as saying that South Austin is a “hidden gem” not yet overrun with chain stores, which makes it the right spot for their buzz-and-ink boutique. However, it seems like such a one-stop-shop personal style headquarters would be welcomed just about anywhere in city limits, because we do love our tattoos.

RELATED READ: Austin man gets tattoo of viral blue and black dress

Just moved to Austin and hate SXSW? This might hit close to home

Listen, we’re all entitled to our opinions, no matter how long we’ve lived in Austin. Relative newcomers and lifers alike, however, will appreciate this satirical article headlined “Woman Who Just Moved to Austin Excited to Complain About SXSW for First Time.”

Pine box Overcoat performs on Sixth Street during SXSW on Wednesday, March 15, 2017.
Erika Rich for American-Statesman

A sample of the South by Southwest vitriol of a fictional Austinite who “moved to Austin less than three weeks ago,” according to Onion-esque site The Hard Times:

“I’ve got a list of popular places and how long it takes to get there, so I can tweet about how much longer than usual it’s taking,” she said. “Then there’s the insulting names for the festival, like, ‘Suck by Suckwest’ or ‘South by Worthless.’ Also, if anyone asks, I’m just going to say the last year it was good was 1996. I figure there’s no way I’ll actually run into someone who was here in 1996 — no way could they afford it now.”

Come for that gem, stay for the great “Austin City Limits” joke. Read the full satirical takedown here, and read tweets from real Austinites who sound very similar in our hater’s guide.

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is making SXSW 100 percent more unsettling

One way to promote a TV show at South by Southwest: opening a pop-up chicken restaurant. Another way: terrifying people to death. Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” went for option No. 2 this weekend in Austin.

Photo by Omar Gallaga/American-Statesman

As Statesman Shots co-hosts Omar Gallaga and Tolly Moseley explained in an episode of the podcast Saturday, they came across stoically marching ladies in red on their way to the Los Pollos Hermanos installation promoting AMC’s “Better Call Saul.” They were not the only people startled by the guerilla marketing for the dystopian drama.

Happy nightmares, SXSW. Feel free to wash the chilling image of Margaret Atwood’s story brought to life out of your mind with some more of that delicious fried chicken from Los Pollos Hermanos.

http://players.brightcove.net/1418563061/default_default/index.html?videoId=5355631356001

[h/t iO9]

A hater’s guide to SXSW and Austin’s longest week

For every free taco or Lone Star you throw down your gullet in glee, fair fest-goer, remember that there is a very vocal contingent of Austinites that are NOT HERE AT ALL for the annual sprawl of South by Southwest.

Like, at all.

http://players.brightcove.net/1418563061/default_default/index.html?videoId=5352387633001

Sound familiar? If you’ve lived in Austin long enough, you’ve heard all the classic lines. “I miss the old Austin.” “Austin used to be way cooler back in the day.” “Austin is turning into California.” “Don’t move here.” “I am terrified of change and the happiness of others when it does not align with my personal interests.”

OH, YOU DON’T HATE SXSW? Find an unofficial party, dude

Like clockwork, SXSW 2017 has brought out haters of all stripes on social media. Some decide to take extreme measures of self-care …

… some feel the anger the most in their wallet …

… some find the political even in a festival …

https://twitter.com/Rambobiggs/status/840280657465098241

… some are hurtling headfirst into a storm they never anticipated …

… and some are just jealous, tbh.

Even if you were once all about that #FestLife, you’re not immune to the hater virus.

Let’s not forget that there are indeed legitimate grievances to be had.

Some people manage to suppress their hateration in the dancery just long enough to make some serious coin off of the throngs of visitors.

No matter your personal feelings on SXSW and Austin itself, it’s important to think about what the cloud of negativity looks like to an outsider.

PHOTOS: SXSW Day 2

There’s a lot to like about the fest, but to each their own. If you need to escape the chaos, why not stuff your face far, far away?

Coming to SXSW: a pop-up ‘beach’ so you can surf in downtown Austin

You know it’s almost South by Southwest when you find out that a TV network is putting a beach in the middle of the city. So on that note, happy SXSW! TNT is installing a big ol’ surf simulator at Congress Avenue and West Fourth Street from March 11-13.

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Rendering of the surf pop-up.

As a promotion for the “adrenaline-charged” series “Animal Kingdom,” which returns to the small screen on May 30, the cable network has announced a “pop-up beach complete with a giant FlowRider surf simulator” meant to bring the thrill of SoCal to downtown Austin. Attendees will be able to test their surf skills with help from some professional surfers (and the stars of the show might catch a wave or two, as well). There will be a beach lounge for those not ready or willing to hang ten. The beach will operate from 11 a.m to 7 p.m. each day.

Also at the pop-up beach: a sneaker bar, a beer garden, a live graffiti wall, a cast meet-and-greet on March 11 and plenty of “Animal Kingdom” swag.

So if you’ve ever felt like Texas beaches are inferior to those of the California coast, keep it to yourself for just one week.

VOTE NOW: It’s time to pick the cutest couple in Austin

We asked, and 206 couples answered the call. Now, it’s up to you to decide who is the cutest couple in Austin.

Voting is now open for the 2017 Austin360 Cutest Couples Contest. Let us just tell you, the competition is fierce. You can cast your ballot until Feb. 10 at 5 p.m., and the pair of paramours that scores the most votes will score a $100 gift card for the perfect Valentine’s Day date.

cutest-couple

Registration is required to vote, but information will only be used to verify valid votes.

VOTE NOW FOR YOUR FAVORITE COUPLE!

Alamo Drafthouse vs. Apple? If iPhone function rumors are true, maybe so

What do you love more: your iPhone or Alamo Drafthouse? The time to choose might be nigh.

According to several news outlets, rumors began to swirl at the end of last year that a new “theatre mode” is coming to iOS 10.3, complete with a popcorn-shaped icon in the device’s control center. I know, I know. The idea of using your phone in a theatre at all, special mode or not, is anathema to any concientious Austin moviegoer.

A gathering of Star Wars fans for a "lightsaber" vigil to honor the late actress and writer Carrie Fisher at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016. (Stephen Spillman / for AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
A gathering of Star Wars fans for a “lightsaber” vigil to honor the late actress and writer Carrie Fisher at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016. (Stephen Spillman / for AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Apple has had a patent on such technology since 2012, according to the website Apple Insider. An excerpt of the patent’s abstract on that website mentions a wireless device capability “useful for a variety of reasons, including for example to disable noise and/or light emanating from wireless devices (such as at a movie theater).”

As you can guess, one local cinema institution is having none of that.

Alamo Drafthouse is renowned for its strict “no talking, no texting” policy, which promises swift theater ejection for anyone bold enough to whip out their phone during a screening. It’s so ingrained in the theater chain’s identity that their pre-show PSAs, which are often star-studded, have become as much a part of the experience as the movie itself.

On Wednesday, Alamo Drafthouse tweeted “That’s weird. Our phones already have theater mode….” along with a screenshot of an iPhone’s shutdown screen.

On Thursday, Drafthouse founder and CEO Tim League issued a statement, which the theater tweeted, too.

READ: Fans flock to Alamo Drafthouse in force to mourn hero, Carrie Fisher

“I see nothing but rumors swirling around this alleged functionality, so I can only say the following at this point: if this enhancement turns out to be a means to make it easier to text in cinemas, I may have to book a ticket to Cupertino and pack my can of whoop-ass,” League said in the statement. “I have confidence, however, that a fellow Tim would not make such a mistake.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook might want to think twice before crossing a man who once got former Texas Gov. Ann Richards to throw a man out of a theater for talking. It was in one of those PSAs, sure, but the point still stands. Remember: Drafthouse doesn’t play around with texting, even if you leave them a voicemail about it.