A bill filed last Thursday in the Texas legislature aims at making Gov. Greg Abbott's waiver, which allows restaurants to sell alcohol to-go and for delivery, permanent.

SB 298/HB 1094, a joint bill filed by State Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-District 9) and Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth), permits restaurants with a mixed beverage permit and food and beverage certificate from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to sell beer, wine, and cocktails with food orders for pickup and delivery through third-party delivery companies. All beverages must be either sealed in original-use containers or tamper-proof containers with correct labeling. 

"The Texas Restaurant Association and our members applaud Chairman Hancock, Chairman Geren, and all of the restaurant allies whose support resulted in the filing of SB 298/HB 1094 today,” said Emily Williams Knight, Ed.D., president and CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association, in a release on Thursday. "Without Governor Abbott’s temporary waiver allowing restaurants to safely sell alcohol with their to-go food orders, Texas would have seen many more restaurants—small and large—close their doors and lose their employees because of this pandemic. We know the road to recovery will be long, which is precisely why we need tools like alcohol to-go to become permanent. But even more than that, the filing of this bill is exciting because it demonstrates that Texas is ready, not just to rebuild, but to rebuild stronger than ever."

The new Velvet Taco in the Heights.

The newest location of Velvet Taco is now open at 2001 N Shepherd Dr in the Heights. The third Houston locale of this DFW-based chain has drive-thru service, more than 80 seats inside, and more than 50 seats outside.

"The Heights is an ideal neighborhood for our newest Houston location with its walkability and convenient location within the city," said Clay Dover, Velvet Taco CEO, in a release. "We see this location on Shepherd Avenue as a great opportunity to continuing providing our Houston guests with our globally-inspired scratch-made tacos and ‘kick-ass’ margaritas in a unique space."

Some quick hiring news at Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House in San Leon: Chris Loftis, who has worked at Number 13 in Galveston and Perry's Steakhouse & Grille in Baybrook, and was brought in to help with the restaurant's opening, has been given the role of chef de cuisine. Loftis will work under executive chef Joe Cervantez at the new seafood-heavy restaurant.