The lion of soul food in Austin, Texas.

Hoover Alexander could retire tomorrow and leave a giant, pork chop-shaped imprint on the food scene in Austin that would last for a millennia. Mr. Alexander began his career at the legendary Nighthawk-founded in 1932 by Harry Akin, a man who would go onto become Mayor of Austin.

Alexander washed dishes, bussed tables, tended bar and cooked at the iconic restaurant before eventually moving on and opening his own place; Toulouse on 6th street, still spoken of in reverential tones by Austinites of a certain age.

After closing Toulouse, Alexander had a journeyman’s career of sorts for a few years before opening Hoover’s Home Cooking on Manor Road in 1998. Fourteen years later, the East Austin soul food cafe is still going strong.

About the photo: We attended a soul food brunch at the Carver Museum last weekend as part of the Food For Black Thought symposium. Hoover Alexander provided the food for the event and it was absolutely delicious. Creamy cheesy grits, scrambled eggs, Elgin sausage and biscuits and gravy were heaped up on attendees plates as we got ready for a full day of lectures and films.

read more about the symposium here:

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