Austin’s Épicerie Is a Groceraunt, Combining a Café With Gourmet Groceries and Boutique Wines
From street food to fine dining, New Orleans must be one of my all-time favorite culinary cities. The food is always on point. Now I don’t need to travel as far for the same taste of Nola — Sarah McIntosh, owner and executive chef of Épicerie, came from Shreveport, Louisiana, to open her grocery/restaurant in Austin.
The French-Cajun café is nestled in the historic neighborhood of Rosedale in North Central Austin, where you will find charming homes built during the 1930s. The menu is subject to change, contingent upon the availability of local seasonal ingredients. Beets are delivered by Springdale Farms from 7th Street. The hot sauce served is White Label, made by Jeff White, an Austinite who experimented with recipes out of his garage. Bread is provided by the downtown 6th Street bakery, Easy Tiger. Chef de cuisine Keith Abate built the charcuterie program and makes the pâtés and cured meats in house. Local draft beers are also available, as well as an extensive selection of boutique wines difficult to find outside of vineyards in Europe and other regions worldwide.
I decided to invite my good friend Linda to join me for brunch and a restaurant review. After all, she graduated from the University of Louisiana and considers herself a native of her bayou state. The ultimate taste test must involve the beignets, which are deep-fried puffy pastries covered in powdered sugar. This French dessert is served at the world-famous Café du Monde in New Orleans. It took her a few bites before giving her final verdict, and I had a feeling she would be quick to defend her hometown pride. In the end, she did not officially declare the contest a tie but shared that Épicerie’s were the best beignets — and closest to Café du Monde’s — that she has ever tasted outside of Louisiana. That sounds like a clear winner to me. I challenge you to head over to Ėpicerie to taste for yourself.