You can’t miss the big lighted sign on the wall. “Austin Born and Bread” is the mantra of Schlotzsky’s Austin Eatery, a new concept rolled out recently in Central Texas.Started in 1971 in downtown Austin, the casual restaurant offered just one sandwich, known as The Original. Made with sourdough buns baked fresh in the store daily, that sandwich launched a franchise that is now more than 370 restaurants strong.
Located in Bee Cave, the concept is the first of Schlotzsky’s to add local favorites inspired by the food truck culture. There’s a happy, comfortable hometown feel to the restaurant that replicates the eclectic vibe of Austin with bold graphics on the walls and use of reclaimed wood and found objects in the decorative motif. Colorful murals remind one of the brand’s Austin roots.
“The Schlotzsky’s brand and culture was built on our Austin heritage, and we are thrilled to pioneer the new restaurant evolution in the city where our story started nearly 47 years ago,” said Kelly Roddy, President of Schlotzsky’s.
The goal is to appeal to all ages, from youngsters to millennials to seniors. Many of the new menu items are sharable, a concept that is growing especially among young adult customers and families. The restaurant also sells beer and wine and provides seating options including booths, tables, and outdoor dining.
I was invited to preview new menu items prior to the grand opening at the Bee Cave location and left with some new favorites. Created by Corporate Chef Maira Isabel Morales, the menu now includes sliders, macs, and tacos in addition to traditional fan favorites like sandwiches, pizza, soups, and salads. Popular with Texas diners, the regionally-based selections—all made with the freshest ingredients--will likely be added to other Schlotzsky’s in the future.
When you go to Schlotzsky’s be sure to expand your taste palate, whether you prefer mild or spicy, with scrumptious offerings like Sweet n’ Sassy Slider, Aloha Brisket Slider, or Chipotle Steak Slider. Taco varieties include Saucy Chick (loaded with hot sauce), Smokin’ Hawaiian, and My Jam Brisket (with a secret ingredient for a unique taste combination).
Baked in a tin are two new dishes—Brisketeer Mac (yummy mac and cheese combo) and Cheesy Bacon Tots, each enough for a meal. Left Coast Flatbread is a tasty combination of chicken, bacon, and avocado (yeah!) and Margherita Flatbread works for those who prefer vegetarian fare.
Don’t forget to order The Original once you’ve sampled the new items. Its 13 ingredients will melt in your mouth and soothe your tummy with familiar warm goodness.
Photos by Beverly Burmeier