I absolutely LOVE Austin, Texas, especially the funky vibes and thriving street food culture.
Even though Austin is just shy of 1,000 miles away, you can still find an authentic taste right here in Atlanta at Schlotzsky's Austin Eatery in Duluth.
Brought to you by the Schlotzsky's team (yes, the one behind the well-known hot sandwiches, like their famous The Original), Schlotzsky's Austin Eatery is an homage to the brand's Texas roots with a twist.
Chef Maira Isabel, head of Research & Development with Schlotzsky's, brought the Austin Eatery Concept to life through a combination of her Hispanic roots and extensive culinary experience. She has a pretty sweet gig; it's literally her job to dream up new menu items and taste test them to find the perfect combinations. She drew on influences from her childhood in Cuba and Puerto Rico to bring flavorful, imaginative dishes with a bit of flair to the Austin Eatery menu.
The Austin Eatery is the first of it's kind, and we're beyond lucky to have it here in Atlanta. The atmosphere is bright, colorful, and eclectic, with much of the decor hand-picked by Chef Maira and her staff. If you've ever been to Austin, you'll feel right at home amongst the lighted metal signs and casual, cool live music.
I had the pleasure of trying the Schlotzsky's Austin Eatery during a recent visit with some fellow Atlanta food bloggers. The staff prepared an interactive meal for our group with commentary from Chef Maira on each course, plus a beer or wine pairing to complement each dish.
Schlotzsky's Austin Eatery takes the best of the traditional Schlotzsky's restaurants and kicks it up a notch - in addition to their sandwiches, flatbreads, and salads, the Austin Eatery also serves up sliders and tin meals (like their Brisketeer Mac & Cheese) with a uniquely Austin feel. Bread is baked in-house daily, a testament to the humble beginnings of Schlotzsky's, when they initially introduced The Original sandwich over 45 years ago.
At the Austin Eatery, Chef Maira created a few favorite sliders with inspiration from her personal life, from The Other Cuban (a mini Cuban sandwich on a Hawaiian roll) to the Sweet N' Sassy (filled with smoked brisket & apricot jam, a play on a sandwich she used to make for her family at home).
The tin meals are (in my humble opinion), the best showcases of Chef Maira's culinary prowess - the Picante Papusa was a stunning surprise, combining a sweet corn cake with smoky brisket, mozzarella, salsa verde, and a pineapple kale coleslaw. The aforementioned Brisketeer Mac & Cheese is sure to be a fan favorite, featuring cheesy mac topped with hickory smoked brisket, chipotle pesto, roasted red peppers, and savory BBQ sauce.
Check out some of my favorite moments from our Schlotzsky's Austin Eatery tasting:
The Picante Papusa, with a beer pairing from Monday Night Brewing (local to Atlanta!)
The Land & Sea and Saucy Chick tacos paired with a Red Hare Brewing beer
The Brisketeer Mac
A stack of sliders - The Other Cuban and the Sweet N' Sassy paired with a Hop Dang brew
The classic The Original sandwich, served deluxe-style (with double meat!)