East Austin is about to get a dose of Southern hospitality. Co-owner Rachelle Fox confirmed to CultureMap that The Cavalier will be open for business on March 9.
The new bar and restaurant is going into the space formerly occupied by the Dog & Duck Pub at 2400 Webberville Rd., which closed in November 2017. Although the Cavalier has been modernized a little with a new bar and paint job, the space will still cater to a neighborhood crowd with casual counter service cuisine, approachable cocktails, and a robust beer menu.
The opening food menu has a decidedly Southern bent. For snacks, that means deviled eggs served with crispy chicken skins and Louisiana hot sauce, and classic pimento cheese served with chips and bacon bits. Small plates include Burt's Meat Market boudin balls, charred green beans served with crispy shallot and guajillo honey, and fried pickled okra served with remoulade.
The entrees include lighter dishes like the chopped salad made with pulled chicken, sweet corn, tomatoes, and spiced pecans (with buttermilk dressing, of course) and a vegetarian dish with roasted acorn squash, barley, pepitas, blackberries, and whipped goat cheese. There’s also heartier fare like fried chicken with a side of black eyed peas and honey jalapeño slaw; a burger served with house pickles and white American cheese on a cornbread brioche bun; and shrimp and grits with andouille sausage, shallot and garlic relish, and lemon butter.
Both Fox and co-owner Chadwick Leger are industry vets (Leger most recently managed Shangri-La, while Fox was the general manager of Backspace), and their experience is clearly shown in an accessible bar program that does not sacrifice quality. The centerpiece of the operation is a choose-your-own adventure menu where customers can create a $7 cocktail based on a choice of five base spirits, six mixers, and six garnishes.
If you are not feeling creative, there is a small list of favorites like a classic Old Fashioned, an overproof rum-topped Zombie on draft, and the Red Headed Stranger, a frozen sipper made with Del Maguey Vida mezcal, strawberry puree, and lemonade. The wine selection is tiny, but covers all the bases with affordable glasses.
And since it would be sacrilege for a neighborhood bar to not offer beer, the Cavalier offers cans and drafts from local makers Austin Beerworks, Hops & Grain, St. Elmo, Friends & Allies, and more. A shot of Jim Beam and a can of Pearl is available for $6 for those who want to get the party started right, while cane sugar sodas will be on hand for designated drivers.
According to Fox, the Cavalier will open with limited hours of Sunday-Friday from 4 pm-midnight and Saturday from 4 pm-1 am. In April, they will begin opening for lunch at 11 am with the same closing times.
After taking a breather from the SXSW rush, the owners say they will host a grand opening party to welcome neighbors into the space.