We have a feeling West Austinites will be making plenty of vinaigrettes this spring. Artisan olive oil shop Con’ Olio will open a new flagship location in Bee Cave on April 5, bringing with it an eye-popping assortment of oils, fine vinegars, and other gourmet treats.
Owner Tabatha Conarko and her late husband, Jeff, founded the concept in 2009 as a way to showcase high-quality EVOO. She has become one of Austin’s preeminent experts on the subject, earning sensory evaluator certifications by both Italy’s Organizzazione Nazionale Assaggiatori Olio di Oliva and the UC Davis Olive Center.
After opening the first location in the Arboretum, the couple expanded to two more stores in 2013 — one in the heart of downtown and one at the Shops at the Galleria in Bee Cave. The downtown locale shuttered in late March, and the Galleria outpost will be closing when the new shop opens, allowing the company to consolidate operations and better showcase its passion for olive oil.
That deep love is reflected in Conarko’s new store, located in the Gateway at Falconhead shopping center at 3500 FM 620 S., Ste. F-400. Stainless steel vats of oil line the walls, allowing customers to try everything before they buy. Unlike some tasting bars that sample their wares with bread, Con’ Olio provides sipping cups that allow guests to enjoy each selection’s nuances in its purist form.
The flagship store also includes a full demonstration kitchen that allows the team to further spread the EVOO gospel and host events like Olive Oil 101 classes, a plant-based Mediterranean cooking series from holistic health coach Rachel Zierzow, and even a summer culinary camp for kids.
“Austin is such a foodie town,” said Conarko in a release. “People really want to learn about the food they are consuming and that is exactly what Con’ Olio does best — education.”
Teaching isn’t the store's entire mission, however. The outpost was envisioned as a community hub, complete with the addition of biodynamic wines and a covered outdoor patio that invites guests to linger after they shop.
All the aspects of the shop will be on full display from 10 am to 6 pm on April 13, when Con’ Olio celebrates its grand opening with specials and giveaways. From 3-5 pm, the boutique will serve bites from Paella, Tapas, and More and wines from Spicewood’s El Gaucho Winery — something that should make the encroaching tax day deadline a little easier to bear.