Coffee break

Quirky luncheonette quietly opens in the heart of downtown Austin

Quirky luncheonette quietly opens in the heart of downtown Austin

patika luncheonette Austin
Patika Luncheonette is downtown's latest option for meals on the go. Photo courtesy of Patika Luncheonette

As any downtown worker will tell you — the lunch struggle is real. The hunger pangs usually start flaring up around 10 am. By noon, they have so successfully addled the brain that almost anything looks edible, even a defeated chicken salad sandwich mummified in plastic wrap.

So, it is good news indeed that South Lamar Boulevard favorite Patika has stepped in with a new daytime option. Owner Andy Wiggington confirms that Patika Luncheonette officially debuted on July 10 after a quiet soft opening on June 24.

Wigginton says Patika was approached about opening in the 100 Congress building last summer. The team had been looking for a downtown space that would expand the kitchen and could support both South Lamar and possible future locations.

The unconventional spot, once the home of a corporate deli, also was appealing.

“Historically, we’ve always had an affinity for quirky spaces and tend to seek them out both at home in Austin and while traveling,” explains Wiggington, noting that the South Lamar shop is located in a former tax office. “We’re learning that we get a lot of satisfaction from taking underutilized spaces and turning them into something surprising, beautiful, and comfortable.”

Knowing the downtown audience would be different from their other shop, the team thought of luncheonettes and similar concepts for the new location. Wiggington says they envisioned it as a “pleasant, friendly escape from the occasional drudgery of office life.”

Patika Luncheonette provides that respite with uncomplicated deli offerings often tweaked with unexpected ingredients. To keep the convenience factor high, the full menu can be ordered online for pick-up, although a few seats are available for dining in.

For breakfast, the fare includes a variety of energizing dishes like an egg and bacon breakfast sandwich with grilled tomato and aji amarillo mayo; a “Healthy Andy” plate with three fried eggs and an arugula salad; and a salmon stuffed avocado with everything spice. A selection of breakfast tacos are also available. This is Austin, after all.

Lunch focuses on sandwiches like a French dip with gruyere and horseradish cream, a tuna melt on challah, and a classic BLT on a pretzel bun. The grab-and-go salads range from a straightforward Caesar to a superfood bowl with a dozen ingredients to combat the afternoon slump.

Those who need a little more charge can naturally order from a full coffee menu featuring beans from Patika’s brand Superthing and a few guests roasters.

“Coffee will always be a significant part of what we do,” says Wiggington.