Cafe Josie has been a beloved Austin institution since 1997. Over the last three years, owner Cody Taylor has lovingly and enthusiastically transformed the neighborhood restaurant from its Caribbean roots to a modern American eatery, where Executive Chef Todd Havers crafts seasonal menus with global inspiration. When looking for a quiet, classy place for an exceptional night out without the noise and crowds, we often gravitate toward it.
Now, Taylor and Havers are introducing a twist to casual fine dining with “The Experience,” Austin’s first and only unlimited prix fixe menu. Beginning January 5, 2016, the new concept will allow guests to enjoy extensive selections from the nightly menu for $40 per person, $45 with dessert. It will be offered during dinner service Tuesday through Saturday, with an a la carte menu also available for those who prefer that option.
The Experience is basically an all-you-can-eat deal where diners can pick as many dishes as they want, with some limitations.
“This completely innovative concept will allow guests to have the complete Cafe Josie dining experience and enjoy all the perks of fine dining,” says Taylor. “I want people to come in, enjoy themselves, and leave full and satisfied. All I ask is that they don’t take advantage of me. Please don’t order all my ribs, don’t over order and ask for a doggie bag, things like that.”
Taylor came up with the idea after dining a few times at a local restaurant that offers a prix fixe all-you-can-eat sushi menu. “I thought, 'Could we do something like it at Josie?' I believe this is a game changer for casual fine dining, and should be a lot of fun for our diners," says Taylor.
Chef Havers will start things off with a 16- to 18-item menu with a Southern comfort slant that includes duck prosciutto with arugula, preserved lemon, and roasted peppers; fried chicken tenders with biscuits and caramelized garlic gastrique; and pork jowl with whipped blue cheese, sambal vin, and celery. Vegetarian options include grilled okra with chimichurri, pecan-pimento cheese with pepper jelly, and fried Brussels sprouts with Dijon-rum glaze and candied pecans, a favorite of regular customers.
Items will change seasonally, based on product availability and chef inspiration. There will also be a limited number of featured specials while they last. An affordable list of boutique wine and artisanal beer rounds out Cafe Josie's offerings.
"We will celebrate our 19th year in business in March of 2016," says Taylor. "It’s exciting to keep moving forward with innovative concepts to successfully take on the next 19 years.”