All in the Family
Young restaurateur carries on Texas family tradition with Austin twist
Editor’s note: This is the inaugural year for CultureMap’s Top Texans Under 30, a program that celebrates the twentysomething power players making a difference in their industries and communities across the Lone Star State — and, in some cases, the world. The full list is here. For now, read all about Adam Jacoby.
As a high schooler, Adam Jacoby knew he wanted to expand his family’s Jacoby Feed and Seed in Melvin, Texas. After his first year at the University of Texas, he knew that Austin was the perfect place to do just that. Since its founding in 1981, the family business has expanded to include a farm and ranching operation, rail center, cafe, and Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile in East Austin.
Simple, Southern, and scrumptious, Jacoby’s ranch-to-table cuisine has wowed Austin since day one, earning recognition from the likes of Zagat, Texas Monthly, CultureMap, and more. Down-to-earth favorites like deviled eggs, shrimp and grits, and chicken-fried steak are staples on the supper menu, alongside vegetarian “meatloaf,” pickled vegetables, and decadent salads. All the beef sold at Jacoby’s is born, raised, and processed by the Jacoby family in Central Texas.
The mercantile portion of Jacoby’s — managed by his husband, Kris Swift, who also serves as creative director — features vintage and handmade goods, rounding out the distinctly Austin experience.
We caught up with the 29-year-old to learn more about his passion for Southern eats and his Texas roots.
CultureMap: What inspires you to do what you do?
Adam Jacoby: I am inspired by my parents. I am inspired by my husband, Kris. I am inspired by the talented group of people I have the pleasure of calling my team. Finally, I am inspired by traveling and experiencing different concepts around the world.
I really believe in the whole package when it comes to hospitality, design, food, and service. I love seeing it all come together.
CM: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to other Texans trying to make a difference by innovating?
AJ: It sounds so cheesy to say, but if you have an idea, even if it seems out of this world, stick to your guns! So many people said I was out of my mind to start Jacoby’s, deep on the East Side, especially at age 26. They were overly negative and told me all of the ways I was going to fail.
It has been the exact opposite of that. It has changed my life for the better in every way.
CM: Sum up Texas in three words.
AJ: Grit, glamour, home.
CM: What’s one thing that people might not know about you?
AJ: I am obsessed with dachshunds, and I secretly want to have a pack of them.
CM: Finish this sentence: “It’s a good day when … ”
AJ: It’s a good day when I get to spend some time with my family, have happy hour with my best friends, or go antiquing with Kris. Sometimes I’m lucky enough for all three!
RSVP now for the CultureMap Social: Top Texans Under 30 Edition, October 25 at 800 Congress, to celebrate Jacoby and his fellow Austin winners.