Rising Again

Texas French Bread continues to rise, announcing return to campus area this fall

Texas French Bread continues to rise, announcing return to campus area

Texas French Bread
Texas French Bread has purchased a neighboring lot and plans to serve food again in the fall. Texas French Bread

On the heels of recent (and welcome) news that Texas French Bread would soon resume wholesale baking, the beloved bakery and restaurant released even better news today: they’re coming back to their home turf in the North Campus neighborhood.

The bakery, which celebrated 40 years in Austin last year, sustained a fire in January 2022 that rendered the future of the business uncertain at best. In a newsletter to TFB subscribers on Friday, June 17, owner Murph Wilcott outlined the ups and downs of decision-making he and his wife, Carissa, have endured in the ensuing months.

“We’ve had to consider whether perhaps, painful though it might be, Texas French Bread had simply run its course,” he writes. “We held conversations with all manner of wise advisors and their collective advice was fairly consistent. The writing was on the wall.”

While a GoFundMe campaign and fundraisers from the Austin community had helped sustain TFB staff in the wake of the fire, the Wilcotts had to seriously consider laying off remaining staff and putting the historic building at 2900 Rio Grande St. on the market.

But Wilcott struggled with this, he writes: “Nothing about it felt good. Every day I would wake up thinking about the bond I had with the TFB community — our staff, our guests, our vendors — and how sustaining and personal that bond had been for me over the years.”

Thankfully for Austin, Wilcott’s inner wrestling resulted first in the decision to resume baking through a prep kitchen, and next — thanks to a bit of serendipity — to purchase the neighboring lot at 2904 Rio Grande St. Shaded by a towering oak tree, the property previously served as the TFB Garden until it change hands in 2021 and was no longer available to rent.

So while hurdles and expenses mean the future of TFB’s building remains uncertain, Wilcott’s newsletter announced a working plan for outdoor dining.

“We couldn't be more excited,” he writes. “We plan to spend the balance of the summer cleaning it up and then stage a food trailer out there in the fall once the summer weather moderates, where we plan to offer some classic TFB fare.”

The newsletter also shared a target date, July 11, when the TFB team will resume baking from the shared kitchen at PrepATX; by mid-July, customers can look out for TFB baked goods at farmers markets and home delivery through Farmhouse Delivery.

Armed with fresh baked bread and gingersnap cookies, Austinites just might be able to survive until TFB is back up and running in the garden.

“I wish it could be sooner,” Murph writes, “but I think I can speak for our whole team in saying that we can’t wait to get back to work and we look forward to seeing all of you in the garden this fall.”