Dining outside the loop
Notable Austin chefs fire up Cajun barbecue joint in Dripping Springs
With relatively low costs and breathtaking scenery, Hays County continues to be one of the fastest growing areas in the state. Now, there is a new reason to move beyond Austin's borders with the launch of a new eatery combining Texas barbecue and Cajun fare.
The Switch, from the team behind Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew in partnership with Lenoir chef and owner Todd Duplechan, opens June 22 at 166 Hargraves Dr., Ste. G100 in the Belterra Village development in Dripping Springs. According to a release, the new concept will feature counter service lunch, a full-service dinner, and Sunday brunch.
Smoked meats will naturally be a big part of the menu. Stiles Switch’s lead pitmaster Lance Kilpatrick will help manage the operations while pitmasters Christopher McGhee, Bill Dumas, Marco Oglesby, and Troy Warlick will handle the day-to-day. Similarly to its sister restaurant, the menu will offer Central Texas-style favorites like smoked brisket and ribs served alongside traditional sides.
In addition to craft meats, there will be plenty of Louisianan flavors from head chef Barclay Stratton’s kitchen. For lunch, that means Cajun sandwiches like the Switch Po’boy with pulled pork, crispy fried shrimp, jalapeño mayonnaise, American cheese, and brisket debris gravy. The over-the-top Cajun Three-Step will also appear on the menu, complete with sliced brisket, pork ribs, and mild sausage served with gumbo over potato salad and comeback coleslaw, a side teased at the recent Austin Food & Wine Festival.
For dinner, the team combined the two culinary traditions in smoky dishes like Bayou beef ribs, a smoked and fried rib plated over cheddar cheese grits and grillade sauce, and rib rub blackened catfish topped with smoked shrimp, creole sauce, and green onion. Dessert features a Big Red Firecracker Float, a banana split and s’mores “switchwich" created in collaboration with another well-known name, Holy Roller chef Callie Speer.
The full bar features its own food menu of popcorn Gulf shrimp, seven-layer dip, and pigs in a blanket to nibble while enjoying 20 local and domestic taps and favorite cocktails like margaritas. Bloody Marys, served with both smoked and pickled garnishes, are sure to be a hit at the comfort food brunch.
Keeping in the down-home spirit of the menu, Nelsen Partners and interior designer Fern Santini worked to give the space a rustic farmhouse look with post oak wood floors and art from photographer Wyatt McSpadden, graphic designer Gary Dorsey, and Evan Voyles of Neon Jungle. Upon entering the restaurant, guests can peek into the pit room showcasing a custom smoker from Dripping Spring’s own Moberg Smokers.
The Switch joins a growing list of destination Dripping Spring’s restaurants including vegan cafe Skull & Cakebones, Treaty Oak Distilling’s Ghost Hill, and Lox, Box & Barrel. Pieous Mecca, the new flagship location of the pizza favorite, will also open in Belterra Village sometime in July.