Art, Eat, Repeat
New location of North Austin cafe takes shape in surprising new spot
The Contemporary Austin's Laguna Gloria is currently undergoing a massive, multi-year, multimillion-dollar renovation promising new artwork, extended canopies, an arrival garden, and new retail space. Though it teased the opening of a new outdoor cafe earlier this year, the art museum kept quiet on just who was going into the space.
On October 30, The Contemporary and Épicerie chef/owner Sarah McIntosh announced Épicerie at The Contemporary, the second outpost of McIntosh's beloved Rosedale cafe, will open in spring 2019.
The new cafe will be situated near the entrance of the 14-acre museum, and offer both take-out and dine-in options. Diners can expect classic Épicerie dishes such as porchetta and pastrami sandwiches, salmon and kale salad, cheese boards, and charcuterie, as well as entirely new dishes. The new restaurant will also offer baked goods, a coffee program, and wine and beer.
Though it is the second restaurant for the lauded chef — a noteworthy move on its own — McIntosh said she's approaching the new cafe as not only an extension of her brand, but also of the museum's mission.
"In building a menu for Épicerie at The Contemporary, I've thought a lot about the sculpture park's visitors and the students of the Art School at Laguna Gloria who attend classes over and over again. I was an art major in college, so this really does come full circle for me," McIntosh said in a release. "A light bite, a cup of coffee, or a bottle of wine split by two is the perfect accompaniment to a day strolling the sculpture park grounds."
The cafe is designed to accompany this flexible format. Patrons can order from a walk-up window and then amble around the grounds or take a seat in the new building, a "modern steel and glass structure" designed by the New Orleans-based Trahan Architects, which also houses the visitor's center and museum shop. Pre-made picnic baskets will also be available, allowing guests to dine on one of Laguna Gloria's terraces or perhaps just find a secret spot near the lakeshore.
Cafe hours and a full menu are still in the works, but the release did note the shop will offer Épicerie's new line of packaged coffee, jams, chutneys, pickles, fermented goods, spice blends, and cookie mixes.
"Enhancing the experience of our visitors is one of the top priorities for Phase I of the Laguna Gloria Master Plan, and a vibrant café is a key part of that," said The Contemporary's executive director and CEO Louis Grachos in a release.
"She has proven to be an incredibly insightful businessperson, anticipating what her guests really want from a neighborhood eatery and then delivering on those needs with expert skill in the kitchen and in the back office," he continued. "I look forward to being both her partner and one of her best customers."