Where to Chill
Ice cream and Italian-inspired apps make a home in Austin's Mueller neighborhood
Believe it or not, life in Austin is slowing down — a little. We're still a growing, bustling city with lots of new art and foodie destinations. And it looks like this may be the beginning of a wave of workshop-type restaurant openings. Or in Italian, a bottega.
In fact, here comes Bottega. Announced just days before its September 2 opening, this "Italian-inspired neighborhood spot" will be serving up ice cream, coffee, and savory bites in the Mueller neighborhood — where people love a chance to lounge around with a drink and a snack. It will also serve beer and wine once the City of Austin gives its approval.
There will be lots of ways to enjoy the shop, with both indoor and outdoor seating as well as a walk-up window. A release focuses more on the treats than the setting they're served in — rightfully so, for die-hard ice cream fans — so guests will have to check it out in person to suss out the vibes. The exterior features super cute window lettering and a pink-and-red theme, plus a tiled bar that's perfect for people-watching while snacking.
The ownership team combines three fantastic things: ice cream-making, dogs, and Michelin stars. Bottega combines the talents of Gregory Maze of Merry Monarch Creamery, Kati Luedecke of Neighbors Dog Park & Coffee Shop, and Chef Rudy Rivera III formerly of Austin farm-to-table restaurant Wink and the Innat Little Washington (that's where the stars come in) in Washington DC.
The ice cream is not formally the main draw, but surely the treat that will make the eatery stand out to new visitors. Merry Monarch recently won Best Ice Cream in Austin Monthly'sBest of ATX 2023, while operating out of a food truck. This will be the creamery's first brick-and-mortar location.
Its flavors bridge the gap between experimental and comforting. No ice cream is just one flavor, even before the add-ins, which are mostly made in-house.
OreoMiso blends Oreo and white miso ice cream with cookie chunks and dark chocolate hazelnut truffles; the Persian Honeycomb makes a complex mix of roasted almond, cardamom, ricotta, and vanilla ice cream with swirls of other regional flavors like rose and pistachio; and the Tom Kha Lime Pie combines coconut and kaffir lime leaf-infused ice cream with mix-ins like yuzu curd and candied ginger.
Meanwhile, Chef Rivera promises "light fare" that is very fruit-and-vegetable forward, but always sounds perfectly Mediterranean — something Austinites don't get much, as most European restaurants serve strictly food from their respective countries, while Mediterranean restaurants tend to skew Middle Eastern.
Look out for stone fruit bruschetta featuring grilled peaches and cherries on herb goat cheese and arugula salad with a mint vinaigrette; hearts of palm ceviche with cucumber, (citrus) supremes, and pearl onions with a Meyer lemon emulsion; and a couple of chilled options served with lavash, like beef tartare and crab salad. Casero Austin, a charcuterie store, will also contribute its boards and paté.
Bottega (2100 Robert Browning St.) opens to the public on Saturday, September 2, at 2pm. After that, hours of operation follow a regular, if complicated schedule:
- Tuesday – Friday from 7 am to 2 pm (walk-up/outdoor) and 5-9 pm (indoor and outdoor)
- Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm (walk-up/outdoor) and 5-9 pm (indoor and outdoor)
- Sunday from 8 am to 2 pm and 5-9 pm (indoor and outdoor all day)
More information is available at bottegaatx.com.