The Poetry of Food
New Austin café by Intero duo bakes Italian hospitality into its all-day menu
Krystal Craig and Ian Thurwachter, the local, award-winning chef duo behind downtown restaurant Intero, are further refining the art of hospitable dining with their newest concept, Poeta. The all-day Italian café is located within The Frances Modern Inn and opens to the public on Friday, November 24.
Poeta, meaning ‘poet’ in Italian, leans heavily into the romance and warmth of the dining experience, sourcing inspiration from both classic Italian hospitality and the country’s quintessentially charming café aesthetic to deliver a meal worthy of a sonnet.
It’s also (according to a press release) the only Italian restaurant in Austin that will provide dining service from breakfast to dinner and beyond, to nightcaps and indulgent evening desserts.
“Although East Austin is home to a few Italian spots presently, there are no all-day options in the area, and we look forward to providing this,” Krystal Craig, general manager, and pastry chef tells CultureMap. “Plus, there's a particularly special feeling associated with dining at a restaurant within a hotel. That familiar feeling seems possible here, which adds to the whole experience.”
The new restaurant’s all-day service is made possible with the help of its crop of menus from Executive Chef Ian Thurwachter and Chef de Cuisine Kevin Donovan.
Guests who prefer morning mealtimes can expect fresh takes on breakfast and brunch dishes like eggs benedict and crab cakes. Lighter fare, like specialty salads and fried chicken picatta, is available on the midday menu for patrons who prefer a late start. Poeta’s dinner options include gnocchi, grilled octopus, polenta, and more. A seasonal rotating gelato menu and antipasti service of housemade mozzarella, giardiniera (pickled vegetables), and marinated olives is also available.
Other menu offerings include specialty coffee, bespoke cocktails, an extensive wine list and amaro collection, and pastries. Most notably, Poeta offers a “Waffogato”: a waffle served with gelato and espresso, for a playful and poetic take on some of Italian cuisine’s most precious staples. Aside from the inviting cuisine itself, guests can also expect private dinners, monthly musical guest performances, and other special events served up on Poeta’s social calendar.
“A weekly “flight night” is planned to feature tastes in wine, amari, or spirits,” Craig says. “The hotel offers various event spaces as well, which we plan to use for friendly neighborhood happenings such as a summer gelato social, and collaborative chef-inspired experiences.”
In true Italian-inspired decadence, Poeta’s interior evokes an intimate lounge ambiance designed to encourage patrons to linger and even dine solo.
“Personally, I love to dine solo and appreciate places that feel comfortable to do so,” Craig tells CultureMap. “We aim to provide that built-in sense of community so everyone feels comfortable coming back again and again, whether dining on your own or as a group.”
Vintage decor, modern design touches, and traditional café elements provide an elevated dining experience from the first cup of coffee to the last glass of dessert wine. The cozy space by Kim Lewis Designs seats 100 guests both indoors and outdoors, and includes a full bar. Private dining areas are also available for extra-special occasions.
Poeta is located in The Frances Modern Inn at 1123 East 11th St. Restaurant hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 am to 9 pm; Friday from 8 am to 10 pm; Saturday from 10 am to 10 pm; and Sunday from 10 am to 9 pm. Happy hour and antipasti specials are available daily from 3-5 pm. Brunch is served on weekends from 10 am to 3 pm.