Baked Good News
Texas French Bread gets its West Campus building back on the rise, but it still kneads Austin's help
Good news for Austinites who have followed the story of our very own local food phoenix: After suffering a devastating fire back in January 2022, Texas French Bread (TFB) has managed its wholesale business from a commissary kitchen since June 2022 while serving its classic sandwiches and drinks from a food trailer in its garden space since November 2022. Now, the beloved bakery has announced plans to rebuild its iconic West Campus restaurant.
In a newsletter on June 28, owner Murph Wilcott shared the exciting news: "After months of developing options after the fire last year, I am pleased to note that we are finally moving expeditiously toward securing a building permit. With luck, we should break ground and begin (re)constructing the building later this year."
Wilcott goes on to share his hopes that the city will treat the project as a remodel rather than a new construction, allowing them to keep "the south and west brick walls which we hope will allow the new building to retain much of its original charm."
A staple in Austin since its founding by Judy Wilcott in 1981, Texas French Bread once operated 11 different bakery locations around the city. The West Campus building at 29th and Rio Grande was not only beloved as the sole remaining location of the bakery empire, but for its significance in Austin history as the former site of '70s dive bar, the Rome Inn.
While the TFB team is dedicated to recovering that sense of history, Wilcott's update also shared a few sneak peeks of some potential changes to the building's interior that could further enhance its charm for years to come:
"We're leaning toward the idea of a longer, narrower seating area that runs along the south wall on 29th street past the large picture window," he writes. "We're also imagining generous skylights over a cappuccino bar and bakery wall along the north side of the old dining room."
Wilcott noted California bakery, Gustja, as one design inspiration, inviting his readers to get in touch with similar source material. He also shared the upcoming hurdles the bakery will face as it seeks to rebuild — not just the normal delays that face all building projects in Austin, but in the very real struggles restaurants face as summer temperatures rise and locals flock to cooler climates.
The best way to support those efforts are through TFB's weekly Table22 bakery subscription, with memberships available for local delivery or pickup at the TFB garden every Wednesday. The subscription includes weekly rotating staples of baked goods, including bread, pastries, and sweets.