Photo by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Anyone who woke up on the wrong side of the bed today should consider hustling over to the new side of the renovated Hyde Park post office. Formerly just a government building, on October 3 it welcomes French bistro Bureau de Poste and the second location of the extremely popular Austin shop, Tiny Grocer.

Bureau de Poste was preceded by much excitement, thanks to the stellar reputations of Tiny Grocery founder Steph Steele and Top Chef contestant Jo Chan. The new location at 4300 Speedway combines the local favorite grocery store with a more robust menu and seating than the original deli — although it, too, will serve made-to-order sandwiches and pre-made items.

Bureau de Poste Austin dishes

Photo by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Now grocery shopping comes with a side of delicious French food.

The grocery portion will sell more than 3,000 products curated by Steele, alongside a coffee bar, wine, and Swedish Hill and Gati gluen-free pastries. The floral, kids, pets, and nonalcoholic beverages (including mixers) will be larger than the original store. Notably, it is the first-ever outside retailer for Made In cookware.

The restaurant portion elevates the concept from a shopping destination to a place to sit and spend some time. Chef Jo Chan, best known for work at one of Austin's fanciest restaurants, Eberly, and her time on the cooking competition, now debuts some of her more international tastes that she recently developed while traveling. Some of the very French dishes on the menu include escargot, French onion soup, and beef tartare.

The sides come together over a desire to build a community gathering place and be deeply involved not just with the quality, but with the customers. Of course, Tiny Grocer already has its loyal fans, and a grocery store always lends itself to repeat visitors; the duo hopes that Bureau de Poste will also start accumulating some regulars.

Some more dishes to note: A release claims that Bureau de Poste will be the first restaurant in town that offers skate (a ray-like fish) regularly, and Chan's roast chicken partially recreates famous dishes from Zuni Café and Barbuto, where Chan used to run the kitchen.

The clafoutis — a baked custard with seasonal fruit and crème fraiche whip — is the chef's tribute to famous chef Julia Child, who was known for making French cooking approachable to Americans at home. (Austin only has one degree of separation from Child, whose book inspired Austin-born blogger Julie Foster to learn to cook in a personal triumph that later became a memoir and a feature film.)

Best of all, if guests were particularly charmed by an ingredient at the restaurant, they may sometimes find it on the grocery shelves.

Bureau de Poste will operate daily from 5-10 pm, with an additional brunch service on weekends from 10 am to 3 pm. Tiny Grocer operates 8 am to 10 pm daily. More information about Tiny Grocer is available at tinygrocer.com, and more information about Bureau de Poste is availalbe at bureaudeposteatx.com. Reserve on OpenTable.

Photo by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Tiny Grocer dream team announces a French restaurant at the second location — a renovated Austin post office

Growing Grocer

Tiny Grocer isn't looking so tiny nowadays. The well-loved South Congress grocery store and deli, recognizable by its black-and-white-striped awning, is expanding into Hyde Park with a new in-store restaurant opening in tandem "late this summer."

The store had been announced nearly a year ago in July, but details about the restaurant, Bureau de Poste, are new.

The name comes from the history of the building Tiny Grocer renovated at 4300 Speedway. This former post office affords the business a lot more space, allowing for more seating both indoor and outdoors and, thus, a more complete execution on the eatery portion of the business.

There will still be a deli, as many fans expect given the popularity of the one at the original location. The deli will open the day with a casual service and close at 4 pm; Then, at 5, Bureau de Poste opens.

Steph Steele, the widely loved owner of Tiny Grocer who became a symbol of perseverance after opening the business as a part of a pandemic career shift, invited Chef Jo Chan to collaborate on this new venture. Chan brings experience at one of Austin's most upscale restaurants, Eberly, recognition from her time on Top Chef, and a similar business ethos to Steele.

The two chefs have even been using many of the same products, which are among the 3,000 grocery items available at Tiny Grocer — good news for restaurant guests who want to bring a piece of the meal home.

In case the name did not immediately give it away, Bureau de Poste will be serving French food. Steele has been excited about the steak frites for a long time, which will join a menu also including moules frites (mussels and fries), a halved and roasted chicken, french onion soup, escargot, and confit duck legs.

The menu is not quite done; Steele recently embarked on a food-finding mission in Montreal to make a few final decisions on what to offer. Patrons can also enjoy wine, beer, and "several [non-alcoholic] cocktail options."

The opening has been delayed from its original target, and no official opening date has been announced yet. Check for updates or follow Bureau de Poste on Instagram or at tinygrocer.com.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Esquire's praise for top Austin Mexican restaurant leads this week's top 5 most-read headlines

hot headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. From our best chefs to our neighbors' strong tourist pulls, here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. Austin's new favorite Mexican restaurant scores coveted spot on Esquire's Best New Restaurants list. Este was the only Texas restaurant on the main list.

2. 'The twinkliest town in Texas' and 6 other Hill Country locales become Christmas wonderlands. Those warm fuzzies aren't always easy to find amongst Austin's seasonal glitz — they're a mall-town affair.

3. Austin sparkles and shines as the No. 1 most festive city in the U.S. for 2023. Thumbtack specifically focuses on home holiday projects, but Austinites can glean inspiration from the city's many festive displays.

4. Austin is among the 20 most 'house rich' cities in U.S., report says. The study found that 44.70 percent of all housing in Austin is owner-occupied. The median home value of a home in the city was $593,000.

5. This Texas city is among the 50 best places to travel in 2024, says Travel + Leisure. Fort Worth was the only Texas city to make Travel + Leisure's prestigious list, and one of just a handful of U.S. cities.

A new daiquiri bar and authentic spicy ramen top Austin's 11 tastiest bites of food news

News you can eat

Editor’s note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of Austin’s restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.

Openings and closings

Despite Austin's proximity to the Gulf Coast and the Louisiana Bayou, we don't have too many restaurants replicating the area's cuisine. A new bar and grill called Austin's Very Own Saltt is adding to the growing niche, highlighting seafood and daiquiris — popular in New Orleans for how easy they are to make and dispense to loaded, novelty-seeking tourists on a hot day. Along with seven or more variations on the sugary frozen drinks, expect classics like Cajun butterfly shrimp, fried catfish, and shrimp fried rice as a side. Surprisingly, this bar won't entertain downtown day drinkers, but a milder crowd up north (2525 W. Anderson Ln.). It opens December 2 at 5 pm.

Austinites likely need no introduction to Shake Shack, the fast food burger joint with surprisingly upscale culinary initiatives. A new location in Cedar Park (1905 E. Whitestone Blvd.) is the first in the area, and it's wooing new customers with several opening day offers. On December 5, guests will receive branded holiday ornaments, and Shake Shack will donate $1 for every sandwich sold to Texas Humane Heroes, a pet shelter with an adoption center in Leander. Hours are 11 am to 10 pm Sunday through Thursday, and 11 am to 11 pm Friday through Saturday.

ICYMI: One of the most famous barbecue joints near Austin, the Salt Lick BBQ, offered big news this week: It's opening its third full-scale location. This one will be in Fredericksburg, opening sometime in 2025 if everything goes according to plan. Another famous restaurant with more upscale international credentials, Quince, also shared photos of its beautiful plates and views after a very quiet soft opening of its Lake Austin location. If you've been reading for a while, you may recognize a few other restaurants that opened this week: Mutts Canine Cantina,El Alma Cafe y Cantina, and a Milk Bar pop-up.

Other news and notes

Many Austinites swear by Jinya Ramen, which originated in Tokyo and now commands a cult following here, in Austin. On December 1, it brings back its "fan-favorite" Red Garnet bowl, featuring "thick noodles," vegan broth, a spicy garlic sauce, pork chasu, green onion, kikurage (wood ear mushrooms), onion, and spinach. It'll be on menus until February 29, 2024. New to the United States locations is also the Curry Nikuman bun with pork soboro (ground pork) and a curry dipping sauce.

Speaking of local favorites, Home Slice is also bringing back a special menu item: a vodka pie (not sold by the slice), featuring a cream sauce made with Tito's Handmade Vodka and fresh mozzarella. The pies, two new natural wines, and a prize drawing will all raise funds for Southern Smoke in Houston, and Foundation Communities in Austin. One lucky winner will win free pizza for a year; Tickets ($10, or 3 for $25) are available for purchase in-store until December 24.

Widely recognized as one of Austin's best new-ish restaurants, Canje charms guests with Caribbean flavors — especially as Austinites crave a little tropical feeling during winter months. On December 3, the restaurant is inviting anyone to stop by for a free Trinidadian dance party with a DJ and Trinidadian street food. Details are sparse, but we don't need much else to be convinced it'll be worth a visit. The party goes from 5 pm to midnight. RSVP on Eventbrite.

Aspiring architects who don't have the budget to experiment on Austin land can try on gingerbread houses first, at beautiful South Lamar restaurant Eberly. Pastry chef Raven Breitfeller will guide visitors through the delicate process, but things won't be too serious as the seasonal cocktails and passed apps start rolling in. Tickets ($90) include all materials, one cocktail, and snacks, and are available via Resy.

Photos with Santa, holiday hotel deals, and 8 more Texas travel tidbits for December


It's the most wonderful time of year for Texans to travel and spend quality time with family. Need help deciding where to take a quick vacation, road trip, or staycation? Here are 10 events, special celebrations, and hotel happenings to help plan a getaway in December.

In the Hill Country

Pedernales Cellars in Stonewall is celebrating its 15th anniversary with a special event December 8-10. Throughout the weekend, the winery will offer an anniversary bundle featuring three special wines for $99 plus tax. On Saturday, December 9, visitors can stop by to enjoy wine and cake while supplies last. Reservations are required for tastings, and can be made online via Tock or by emailing tasting@pedernalescellars.com.

From Jingle Bell Runs to photos with Cowboy Kringle, the Christmas season is in full swing in Gruene. There are festive holiday happenings during every weekend in December, starting with the 22nd annual Gruene Pony Express Ride, the Gruene Town Lighting, and the Christmas Market Days on Saturday, December 2. And if swing dancing is on the list of resolutions for 2024, Texans can get a head start by visiting Gruene Hall on December 19 and 26 to learn easy, fun moves for beginners. Swing dancing lessons are $10 per person, but many other family-friendly events in Gruene are free to the public.

There's plenty of time to make your way down to Thompson San Antonio – Riverwalk for a unique 12 Days of Christmas event that runs December 12-23. Activities include complimentary mini-massages from the Thompson Spa's expert therapists on December 13, a must-know mixology class on December 17, and a live jazz performance on December 21. These events are free, and visitors can register to participate online via the website.

Across North Texas

In its first holiday season, the new Omni PGA Frisco Resort is offering a special "Home On the Range for the Holidays" package that includes movie nights, holiday games and crafts, s'mores, and a Santa meet-and-greet. Valet parking, early check-in and check-out, and weekend breakfast are included. Nightly rates for the holiday package (offered through December 23) begin at $426. For some extra holiday wonderment, guests can unwrap up to 20 percent off their stay at the resort with the Ticket to Wonder package in partnership with Dallas chocolatier Kate Weiser.

In the Houston-Galveston area

The Dickens on the Strand Festival in Galveston received quite a gift for its 50th anniversary: official recognition from the United Kingdom’s Parliament. The annual event immerses visitors in the world of Charles Dickens' larger-than-life characters in 19th-century England. From December 1-3, the family-friendly festival will include fun parades, entertainment on four different stages, and costumed vendors selling Victorian-inspired crafts, clothing, jewelry, and more. Admission is $25 for adults, $18 for children aged 7-12, and free for children aged 6 and under. Tickets can purchased via Eventbrite.

And if you're looking for a swanky place to stay during the festival weekend (or any weekend, for that matter), Gavleston's newly-opened Hotel Lucine (formerly the Treasure Isle Motel) is a brand-new contender. CultureMap's Eric Sandler shared his first impressions of the hotel and all of its luxe amenities, including its rooftop bar, lobby bar and restaurant, and The Fancy – a "fine-ish" dining restaurant currently serving dinner. The hotel’s owners aimed to transform the two-story property into a "modern experience designed to appeal to gen x’ers and millennials." Nightly rates at Hotel Lucine begin at $155 in December.

The C. Baldwin Hotel in downtown Houston is enticing hotel guests (and any visitors who want to make merry) with 12 Days of Cocktails, featuring a rotating specialty cocktail menu available at the hotel's Lobby Bar and Rosalie Italian Soul. Seasonal offerings include Apple Cider Old Fashioned, Pumpkin Spice Martini, Winter Spritz, and more. Plus, a special holiday market in partnership with Houston's Southern Kindness Gallery will feature 30 local artisans, Saturday, December 9. More information can be found online.

At home in Austin

On Christmas Eve, families staying at Austin's Commodore Perry Estate can enjoy milk and cookies while children write their letters to Santa, then feast on a special Christmas Eve prime rib dinner and participate in holiday cookie decorating. On Christmas Day, the resort will have a breakfast display of homemade pastries and more. A special yuletide feast prepared by Chef Bradley and Chef Susana will be available all day, paired with holiday wines curated by the estate's sommelier. Rates at Commodore Perry Estate begin at $454 per night in December.

Santa is making special appearances throughout Texas to learn what children want for Christmas, and at the Barton Creek Square, families will be able to grab a photo with Mr. Claus throughout the month. On December 5 and 12, families can don their most festive holiday pajamas for a Pajama Day photo op with Santa. Visitors also can bring their furry friends for special pet photo sessions on December 10, 6:30-8:30 pm. Reservations are encouraged, and can be made via whereissanta.com.

The Hyatt Centric Congress Avenue Austin has launched its own deluxe holiday deal for guests through January 3: the Miracle on Congress Avenue package. Guests can use the promo code "WINTER" when booking a stay at the hotel's Artist's Residence and enjoy the comforts of a beautifully decorated holiday-themed penthouse suite on the 31st floor, a $100 food and beverage credit that can be used at the famed Luminaire restaurant or Le Bis rooftop terrace bar, and a complimentary holiday mini bar. Rates for the Miracle on Congress Avenue package begin at $747 per night.