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Apothecary: Austin's Neighborhood Wine Bar


Apothecary Cafe and Wine Bar serves some of the best food and spirits anwhere

Apothecary has just about everything you'd want in a wine bar.

Up for a little cheese with your wine? Or maybe a charcuterie plate instead? The Apothecary Café and Wine Bar is located on Burnet Road near 45th Street in Austin, Texas. It was started and is currently run by friends, and that friendly attitude permeates the entire place.

Apothecary prides itself on being warm and welcoming. It has the look and food of an upscale establishment while maintaining the feel of a cozy neighborhood hangout. It has a truly relaxed, elbows-on-the-table sort of vibe. It just feels like home.

How is the food? Chef Johnny Romo creates some of the best food you’ll find anywhere. The menus are seasonal and items change often. Their specials rotate weekly and brunch is offered on Sundays. Feeling thirsty? Their wine list is as extensive as you’d expect it to be. With a cast of more than 50 players, there is sure to be something there to please every palate. And if you just can’t settle on one, the knowledgeable staff is always there to make a suggestion.

Oh, and let’s not forget the cheese plate. Some the tastiest cheeses you’ll find anywhere are included on their menu, and many of them come from local cheese monger Antonelli’s Cheese Shop. So after you stop in, and you will, you can then head over to Antonelli’s to pick up some great cheese for your own wine cabinet at home!


Allandale Wine Bar Apothecary Is Closing

Apothecary Cafe and Wine Bar, the cafe and wine bar along Burnet Road, is closing, according to its Facebook page. Owner Niraj Mehdiratta notes that a new owner will take over the space, turning it into a new restaurant. The last day of service will be held on Saturday, May 27.

The stylish restaurant was known for its killer wine list, paired with a variety of dishes, from pasta, oysters, charcuterie, to a strong dessert selection from executive chef Matt Gallagher. Mehdiratta opened Apothecary in November 2009.

Burnet Road went through a restaurant boom within the past couple of years, with the debuts of Bonhomie from Philip Speer, the relocated Barley Swine from Bryce Gilmore, Bufalina’s second location,

There’s also been a recent burst of restaurant and bar shutters: South Lamar Italian restaurant Cantine from the same owners of Asti, downtown rum bar and island-inspired restaurant Isla, and boozy doughnut shop Gourdough’s downtown location (though it’ll relocate to, fittingly, Burnet Road).


Fluff Meringues Takes Over Apothecary’s Space on Burnet Road

The ever-evolving restaurant scene in Austin has provided Fluff Meringues + More a new opportunity for opening its brick and mortar. Instead of the original 4807 Burnet Road slot, the bakery will take over Apothecary Wine Bar and Cafe’s recently-vacated space just across the street.

Owner Kristin Collins attributed the relocation, which she originally announced in fall of 2016, to permitting issues. The basic design from MF Architecture will look the same for the new space. The bakery and restaurant will include the namesake dessert, along with pavlovas, high tea, wine, beer, cider, and coffee. There is no set opening date yet.

Apothecary owner Niraj Mehdiratta shut down the wine bar and restaurant over Memorial Day weekend after eight years of service. In his Facebook note, he alluded to Collins’ plans:

We'll be passing off our space to a new owner who'll be creating a new concept here, one we hope you'll come to love and support for another 8 years and hopefully beyond.


Austin's best wine lists — and the wine experts behind them

Not all wine lists are created equal. For some restaurants, it’s about covering the basics and making sure there’s a wine available for everyone to enjoy. For other restaurants, it’s about exposing diners to a new and unique selection of wines that are both approachable and even affordable. The best wine lists in Austin offer a balance between the two, and we have a finely honed selection of restaurants, as well as the wine experts who created them.

Arro: Craig Collins
At Arro, the only wines you’ll find are French. To help assist you in narrowing down a selection without having to know the French language, all of the wines are organized by grape variety. Instead of having to know what type of wine comes from Chablis, Chinon or the Southern Rhone, you can select Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, or Grenache. Though the wine list changes daily to shepherd through a variety of Franco-friendly wines, Arro’s Executive Beverage Director Craig Collins makes a point to source a list that is true to the grape and region of origin, food-friendly, and brimming with options that guests will find, as he calls it, “gluggable.”

Take note of the “Wine of the Moment,” penned at the top of the menu, a special pick offered at a value price by the glass. During the week, Collins usually offers something from a grape or region that most people may not be familiar with as a chance to try something new. On the weekends, it’s wine by the glass that may have a little more pedigree such as a Grand Cru Burgundy.

Menu favorites:
Domaine Weinbach "Cuvee Theo" Riesling 2010 (Alsace)
Gros-Tollot "La Ciaude" Minervous Grenache/Syrah 2010 (Languedoc Roussillon)

Bufalina: Steven Dilley
Known for its serious Neopolitan-style pizzas, one look at the wine list and you can easily surmise that Bufalina is also serious about wine. The long and varying list far outweighs the restaurant’s limited food menu. But, as owner Steven Dilley sees it, it just gives you more options. With more than a decade spent in New York in finance career, Dilley returned to his home state of Texas to open a classic Italian pizzeria. One thing he knew he’d miss about New York was easy accessibility to global wines, a personal passion of his.

When he opened Bufalina, Dilley was determined to help remedy that challenge in Austin. You’ll find wines that, quite simply, he likes to drink. They’re food-friendly and balanced with fruit and acidity. (This is not the place to go if you’re looking for oaky Chardonnay or jammy Zinfandel.) According to Dilley, if the wine is interesting and delicious, he’ll add it to the menu. His goal is to show his care for the provenance of his wine list as he does the ingredients used in his food.

Menu favorites:
Domaine Valette Pouilly Vinzelles 2009 (White Burgundy)
Wind Gap Syrah 2009 (Sonoma Coast)

Congress: Paula Rester
When it comes to classic fine dining in Austin, it’s hard to beat Congress' elegant food, atmosphere and service. And the wine list is just as special. It’s one of the longer lists you’ll see in town — you could easily finish an appetizer while glancing through the multi-paged book — it’s also one of the most distinguished. Sommelier Paula Rester manages the wine selections at both Congress and adjoining restaurant 2nd Bar and Kitchen. She does her best to provide a wide range of options to suit the different palates that circulate through the restaurant dining rooms.

You can certainly find a bottle or two perfect for whatever the occasion may be, the best way to appreciate her skill at pairing the perfect wine to your meal is to take advantage of the wine paired with the restaurant’s seven-course menu. This not only gives you a chance to taste what really works best with each dish, but you just may stumble upon something you’ve never tried before, which is really the best part of exploring wines. Though the extra wine pairing usually costs about $70 more, it’s a fraction of what you’d spend to taste this range of wines in one evening if you were ordering off the menu.

Menu favorites:
Chateau de l’Eperonniere Croix Picot Savennieres 2010 (Loire, France)
S.A. La Rioja Alta Vina Alberdi Rioja Reserva 2006 (Rioja, Spain)

Qui: June Rodil
There's a matrix that general manager and sommelier June Rodil puzzles through when compiling a wine list — but she’ll admit, it’s an equation that goes completely out the window if something fabulous comes her way. For Rodil, a wine's top job is to highlight the food. And when it comes to food from Chef Paul Qui, it’s usually seasonal in addition to being provocatively inventive.

To keep it simple, Rodil sticks to seasons for the wine list as well. For instance, hot summer days call for Riesling and Rosé! Cost also comes into play. The Qui wine list ultimately seeks to balance unique selection with value in proportion to the food offered on the menu.

Menu favorites:
Chateau Senejac Bordeaux
Kiralyudvar Furmint Sec

Red Room Lounge: Alex Andrawes and Nathan Prater
Walking into the Red Room Lounge is sort of like stepping into an old speakeasy during Prohibition. You won’t find a brassy jazz band or a crowded dance floor, but you will find a low-key vibe and a handsome wine selection. RRL functions as both a retail stop as well as a laid-back space for experts and novices alike to dive into the world of wine. If you’re just stopping in for a glass or two, let sommelier Nathan Prater help you pick from the evolving by-the-glass wine list. If you’re looking to stay a while, you can choose from the few dozen wines lined up along the back wall, or dig deeper into Red Room’s cellar list of more than 700 wines. This is where you’ll find a dizzying array of wines from all over the world.

The cellar, which was developed by owner Alex Andrawes is designed to offer a diversity in selections from classic regions to new and revitalized parts of the world, all at low-, mid- and high-price ranges to suit any taste and budget. In short, the Red Room Lounge is where you can dive as deep as you care to expand your wine knowledge. While the Red Room doesn’t serve food, you’re welcome to bring your own items to nosh on.

Menu favorites:
Domaine Collin Cremant d'Limoux Rose brut (Sparkling rosé)
Mont Laur "Excellence" Cahors, 2011 (French Malbec)

Swift’s Attic: Sam Hovland
Coming up with the perfect wine list for the creative culinary team behind Swift’s Attic (Mat Clouser, Zack Northcutt and Callie Speer) was a challenge meant for just the right person. Sam Hovland, a long-respected wine consultant in the Austin area as well as wine buyer for East End Wines, was just the guy. The list was initially centered around old world, European-style wines with bright acidity and minerality, less alcohol and less tannin. According to Hovland, the first list only had Chardonnay if it was involved in a sparkling wine, and topped out at Cabernet Franc for reds, with no Cabernet Sauvignons.

As the restaurant has evolved, the wine list has grown to include selections from other parts of the world that still fit within the flavor and structure profiles originally defined when the restaurant opened. What you notice while enjoying a meal at Swift’s Attic is that the food and wine play well off of each other, regardless of what it is.

Menu favorites:
Alois Lageder Pinot Bianco 2011 (Trentino - Alto Adige, Italy)
Left Coast Cali’s Cuvee 2011 (Pinot Noir) (Rickreall, Willamette Valley, OR)

Uchi and Uchiko: Dhal Smith
Most people think of sake when they think of sushi. And beer often takes a close second. Both make a great complement to the delicate ingredients and complex flavors served at both Uchi and Uchiko. But it’s important not to forget how great wine can be with Japanese-inspired cuisine as well. Beverage director Dhal Smith recently made a few changes to the wine menus at both restaurants offering both versatility in flavors — from bitter, to sweet, to savory — as well as body and style. You’ll find a range of crisp white wines and robust red wines, but they’ll all present a fine balance between fruitiness and earthiness.

Menu favorites:
Livio Felluga Friulano 2011 (White wine, Friuli, Italy)
Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitages 2011 (Red wine, Northern Rhone, France)

Winebelly: Ryan Fulmer
A fantastic addition to South Austin, Winebelly is the quintessential neighborhood wine bar featuring a Spanish-inspired menu of snacks, tapas and main dishes as well as a meticulously thought-out wine menu. (Oh, and parking’s a breeze in the adjacent lot.) General Manager Ryan Fulmer has seen his way around top Austin restaurants from the Bitter End to Uncle Billy’s Brew and Cue, and has taken special care with Winebelly to pursue a casual list of unique wines that not only suit the menu, but also the budget. Best of all, you’ll find the most bang for your buck on Sundays and Mondays when the restaurant offers select bottles of wine at half price.

Menu favorites:
Marius Terret & Vermentino by Michel Chapoutier 2011
McPherson Cellars Albarino 2012


Henry & Son

Minneapolis

The inventory in this Harrison neighborhood shop focuses on small and craft producers of wines and spirits. Its roster of events skews intimate, as evidenced by the number of winemakers that show up for the majority of its tastings.

Show & Tell / Photo by Dodd Demas


Restaurant Review: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

What does it mean to be a "neighborhood" restaurant, as compared to just a restaurant? I would say it means it isn't expensive, there is plenty of free parking, and you can usually just walk in and get a table. These are the very things that set Winebelly apart from the other tapas bars that have opened recently in Austin it truly is a neighborhood wine bar. It isn't pricey, with most of the bar snacks costing around $5 each, and the tapas hovering around $10. Every time I have gone in I have been seated immediately, and whether driving or walking, there is none of the hassle that heading Downtown invariably entails. Unsurprisingly, Winebelly has been warmly embraced by area residents.

The wine list is priced aggressively, which means that both bottles and glasses are intentionally affordable. By the glass, prices range from $6-$10, the pour is generous, and the wines are commendable. Most of the bottles fall into the $20-$30 range, with many well-known vineyards represented, such as Pine Ridge, Macon Villages, McPherson Cellars, and Bonny Doon, as well as Spanish, French, and Italian bargains. On Sundays and Mondays, to make the deal even sweeter, there are half-price specials on many of the bottles of wine. Though Winebelly does not serve hard liquor, they do serve a charming variety of wine cocktails, three premium local beers on tap (each $4), and 13 bottled beers, largely microbrews.

Most of the Spanish dishes are in the "Bar Snacks" category, which includes roasted shishito peppers with Maldon salt ($6), a dish that is nearly identical to pimientos de Padrón. These small, mild roasted peppers (with the occasional hot one) are a flavorful, satisfying appetizer not to be missed. Marinated olives with roasted nuts ($5) is another Spanish mainstay, as are the cured white anchovies ($4) and the tomato bread ($5). Winebelly also offers two different types of excellent, crisp french fries, served in generous cones: Parmesan truffle, made with truffle oil and Parmesan cheese, and bravas, lightly flavored with pimentón and chile pepper (both $5).

The tapas are more seasonal and local, with little of the Spanish emphasis on seafood. Standouts include the fried quail ($10), an ample portion served with arugula, roasted pears, and black-pepper honey, and the roasted carrots ($10), a superb dish of sweet, jewel-toned carrots and parsnips served in a pool of crème fraîche, and topped with cool slices of perfect avocado. Although all the bar snacks deliver great value for your dollar, among the tapas the mileage varies: The grilled lamb ribs ($12), while delicious, are a very small portion, and the orecchiette ($10) is a mere handful of pasta with a sprinkling of Italian sausage bits a rather silly economy, as pasta and sausage are notably inexpensive.

Menu items change with the growing seasons, and along with the printed menu, there is a crudo of the day (market price) and one or two ambitious specials every evening. Recently Winebelly has begun serving dessert, which on my most recent visit included a divine chocolate and walnut paté, served with fresh berries and almond cream ($6), and a gelato of the day. The service is knowledgeable, swift, and genuinely friendly. From the affordable wines and beers, to the bountiful bar snacks and elegant tapas, Winebelly offers Downtown quality with neighborhood prices, convenience, and friendliness.


Austin neighborhood restaurant and wine bar announces last call

A beloved Burnet Road restaurant and bar has announced last call. Apothecary Cafe & Wine Bar will shutter Saturday, May 27, according to a statement posted on social media.

The neighborhood gem opened in 2009 with elevated comfort food and a respected wine list. A small but meaningful menu from chef Matt Gallagher rotated specials regularly.

"We wanted to thank you sincerely for all the incredible memories we've made and shared together here at Apothecary," reads the note from management. "Our last day will be May 27. We hope to see you before then for another glass of wine, tray of oysters, and bowl of mac and cheese."

Austin diners may not have to wait long for a replacement. "We'll be passing off our space to a new owner who'll be creating a new concept here, one we hope you'll come to love and support," the statement says.

Details on the new venture have not yet been released. Stay tuned for more information about the concept as it become available.


Perfect for those trying to learn pairings or experts who like options, Cru (also with downtown and Domain locations) features flights of wine and flights of cheese to explore, all fantastic. The cheese board is practically a meal in itself, with fruit, nuts, and honey to accompany the slices.

Cheese from Austin Cheese Company Austin Cheese Company/Facebook

This shop in the Arboretum has over 80 kinds of cheese, plus many kinds of wine. Opt for a preselected, three- or five-cheese board, create your own, or go with the cheese-centric entrees like salads and grilled cheese.


6 Hotspots For Austin's Asian Cuisine Boom

When restaurateur C.K. Chin opened Wu Chow in downtown Austin three years ago, its modern Chinese cuisine was unique to the area. Shortly thereafter, Kazu Fukumoto—having spent a decade studying the art of preparing sushi and yakitori in Tokyo—opened his eponymous Fukumoto Izakaya on the East Side there was nothing quite like it in the city at the time, either. Since then, many more Asian restaurants have opened, bringing inventive new culinary options to the city. Here’s six to try next time you visit:

She’s Not Here

In August the chefs behind Old Thousand launched this brand-new Pacific Asian eatery in downtown Austin. By day they serve grab-and-go bento boxes, and by night they offer a full menu featuring Filipino porchetta, Korean fried chicken, nigiri, temaki, and plated creations such as the gorgeous yellowtail tuna served with lychees, green apple vinegar, and pickled Asian pears. While the restaurant’s façade is splashed with a tropical mural, the Art Deco–inspired interior makes a statement—or rather, understatement—with mint tones, natural wood, and lush vines.

The dining room at Kemuri Tatsu-ya

Kemuri Tatsu-ya

Tatsu Aikawa and Tako Matsumoto were responsible for kicking off Austin’s ramen craze when they opened Ramen Tatsu-ya in 2012 (Houston now has a location, too). Ever since then, everything the duo touches has turned to gold. Case in point? Kemuri Tatsu-ya, an instant favorite upon opening last year. The menu—featuring smoke-infused ramen shareable bites like kushiyaki skewers and karaage chicken and mashups like chili cheese takoyaki and sticky rice tamales filled with beef tongue, chorizo, and shiitake—has garnered national acclaim. The space, which pays homage to Texas and Japan in the form of mounted antlers, Japanese pottery, and ads for Japanese beer, is almost as fun as the food.

Soursop

Chef Teddy Bricker’s ever-changing menu draws inspiration from Vietnamese, Malaysian, Japanese, and Thai cuisine with dishes such as his insanely popular, flavor-packed sambal wings tossed in Thai chiles, fish sauce, peanuts, and mint. His playful “Dippin’ Tots,” sprinkled with togarashi, bonito flakes, and furikake and served with a tsukemen dipping broth, are the perfect accompaniment for a lager or ale—a good thing, since this food truck has been a part of St. Elmo Brewing Company’s beer garden since 2016.

Brisket fried rice and egg rolls at Old Thousand

Old Thousand

This Chinese eatery from Uchi alums Ben Cachila and Chris Romero has an open kitchen and a funky East Austin twist—in addition to traditional Chinese-American dishes like orange chicken and mapo tofu, there’s Texas-tweaked signatures including brisket fried rice, tomatillo steamed buns, and five-spice Chinese churros with pandan cream. The playful space, opened in 2016, greets diners with gold Buddha statues, panda prints, lucky red seating, and vintage Chinese-apothecary cabinetry.

The Japajam burger at The Peached Tortilla

The Peached Tortilla

Inspired by his childhood spent in Japan and Georgia, lawyer-turned-chef Eric Silverstein’s Asian-Southern comfort menu saw immediate success after his food trailer made its 2010 debut. He went on to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant in 2015, and today has not only a second location at the airport, but a full-service catering business. And his signature dishes, including kimchi arancini, banh mi tacos, and the Japajam burger —topped with tomato jam, pepper jack, tempura onions, Chinese barbecue sauce, and a fried egg—still rule the Austin street food scene.

This spring barbecue guru Aaron Franklin (Franklin Barbecue) and celebrated restaurateur Tyson Cole (Uchi, Uchiko) teamed up on a new Asian smokehouse, where the Texas tradition of trays and counter service remains, but the barbecue is elevated with beautifully crafted and plated dishes. Get the smoked brisket with chili gastrique and Thai herbs, along with a kale-and-Asian-pear salad, sweet corn fritters with Sriracha aioli and cilantro, and a selection from the list of wine, beer, sake, and draught-cocktails.

Stay

Already renowned for its hip hotels in LA and DC, the Sydell Group’s brand-new Line Hotel is a perfect fit with downtown Austin. Take in the works of local art, live music, and infinity pool have a burger at Top Chef winner Kristen Kish’s in-house restaurant, Arlo Grey and—when it opens—enjoy a glass of wine atop new rooftop bar P6, overlooking Lady Bird Lake. Rooms from $225.


Rachael Ray's Guide to Austin, Texas

I fell in love with Austin more than two decades ago because it seemed so utopian to me, celebrating the best of what it is to be American: individualism, the arts, entrepreneurism, and a love of great food. There’s a true sense of community and a surprising lack of ageism you’ll see a young person and an old one talking to each other on the sidewalk. And chances are both have tattoos and ear gauges and are carrying a guitar case. Because that’s another thing about Austin—it rocks, and it’s often called the Live Music Capital of the World. I love to come here and hang with my friends, catch a show, and support the killer food scene and amazing local boutiques. This is only a partial list of my favorite places there—to share them all would fill a whole magazine. But it’s a starting point. If you’re looking for a good time, look no further than the capital of Texas, the capital of cool.

Franklin Barbecue

A fully loaded barbecue plate at Franklin Barbecue.

Photography by Wyatt Mcspadden

There’s gonna be a wait, but pitmaster (and James Beard Award winner) Aaron Franklin draws lines from morning on for a reason. He claims to use only salt and pepper on his famous brisket, which is cooked on Dr. Seuss–looking smokers he designed himself. The result is without rival not only in Austin—it’s the best in the world as far as I’m concerned. Isn’t that worth a wait? 


Austin restaurants: Late-night dining

Each week in Austin360, we offer a rotating list of places to eat right now. This week: Late-night dining. All of these places are open until at least 11 p.m., with most open much later. Find more late-night choices at austin360.com/thefeed and more restaurants listed by category at austin360.com/AustinRestaurants.

(*This is not a comprehensive list. Don&rsquot see one of your favorites below? Send me an email at [email protected]n.com or leave a comment below and I will add it to our online listings.)

24 Diner. 600 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-472-5400, 24Diner.com. Farm-to-table comfort food in a diner setting that leaves off all the chrome and fluorescent lighting.

888 Pan Asian Restaurant. 2400 E. Oltorf St. 512-448-4722, facebook.com/pages/888-Pan-Asian-Restaurant. From Thai to Chinese and Vietnamese, the culinary options run the gamut at this East Austin spot.

Apothecary Cafe & Wine Bar. 4800 Burnet Rd. 512-371-1600, apothecaryaustin.com. Well executed seasonal fare at this neighborhood wine bar. Try the scallops with curry and soba noodles.

Arro. 601 W. Sixth St. 512-992-2776, ArroAustin.com. The folks behind Easy Tiger and 24 Diner bring comforting French dishes such as steak frites and croque monsieur to the West Sixth entertainment district. Open until the bars close on weekends.

Bouldin Creek Cafe. 1900 S. First St. 512-416-1601, BouldinCreek.com. Get your vegetarian (and coffee) fix until midnight daily at South Austin&rsquos home to the hip and crunchy.

Buenos Aires Café. 1201 E. Sixth St., 512-382-1189, buenosairescafe.com. A taste of South America in East Austin at this charming café that started on South First Street years ago. The selection of empanadas (spinach, beef, chicken and tuna) are not to be missed. Neither is the steak sandwich with a vibrant chimichurri. Open until 11 p.m. six nights a week.

Chinatown. 107 W. Fifth St. 512-637-8888, austinchinatown.com. The downtown location of Ronald Cheng&rsquos Chinese empire is open until 2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday.

Contigo. 2027 Anchor Lane. 512-614-2260, ContigoTexas.com/Austin. A short drive to East Austin feels like an escape to the country at this ranch-inspired restaurant that serves an excellent burger and great cocktails.

El Taquito. 1713 E. Riverside Dr. 512-851-8226, eltaquito.com. Classic Mexican dishes like tacos al pastor are served until very late daily. There are also locations in Pflugerville and Round Rock.

Frank. 407 Colorado St. 512-494-6916, hotdogscoldbeer.com. Fancy dogs like the Jackalope (made with smoked antelope, rabbit, and pork sausage, and topped with cranberry compote) and this fun spot in the middle of the Warehouse District.

Gourdough&rsquos Public House. 2700 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-912-9070, gourdoughspub.com. Spawned from a trailer, this restaurant has an entire section of entrees &ndash like fried chicken &mdash served atop donuts. Perfect for sopping up booze or putting you to sleep.

Home Slice Pizza. 1415 S. Congress Ave. 512-444-7437, homeslicepizza.com. The best New York City-style slices in Austin and one of the best Italian subs, as well. Neighboring More Home Slice is open until 3 a.m. on the weekends.

Justine&rsquos. 4710 E. Fifth St. 512-385-2900, Justines1937.com. A blend of style and grace, Justine&rsquos offers a unique dining experience, whether you&rsquore sitting at a small table in the dimly lit intimate dining room listening to vinyl or out under the trees and twinkle lights. The party goes late here.


Watch the video: SAXy Trio Mad Wine Bar promo (December 2021).