A Texas-based cider company is expanding with its first-ever restaurant in the heart of Austin.
Along Barton Springs Road, just minutes from the iconic pool and ever popular hike and bike trail, the doors are now open to the new Austin Eastciders restaurant.
My favorite feature about this new eatery is the coffee bar, along with a breakfast menu. Not purely based on alcoholic beverages, this hot spot has a comfortable, trendy vibe where people can kick-start a Saturday, or any day of the week, with a cup of joe. Individual swings at a small bar at the front of the restaurant also help provide a laid back, somewhat tropical atmosphere. Navy and white paint along with light fixtures made of rope give the space a definite nautical feel.
A flavorful menu with pizzas, sandwiches, snacks and salads, this new kid on the block offers something for everyone. Truly unique, I recommend trying the Cider Queso. Smokier than traditional queso, the dish reminds us of Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que, the longtime restaurant that used to occupy the spot. Our server explained that the restaurant’s new space came with the previous owner’s smoker, so it made sense for chefs to incorporated smoked meats and vegetables in the menu.
Smoked chicken, pork, or pastrami can be added to the queso, but cider is what makes this version of a beloved Texas staple stand out. The restaurant’s head chef says original cider is reduced by half, then added to the queso, which helps balance out the rich and spicy profiles of the queso.
Creative pizzas are another highlight of the menu. We opted to try the Zilker. Smoked broccoli, romesco, pinenut, red onion and pickled fresno give this vegan pizza a healthy taste that’s also flavorful and tangy. An added bonus, all of the pizzas are available with a cauliflower crust. If your taste buds are more traditional, pepperoni and margherita pizzas are also available.
Of course, no lunchtime or dinner time trip to the Austin Eastciders would be complete without tasting some cider or hard seltzer. My favorite for a Central Texas late summer, turning-to-fall day is the Black Cherry Spiked Seltzer. The drink is refreshing and light, with tastes of cherry, almond, and apple. At only 100 calories, it’s a win/win for anyone looking for a sweet and refreshing treat. And, with Longhorn football season about to kick-off, I can imagine loyal fans going for the Blood Orange Cider. (Nope, Bevo, they don’t do anything in burnt orange!)
Social distancing is easy here. I really enjoyed the spaced-out patio seating in an area with just the right amount of shade. To cut down on contact, paper menus are non-existent. Instead, an easy to use QR code will help you pull up all menu options straight to your phone. But, if you’re feeling more stay-at-home these days, the restaurant offers takeout and curbside pickup.
Once the pandemic is over, the folks at Austin Eastciders are excited about their plans for live entertainment and other social activities that patrons will surely enjoy. The company’s management team says they are proud to be able to provide new jobs for hospitality workers, especially during a time that has been rough for so many people.
Austin Eastciders was founded in 2013 by beer businessman Mark King, along with Ed Gibson, a transplanted Englishman who previously owned a cider bar in the heart of England’s cider country. Unlike other American cider companies, Eastciders uses real cider apples sourced from Europe in all cider blends. Operating from a 33,000 square foot East Austin site, the company also has a tasting room in East Austin that’s been open since 2017.
Open 7:30 am Monday-Friday and 8:30 am Saturday and Sunday, complimentary parking for Eastciders guests is available in a parking garage behind the building.
Cover photo courtesy Austin Eastciders
Britni Rachal lives in Austin, Texas. She is a freelance journalist and a full-time marketer. In addition to writing, Rachal enjoys traveling, event planning, fashion, fitness and serving the Austin community.