#TXBites: Find Your Outdoor Vibe Downtown Austin at Vinaigrette, Wanderlust Winery

by Marika Flatt on April 14, 2021 in Food+Drink, Living Texas, Austin,

SoCo and Sixth Street — two of the addresses in the heart of all that is cool in Austin, Texas. We’ve sought out two spots in these iconic locations guaranteed to add zing to your next ATX weekend. 

Vinaigrette: 2201 College Avenue, Austin, Texas 78704

Under the shade of a 400-year old live oak, just off of bustling South Congress sits Vinaigrette. SoCo, of course, has really made its mark in the past 5 years, lined with funky Austin-known restaurants and shops designed for tourists. 

ust off of South Congress, in a mid-century building formerly known as the Pig Stop, Vinaigrette lies in the shade of one of the oldest live oak trees in town.
Photo Bruce Malone

Looking right at home amongst all this, in a repurposed mid-century low-slung building, Vinaigrette sits on the southern end of SoCo with all its beautiful bright colors. The interior is popping with bright yellows, deep oranges and vibrant greens. Yes, the colors of a delicious salad. (Or cocktail!) 

Vinaigrette is now a tipless restaurant. Prices have increased to include service, so you do not need to leave any gratuity on your check. Making and serving food requires skill and hard work, and Vinaigrette is proud to pay the whole staff, front and back, a fair wage for their part in making your meal. Photo Bruce Malone

And, talking about food, the folks at Vinaigrette are all about having a “positive and meaningful” presence in the communities they are serving. (There are two other Vinaigrettes – Santa Fe and Albuquerque.) Take a moment to check out their philosophy on the website — this is not your typical restaurant. (Here’s a little taster: “We think an overly prescriptive plan or dictatorial attitude about nutrition is at odds with real wellness. We care less about what you don’t or can’t eat and more about what you can eat—the amazing, beautiful, bright, sustainable vegetables and flavors—salty! sweet! zingy! spicy! nutty!—paired with textures—creamy! crunchy! crisp!—that make your palate sing.”)

Healthy sandwich options at Vinaigrette include a savry Rueben, roasted veggie & provolone, a tuna melt, a hot turkey sandwich, and a delicious Cuban torta.
Photo @OdetoAustin

With your taste buds now paying attention, for a delicious mid-pandemic meal, enjoy their shady courtyard for al fresco dining at its healthiest. Currently, they are keeping things at 50% capacity for your dining pleasure. They recently began their Saturday and Sunday brunch service, to the benefit of us all! 

Vinaigrette makes healthy salads that you crave with the same passion with which you might pine for a french fry or a chocolate chip cookie! Photo @OdetoAustin

Start with a glass of their fresh squeezed juice (orange-tumeric or the celery, with crazy ginger and fresh lemon) for a healthy start. Enjoy their protein packed Vinny Steak & Eggs, with New Mexico chile and a fresh tostada salad. But go ahead and splurge for the Biscuit Bites. (Tip: They’re as small as their name suggests.) 

Wanderlust Wine Co: 610 N Interstate Hwy 35 Austin, Texas 78701

At Wanderlust Wine Co. you can travel the world through wine, just like the young (he’s 29!) owner Sammy Lam did when he learned about the world’s bountiful array of wine. Through four Semester at Seas, the now 29-year-old Lam became a sommelier at a very young age. He knew he needed to bring the world of wine to his hometown of Austin. 

Wanderlust Wine Company seeks to bring people together to experience and enjoy wines from all over the world (including their own backyard of Austin, Texas) in a cutting edge experience of wine by the tap and canned wine. Courtesy photo

In the summer of 2019, he bought the property on the frontage road of I-35, right at 6th Street in downtown Austin, and opened his doors early spring of 2020. Yes, just before the pandemic hit. His passion to “bring value to the face of Austin” helped him turn this former tattoo parlor into a funky wine wall experience. 

Wanderlust is the largest pour wall in the world with 56 different wines from around the world and 64 total products on the wall. Wanderers can explore the flavors of merlot, tempranillo, chardonnay, riesling, prosecco, sake and other bevs, starting at 55 cents an ounce and going UP from there. (Believe me, you’ve got to watch yourself and your card!)

Look forward to 56 different wines at Wanderlust from around the world! Explore the flavors of merlot, tempranillo, chardonnay, riesling, prosecco, sake and so many more! All wines are priced by the ounce, starting at55 cents an ounce. Courtesy photo

How a Wine Wall Works

From tank to glass, Wanderlust Wine Co. makes it fun, easy and accessible to pick your wine of choice and then enjoy it in their Instagrammable courtyard. (Murals and photo booths abound.) 

All good wine spots come with a food option. Enjoy Italian nibbles at The Heel of the Boot conveniently located in the courtyard. Choose from homemade pastas, bruschetta and Texas size meatballs. Vito Rossini — hailing from Italy, by way of NYC — serves up authentic southern Italian food from Puglia, Italy. 

The Wanderlust wine wall is powered by PourMyBeer — a next-generation self-pour beverage system whose technology enables faster, more efficient access to beverages. It allows consumers to pour their own beer, wine, cocktails, cold brew, and kombucha. All while paying by the ounce. Tada!

Owner Sammy Lam in front of the Wanderlust wine wall, with some of the world’s premium wines available on tap. Courtesy photo

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Cover photo courtesy Visit Austin. Photo Carmen M Fischer

Marika Flatt, named 2021 Outstanding Austin Communicator, is the Travel Editor of Texas Lifestyle Magazine. You can see her talking travel on TV shows across Texas and hear her Weekend Trip Tips on Texas Standard (NPR).