Sawyer & Co – get your Louisiana brunch on in Texas
I had been meaning to go to Arkie’s Grill forever. The old classic blue plate diner on the Eastside, seemingly frozen in time, used as a filming location for Friday Night Lights… what’s not to like? Except, I was too late. Amongst all of the extreme change happening in Austin at the moment, Arkie’s was another landmark that didn’t make it. Unlike so many other iconic losses though, I have to say that I’m pretty thrilled with the replacement.
Sawyer & Co have done a gorgeous job of restoring the space from tired beige diner to fabulous mid-century modern eatery. But, it feels as though it’s been there for decades, not like someone came along and tried to make it better in a more modern way, and I really appreciate that kind of attention to detail. For real, this place could be straight out of Mad Men. Plus as a respectful homage to the joint they have replaced, their name comes from Arkie Sawyer’s surname. Everyone all together: “awwwww”.
To borrow from their own description, S&C bring the “New Orleans flavour with Texas hospitality”. They’ve stuck to a diner menu, even the blue plate specials remained, and serve breakfast all the way through til dinner. Diner throwbacks like burgers and hotcakes sit aside NOLA familiars like poboys, muffaletta and fried catfish dinners.
On weekends they bring out a whole ‘nother fancy brunch menu. Grits & Grillades, Eggs Sardou, pancakes with Steen’s cane syrup (because no self respective Louisiana-inspired joint would dare to serve maple syrup instead!). Feel like really opening up your top button? Try Boudreaux’s Breakfast, a concoction of scrambled eggs mixed with crawfish étouffée and served with a flaky biscuit. A side of cheesy grits is practically mandatory, as is a Zing Zang bloody mary.
You know what? Better to just go with a couple of people and share a bunch of stuff, because you’re gunna need to order the devilled eggs with praline bacon too…
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The humble 'tater salad is given a smoky texture boost by charring the potatoes on the grill and adding some bright, fresh flavors.