This guest blog article is by Madison Torres.
How is one of the newest coffee shops in Austin already one of the best? Austinite owners, Cody Symington and Mary Jenkins, are doing more than just a few things right.
From firsthand experience and an interview with one of the owners, I have the delight of sharing with you a few of the reasons why Cenote (seh-noh-tay) is one place you don’t want to pass up.
First off, the location is impeccable: right in the heart of Austin, only a hop-skip-and-a-jump from downtown and The University of Texas. Cenote operates from one of the first houses built in East Austin in 1887. The Heritage Society of Austin even awarded the owners with a Preservation Merit Award for saving the historic house.
The “Cenote Studio,” a separate vacation rental in the back, is readily available to rent out if one were to want the full Cenote experience (complete with complimentary coffee).
Coffee and Drinks
Cenote offers a variety of coffee, including Handsome Brothers and local-made Cuvee and Casa Brasil. Notably, Cenote was the first cafe in Austin to offer iced coffee on tap.
It’s highly important to Cenote’s owners to support fellow local businesses, which is why the majority of beers offered on tap are from local Austin breweries.
One of my favorite drinks is the simple, yet savory, iced black tea.
The food is undoubtedly delectable. When I questioned Cody about what makes Cenote’s food so incredible, he replied, “The focus is simple, high-quality ingredients. Every sauce, every spread is made from scratch.”
My absolute favorite menu item and go-to-dish every time is the eggs florentine, offered on weekends. The florentine has a southwest twist on a classic, including two poached eggs, sautéed greens, tomato, and chipotle hollandaise, all atop an English muffin.
Chef Arturo Lopez is to thank for the unique recipes, along with his wife Lucia who provides Cenote with fresh, homemade tortillas. A strong emphasis is placed on locally sourced foods and produce when available. Cenote is also a gluten-free destination, offering a variety of gluten-free pastries and breads.
Cenote is a traditional counter-service cafe with a relaxed feel. Cody wanted the atmosphere to be comfortable and welcoming as if he were “opening up his living room to the public.”
Unique art from up and coming artists always adorns the walls. The artist Cenote is supporting this month is Andy Herod, who’s work will stay up for 4-6 months.
Live music and special events are often held at Cenote. Every Saturday night there is live music inside, absolutely free! Another plus is dog-friendly outdoor seating, so you won’t have to leave your furry friend at home next time you go out!
Owners Who Care
Perhaps the primary reason for Cenote’s success is the fact that it is run by incredible people who genuinely care about the neighborhood, this wonderful city, and the lovely people who call Austin home. Being Austinites themselves, they understand the importance of conserving our sense of community. Cody and Mary lived in the same Eastside neighborhood for eight years, saw a need for the community they’ve built, and worked hard to achieve it. Their sole purpose is to welcome their area full of creative people, and to help them thrive and grow.
Renovating the historic house and launching the business plan took over two years. It was hard work and frustrating at times, but Cody and Mary stayed strong and were ever thankful for the incredible support they received from the neighborhood. Cenote opened March 25, 2012 and has been making its mark ever since. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience all that Cenote has to offer!
Madison Torres is a graduate student at Texas State University studying Wildlife Ecology. She has called Austin home for the last four years and looks forward to having more adventures in this wonderful city!
Have you paid a visit to Cenote yet?