New Orleans will always hold a special place in my heart. The Mighty Mississippi, soulful music, and vibrant energy make up some of my favorite travel memories.
These memories immediately rush back the moment I step into Cypress Grill, a straight-from-New-Orleans cafe tucked back into a strip mall off of William Cannon Drive.
Despite its unassuming location, Cypress Grill creates an atmosphere that is true to both Austin and New Orleans, with a funky bar, walls covered in local art and a garage door that opens to create an intimate patio during the milder Texas weather.
Start Off on the Right Foot
To set the culinary scene, start off with The Sazerac, the signature drink of New Orleans, or a Sweet Tea Julep, made with Austin-based Deep Eddy Sweet Tea vodka.
Drop in at happy hour (3 PM to close on Wednesdays or 3-7 PM every other day of the week) and enjoy a Hemingway Special or Negroni for $2 cheaper, or check out their wide selection of Abita beers for just over $3.
Once you’ve wrapped your head around all the beverage options, I wish you luck trying to decide between chicken & andouille or seafood gumbo, crawfish eggrolls, or Cajun crabcakes to start. I can’t resist the slightly coffee-scented seafood gumbo. Aside from my father’s, it’s the best gumbo I’ve ever had.
Gulf Seafood in the Capital City
My husband doesn’t even look at the menu when selecting what to have for lunch or dinner. He goes straight for the fried shrimp po-boy on fresh French bread brought in from Gambino’s Bakery in New Orleans. The shrimp are lightly battered, perfectly seasoned, and some of the freshest tasting seafood we’ve found in this landlocked city of ours.
My favorite indulgences at Cypress Grill are the Atchafalaya Catfish covered in crawfish etouffée and the Shrimp Pasta Rockefeller, with spinach, artichokes, white wine, and bacon. Honestly, though, I really come to Cypress Grill for the sides: red beans and rice, mustard greens with pepper sauce, and fried okra satisfy my strongest, Southernmost cravings.
Many of the veggies are locally grown, too. Cypress recently starting partnering with Johnson’s Backyard Garden to get their hands on organic, Austin-raised produce.
The Party Continues
Don’t worry…this jazz parade continues on through dessert. Bread pudding with bourbon sauce, blackberry cobbler, bourbon (more bourbon!) chocolate pecan pie, and Doberge cake (a yellow butter cake with chocolate cream and chocolate ganache) all cement the New Orleans experience into your mind. I’ve tried nearly every one of their desserts, and every one of them is absolutely perfect (especially the bread pudding).
Also be sure to check out what’s going on at Cypress Grill on Saturday and Sunday mornings (8:30 AM-2:30 PM), when chicory coffee and Jalisco Jallelujah cocktails are served alongside Creole Eggs Benedict, shrimp and grits, and Cajun hash.
With a few expertly mixed drinks, perfectly blackened catfish, and a staff that couldn’t be friendlier, Cypress Grill has managed to bring the bayou to South Austin, and I for one couldn’t be happier about it.
Cypress Grill is located at 4404 West William Cannon, Suite L.
Where is your favorite place to go in Austin for bayou-inspired cuisine?