Austin’s food scene continues to grow. With so many tasty options, decision-making can be hard. Where do I take out-of-town guests? Who in the group is a picky eater? Which restaurant do I want to try next? What if I want to eat all the things?
Luckily, Fareground at One Eleven Congress cures indecisiveness. ELM Restaurant Group is the curator and manager of Austin’s first food hall, and the six vendors located there satisfy a variety of tastes and dining needs.
Austin favorites such as Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, Contigo, and Easy Tiger offer signature items as well as meals easy to eat on-the-go. New concepts from local establishments include Dai Due Taqueria, Henbit, and Ni-Komé. Need a drink to wash it all down? Two bars overseen by Master Sommelier Craig Collins have you covered with drinks as diverse as the cuisine.
Open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and weekends from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fareground solves your casual dining dilemmas for any meal.
Thank you to ELM Restaurant Group for inviting me to sample complimentary bites at the Fareground Media Party. All opinions are my own.
1/ Easy Tiger
My morning visit to Fareground was on a Saturday after a Town Lake run. Breakfast after weekend runs is usually donuts or something I can scarf down at home. I don’t like to sit around in sweaty clothes, so dining in anywhere is usually not an option.
Fareground is located close to the trail, though, so I walked over during my cool down and ordered a Bengal Spice Cookie from Easy Tiger (long runs = cookies for breakfast). Since it wasn’t that crowded on Saturday morning right at opening, I decided to go ahead and sit down. Counter seating, cafeteria-style tables, and patio seating are all available, but I opted for the cushioned couches near Easy Tiger’s shop.
Similar to its Sixth Street location, Easy Tiger at Fareground offers a variety of artisanal breads, pastries, and espresso. It also has convenient grab-and-go items, such as pastrami sandwiches and bratwursts on pretzel buns, if you’re wanting something more substantial for lunch or dinner.
In order to balance the sweet treat I was having for breakfast, I wandered across the hall to check out the items at Henbit, a new concept created by the team behind Emmer & Rye. My favorite aspect of Fareground is this convenient ability to mix and match items from diverse vendors.
The perfect accompaniment to my morning cookie? The Henbit Breakfast Bowl. Featuring a crispy short rib, sweet potato, poached egg, and greens, my breakfast soon became a perfectly balanced meal (following the 80/20 rule). Henbit’s menu includes all-day dining options along with superfood lattes. The matcha lavendar is my favorite–not too bitter nor sweet. After my run, I opted for the Golden Milk Chai, since I wanted some kind of milk with my cookie.
Henbit sources local, seasonal produce. The menu features healthy fare that’s both colorful and flavorful.
Contigo offers a few breakfast items as well. But when I made a dinner visit to Fareground, I had Contigo’s wings in mind, specifically the dry kimchi rub. I had tried them at the media preview, and knew coming back that I wanted to order more. Luckily, the wings come in orders of five or ten, depending on whether you want them as an appetizer, main entree, or side.
Loyal Contigo fans will be glad to know the burger and crispy green beans are on the menu at Fareground, as well. However, exclusive to the downtown location is rotisserie chicken. Need a quick dinner to take home after work? An item to take to a potluck? Done. Pair your chicken with a few sides or a salad, and your meal is complete and ready to serve.
With chicken and salads available in several different sizes, you’ve got lunch or dinner covered for yourself, a family, or several lucky co-workers.
4/ Antonelli’s Cheese Shop
Whether you’re looking for a snack or meal, Antonelli’s location at Fareground has you covered. With a curated selection from the Hyde Park storefront and complimentary tastings, the cheeses here can be cut to order or enjoyed in a variety of entree items.
Hot and cold menu options incorporate favorite cheeses of owners John and Kendall Antonelli. At the preview, I tried the Grilled Cheese, Creamy Tomato Soup, and Cheese and Mac. Verdict? All yummy.
When a friend and I made a return visit, I ordered the Ploughman’s specialty board as an appetizer. With one cheese, one meat, and accompaniments, it was the perfect size for a pre-dinner snack. It could even serve as a light meal for one. Add-ons such as salami, olives, and honeycomb are available, too. This location offers cheese trays and catering options, as well.
5/ Dai Due Taqueria
If you’re looking for a handheld lunch or dinner, but don’t want a sandwich, head to Dai Due Taqueria. Hyperlocal and super tasty, I sampled half of the available taco options and couldn’t pick a favorite. With inventive pairings such as Wild Boar al Pastor with Grapefruit, and Venison Picadillo with Sweet Potato, these aren’t your average tacos.
Tacos come on your choice of Sonoran Wheat Flour Tortillas or House-Ground Heirloom Corn Tortillas. The tortillas are made in-house and are also available by the dozen, to take home or to the office. With a variety of seasonal salsas, as well as vegetarian options for both the tacos and tortas, the taco scene in Austin has some new competition.
Ni-Komé is a new concept melding elements of Komé Sushi Kitchen and sister shop Daruma Ramen. With combination sushi lunches, Komé’s signature rolls, and a ramen menu with vegan options, the best of both shops has come together at Fareground.
The Dynamite Roll is my pick from the Fareground menu. I’ve ordered it twice now, dining in and taking it to eat during my commute home.
Want to stand out from the office crowd? Email Ni-Komé about catering options, and bring a platter of philly rolls to the next office luncheon (invite me, please).
Fareground offers a convergence of quality establishments, convenient for both the workday and weekend. Considering several of the shops and chefs have received notable accolades, convenience doesn’t mean poorer quality this time.
111 Congress Ave. – Website
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