Pitchfork Pretty has arrived on the east side restaurant scene, meeting all great expectations. Walking into the airy, cozy spot, I’m instantly taken with the natural light and comfortable setting. Jars of pickled vegetables near the front door catch my eye, and I have to stop a minute to take in the gorgeous surroundings. And then I try the food: sublime.
The team, owner Seth Baas, Executive Chef Max Snyder, and General Manager Alex Dubey, are all seasoned restaurant professionals who share a solid vision. Together, they bring an intensity and passion to the table (literally), making Pitchfork Pretty stand out in Austin’s busy restaurant scene.
Make Yourself at Home
While the setting is impressive, the friendly staff and warm design features put diners at ease. Other nice touches include the table settings, with adorable painted glasses and glass plates. The willow panels lining the roof and walls look cool, but also have a bonus effect of absorbing noise, so you can actually hold a conversation at the busiest time of day.
As Baas describes the place and each menu item, one word keeps going through my mind: deliberate. Every small detail at Pitchfork Pretty has been joyfully yet carefully selected. The food, the design, the staff are all thoughtfully and intentionally brought together to make the restaurant the inviting space it is.
Casual Breakfast Fare
Because Pitchfork Pretty makes its own bread and pastries each day, the kitchen is up and cranking before dawn. They decided to take advantage of this by creating a small, tasty breakfast menu. Envisioning a kind of grab-and-go scene, they’ve made breakfast an easy affair. Grab a Flat Track Coffee and order at the bar. Now wait for the best part—the food!
Breakfast sandwiches top the list, with three delicious choices. The Pitchfork, with daily charcuterie, perfect soft scrambled eggs, and provolone, is right up my alley. I love the sambal paste they add for some heat, and the potato roll fresh from the oven is one of those comfort foods we all need. The Pretty comes on an everything bagel (yes, they make them!) with pimento cheese, dill pickles, and onions.
For you homesick New Yorkers, wonderful news. The Lox is an everything bagel with house-cured lox, housemade cream cheese (so creamy!), capers, and red onions. It really hits the spot.
For vegetarians, the Earth Bowl pleases with a nice variety of flavors and textures. It includes oats, toasted coconut, sunflower seed milk, and fresh fruit. It is crunchy, unique, and somewhat healthy. If you are in a hurry, you can grab a scone, muffin, or bagel instead.
Pitchfork Pretty shines at night. This is when the team’s impressive background–working with renowned chefs at award-winning restaurants–makes a difference. The team brings precision to every dish, but with a sense of fun. Baas spoke of how they forage for ingredients such as edible flowers, herbs, veggies, and fruit, not only from their own large, urban garden, but also in their own yards. Chef Snyder’s extensive knowledge of which edibles look and taste good together makes the difference between ordinary and genuinely special food.
My friend and I started with a cocktail, as one should. I tried the China Grove, a potent mixture of bourbon and Irish whisky, with spices such as ginger honey, Sichuan spice cordial, and citrus. My friend enjoyed the Garden Water, a tequila drink with grapefruit and Austin’s favorite mixer, Topo Chico.
The drinks paired well with our appetizer, the snapper aguachile with watermelon and aloe. The textures and flavors of the aguachile complemented each other nicely for a strong start to the meal.
My favorite drink of the evening, though, was the Ooh-Ha, a divine mezcal, watermelon, and black pepper mix.
Our server suggested the buckwheat cornbread with honey-miso butter, and she was right on. The bread itself, made with buckwheat flour and masa instead of corn meal, is delicate but filling. The honey-miso butter served alongside showcased the precision and care invested in each plate, as each teeny lantana flower blossom and buckwheat pod were placed individually on the spread. It’s not just for show, though. I want to eat this butter on everything all the time. I wish they sold it in jars. Or by the truckload.
We tried the yucca dumplings stuffed with queso Oaxaca. This dish sported carefully-placed microgreens and thin slivers of raw okra, both from the restaurant garden. Technically an appetizer, these dumplings are substantial. We stuck with vegetarian dishes to finish the meal, at our server’s expert suggestion.
We ordered the spaetzle, a Pitchfork Pretty specialty and a nod to Texas’s German Hill Country settlers. What surprised me was how light and bright it tasted, a result of adding parsley to the dough. The bowl came covered in greens and included green apple, mushrooms, and broccolini.
The spaetzle and sweet potato rosette were massive hits. The sweet potato rosette came with brown butter solids and caramelized onions. It was slightly charred on the edges, and had us oohing and aahing over the flavors.
A blogger’s work is never done, so we loosened our belts and miraculously made room for dessert. Good call! As yet another example of the unhurried approach Pitchfork Pretty takes, we marveled at the description of the coconut crepe cake’s preparation. This dessert has no fewer than 10 layers of thin crepes, with white chocolate mole between each one. Fresh berries and chile arbol are thrown in for good measure. It is a true delicacy.
Even now, though, the almond pound cake makes my mouth water. The apricot filling and chocolate sabayon (something similar to mousse and custard having a baby) added complexity and sugary goodness, and the dessert comes with marjoram ice cream.
Bring Your Friends to Pitchfork Pretty
Since visiting Pitchfork Pretty, I keep telling everyone to go there. Happy Hour is from 5-6 p.m., with discounted drinks and a fun appetizer menu, with entries like pickled quail eggs. I hope you try it out, for breakfast, happy hour, or dinner, because I want Pitchfork Pretty to be around for a long time to come.
2708 E. Cesar Chavez St. – Website
@theAustinot wants to know:
What is your favorite dish at Pitchfork Pretty?
Disclosure: Pitchfork Pretty comped my group’s meals for the purpose of this article, but the opinions are my own.