Editor’s Note: As of Nov. 2, 2015, St. Philip is ceasing operations. Uchi Restaurant Group President John Baydale announced, “We learned many lessons with St. Philip, made some mistakes, but also realized where our strengths lie.”
Editor’s Note: As of September 2015, St. Philip is closing its bakeshop to focus on the restaurant.
It all began with St. Philip, who iconically holds a basket filled with bread and is the patron saint of pastry chefs and bakers.
Today, Executive Pastry Chef and Director of Culinary Operations for Uchi restaurants, Philip Speer, is embracing the representation of the patron saint.
Speer has found his place as chef and partner at St. Philip Pizza Parlor and Bakeshop, Uchi’s newest yeast devoted concept.
I was mesmerized by photos from St. Philip as soon as I saw them. I flipped through them first to last, then last to first, then started over again at least three times. I couldn’t figure out what it was that kept capturing my attention. I finally realized my favorite pictures were of the people in the kitchen, their hands on the food, each telling a more relational story than the next.
Prepare yourself for weekly trips to St. Philip, located in Sunset Valley at 4715 S Lamar. This well rounded concept designates itself as one part pizza parlor, one part bakeshop. St. Philip features pizzas, meatballs, small plates, sandwiches, house make breads, pastries and sweets.
With a finely written menu of wine, coffee, beer and root beer on tap, your stay at St. Philip can be extended when you pair your drink with one of their more sophisticated hot foods.
During my visit on opening day, I found myself matching the artistic tattoos and jewelry from the pictures I had seen, to the actual staff members in front of me. Try the same experiment and you will feel right at home in a venue that already feels comfortably lived in.
The unique collaboration of baked goods and other plated bites allows for a similar consideration of business hours. The bakeshop is open weekdays at 7 AM and 8 AM on weekends, while the pizza parlor is open weekdays at 11 AM and 10 AM on weekends for a spectacular brunch.
St. Philip is hosting a happy hour from 3–6 PM weekdays, and Saturday and Sunday brunch runs 10 AM–3 PM and features the regular parlor menu as well as a brunch menu unlike any other in Austin.
Highlights from My First Bite
The menu is written with no overwhelming tendency. However, I suggest you come hungry and with friends, to allow you the full menu experience. If you’re not sure where to start when you visit St. Philip for the first time, these are my recommendations.
St. Philip features a menu portion consisting exclusively of meatballs. They’re housemade and bite sized morsels, packed with intense flavor combinations. Priced reasonably, you can try one of each and continue on with the menu. Choose from Beef, Chicken or the House combination of Beef and Pork. I highly recommend the Chicken Slider, a dutch-crunch roll you can combine with any sauce ($3.50 each).
Watermelon Salad – jicama, ricotta salata, shaved red onion, citrus + serrano dressing ($8.50)
Simplistic and flavorful. Thinly sliced watermelon is lightly topped with finely chopped jicama, which adds a crunch and is matched with ricotta for a creamy addition. It’s topped off with a light helping of citrus serrano dressing to create a balanced plate and is a great way to begin the meal.
Golden Cauliflower – herbed yogurt, pinenut, golden raisin ($9.50)
Opening my eyes to a modern serving of cauliflower, the lightly crisped veggie lays atop a brightly flavored layer of yogurt. The pinenuts add a small amount of texture while the juicy golden raisins bring a delightful tart, honeyed burst of flavor.
Braised Short Rib – tomato, green olive, parsley ($16)
This is a petite serving of tender meat that delicately falls into layers with the simple twist of a fork. The jus delivers a rich blend of natural broth, tomato and parsley. This plate eats like a comfortable fall day and will warm you up on a cool evening. As a final addition, a few coarsely chopped green olives add a salty kick to the dish. Bonus tip: if you have additional bread or pizza crusts remaining, be sure to dip into the savory jus before they take the plate from your table.
St. Philip – Manila clams, fresh ricotta, garlic, bacon jam ($18)
Per recommendation from my server, the kitchen delivered a crunchy, crusted pie topped with clams and velvety ricotta. The real treat was the bacon jam, which sat atop creating a sort of sweet and savory, candied brittle. Finally, a pile of greens added an earthy compliment to this flavor profile.
Twiz – St. Philip’s housemade version of the Twix, with a very Austin friendly delivery.
Byalis – Polish style bagel which hugs a cream cheese center and frequently introduces the chef’s flavor of the day
Peach Pie Choux – Pastry closely resembling a cream puff, with more crunch and filled with a layer of peach, a layer of fluffy cream and potentially small enough to pop into your mouth in one bite
Designed by a collaboration of acclaimed local design firms Michael Hsu Office of Architecture, McCray & Co and Shelving Litmus Industries, St. Philip’s space was created cozy and is naturally lit to allow for comfortable and conversational dining.
Other standout benefits to the location include a dog friendly patio, including a sliding walk up window, and large parking lots on either end of the growing business park.
Be sure to “Exit Through the Bakeshop,” and for those of you who may ask, there is NO gluten free menu, other than the obvious raw plates.
If you’re stopping in for a to-go pastry box, be sure to plan ahead. They will sell out of their deliciously baked items. Also, expect a full house at this location and be sure to make reservations for dining parties larger than six by calling 358-7445 or via OpenTable by visiting St. Philip’s website.
Are you looking forward to your first trip to St. Philip?