*Photo by Rebecca
This weekend, I was strolling up and down SoCo with some of my closest family friends, and naturally, I stopped by Snack Bar (the soft opening was this weekend) to snap a photo or two of the South Congress newbie. As I walked across the patio, hoping to get a glimpse of the inside, owner Bethany Andrée stopped me to inform me the kitchen isn’t yet fully open, and in fact, the patio was closed when I arrived at 2:30 PM. (The limited menu hours are 9AM-2 PM, break, then 6 PM- Midnight.)
I quickly introduced myself, as to not seem like an intruder. Bethany and I had emailed back and forth recently when I was seeking confirmation of Snack Bar’s soft opening date of October 1st (strategically, ACL weekend). She recalled our exchange, and I soon learned of the history of Snack Bar, the reason for “PATIENCE” calming walkers-by on the sidewalk marquee, and future plans for the artsy, hip, and retro diner/lounge. I thought I’d share the scoop on Snack Bar with you in hopes that you’ll stop by and make it one of your regular SoCo stops.
Bethany, a ceramics sculpture artist, worked at Austin Motel, Snack Bar’s neighbor, for about three years. When the space opened up next door, she thought this was her chance to open up a type of convenience store/gift shop/diner for Motel guests. It took her two months to convince the Motel owner to let her open her business concept in the space. Between the time it took to secure the space, make the plans, build out the plans, and put on the finishing touches, it’s been a lengthy road. Bethany said the word “patience” on the sign outside was a reminder for herself that opening day would come soon…and it has!
The Here and Now
Currently, the Snack Bar outdoor covered patio is open from 9 AM- 2PM, then opens again from 6 PM-Midnight. Breakfast includes eggs any style, breakfast beverages, and pastries. Lunch includes sandwiches and tacos, and dinner includes European-style small-plates, along with beer and wine. When I called yesterday to get the menu, one of the small plates that sounded unique to me was Mediterranean and included Moroccan cuisine.
Where it’s Going…
Bethany explained to me that through her experience working at Austin Motel, she noticed guests needed toiletry items that may have been left behind at home. Her idea is to carry some basic necessities, similar to a hotel gift shop/snack bar, and even sell local artist work, since travelers would often realize they forgot to purchase gifts for loved ones back home just as they were checking out of the Motel lobby. As an artist herself, Bethany appreciates the local music and art that is borne out of this culture-zone we call Austin, and has plans to allow one of her friends to throw clay on his pottery wheel, while guests dine and lounge on the patio, then sell his creations. And, an accordian player has already begun entertaining patio guests.
In a few weeks, the full kitchen will be utilized, the inside and outside will be open to guests, and the hours will become 7 a.m.- midnight every day. Bethany also informed me that as a restaurant owner, she must serve food with alcohol, as her permit allows. If she eventually decides to close the kitchen and only serve beverages after midnight, a specific number of residents within a defined proximity to the venue must sign a document to obtain late night beverage permit approval. *This must be why Hotel San Jose, Cissi’s, and Doc’s, to name a few other SoCo hot spots, are only open until midnight or 1 AM.
Rebeccammended casual, yet culturally hip snack and sip spot: Snack Bar at 1224 South Congress. If you’re looking for a cute and cozy patio where you can catch up with a friend, swing by Snack Bar for a preview of the great things to come…