When Gardner opened last year (November 3, 2014) it was all about setting the tone for distinction from the team’s successful and well-known Contigo.
This place would dial up the design. This place would be more experimental. This place would put vegetables first.
“The new bar menu at Gardner is an easy, no-pretense way to enjoy the signature styles of the restaurant”
With just over six months of operation under its belt, Gardner has already had its share of success and accolades – Texas Monthly lauded the hay, Andrew Wiseheart was nominated for FOOD & WINE magazine’s Best New Chef Award, and the building design (a converted post office) won an AIA Design Award rarely given to restaurants.
Now that the concepts are clear, Ben Edgerton (co-owner) and Andrew Wiseheart (co-owner and executive chef) are ready to dial things back a bit. “When we opened we probably took ourselves a little too seriously… now we want to bring back some of the fun things that makes Contigo great,” says Ben.
Enter The Bar at Gardner – a new 24 seat bar and patio that offers an easy, no-pretense way to enjoy the signature styles of the restaurant. On the bar menu, you’ll find bar snacks ($5-$12), entrees ($12-$20), and cocktails. The standout here is hands down the Whipped Chicken Fat dish – a dish of whipped chicken fat, a fingerling potato and a housemade hot sauce that, when eaten at once, tastes like the best Buffalo wings you’ve ever had. You might want to order two.
Whipped Chicken Fat
fingerling potato, hot sauce | 6 |
ramps, peas, ricotta | 32 |
with potato ribbons
Mirroring the way they craft their dishes, Erin Murtagh developed new cocktails with the same layering concept in mind: begin with a base (one spirit), and create flavors around it through technique and fresh ingredients from the kitchen. Owner Ben Edgerton’s favorite is the Scotch cocktail (with burnt sugar and walnut).
To build upon their focus on local, they also recently introduced a new seasonal menu, now with bigger first courses (like the pork loin). Watch for more guest chef dinners, like the one helmed by Chris Shepherd of Houston’s Underbelly (last year’s James Beard award winner for Best Chef Southwest) Gardner hosted just last month.
Fermented Potato Bread
ricotta, peas, mint | 5 |
coconut, kaffir lime, ginger | 10 |
burnt sugar, walnut | 12 |
Andrew Wiseheart is one of the best chefs in Austin and the new menu makes it easier to try his creations more often. Find a friend who loves food or interior design, and enjoy the patio during Happy Hour – where Gardner offers $2 off all patio snacks, and $2 off all wines by the glass from 5:30-7pm. Get your taste buds warmed up with the Whipped Chicken Fat, Fermented Potato Bread and a Cocktail based on your favorite spirit, then let your culinary spirit guide you from there.
Garder’s chef dinner series began last month with Chris Shepherd of Underbelly in Houston. This Sunday, June 28th, Steven Satterfield, a 4 time James Beard Finalist from Atlanta’s Miller Union will be co-hosting the series with Andrew Wiseheart for a six course collaborative dinner. Métier Cook’s Supply will be on hand selling Satterfield’s new cookbook, Root to Leaf.
• Sunday, June 28 6:00pm
Can’t make it Sunday? One of the best deals in town is their special Monday Night Prix Fixe, 4-course dinner for $28.
1914 E 6th Street Suite C Austin, TX 78702
Sunday—Thursday: 5:30pm – 9:00pm
Friday—Saturday: 5:30pm – 10:00pm
• Make reservations
Writing and Photography by Chris Perez
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