A New Twist on an Old Classic
"Straight outta Austin," Schlotzsky's Austin Eatery will delight and surprise.
From humble beginnings to 350 locations worldwide, Schlotzsky's Bakery & Cafe has made quite a name for itself. When I say "humble," I mean a single sandwich (aptly named, The Original) at a small restaurant in Austin, Texas. The brand has evolved over the years, and man, am I excited for their newest brainchild, Schlotzsky's Austin Eatery.
Inspired by their original hometown, this new concept, located in Duluth, brings the city of Austin to Atlanta. The restaurant incorporates a number of elements from the streets of a Texas town to our own backyard, including decor, food and drinks. For the first time, you'll find local beer on tap and live music.
"Austin is eclectic. They've got food trucks and live music, and they just do things a different way. It's important for us to bring those elements to our customers."
Maira Isabel Morales, corporate executive chef and director of research & development for Schlotzsky’s, is one of the driving forces behind this new eatery. Morales brings more than 20 years of experience in the culinary realm to the table, and it really shows.
The menu pays homage to several original Schlotzky's menu items, including (of course) The Original and other sandwiches, as well as flatbreads, macs and salads. At Schlotzsky's Austin Eatery, you'll find new additions to each of these categories. For instance, The Rancher is a scrumptious sandwich with hickory-smoked brisket and cheddar with roasted peppers, pickled jalapenos, queso fresco, salsa verde and chipotle mayo on a jalapeno cheese bun. If you like a little kick, this sandwich is perfect.
"Austin is eclectic," Chef Maira explained. "They've got food trucks and live music, and they just do things a different way. It's important for us to bring those elements to our customers."
In order to achieve this idea, Schlotzsky's has added tacos and sliders to the menu at this concept, and honestly, they were my favorite thing on the menu.
"I take a lot of pride in what I do. For me, it's personal."
The Land & Sea tacos are Chef Maira's twist on surf and turf. You'll get bacon, shrimp, chipotle sauce, Italian dressing, cheese, tortilla strips, avocado and more all tucked into a warm, fresh tortilla. I'd also recommend the Machu Picante, which is made up of pork carnitas, Peruvian aji amarillo sauce, queso fresco and other accouterments. The Peruvian aji amarillo sauce is very unique, and compliments the taco perfectly.
"I actually learned how to make carnitas in Mexico City," Chef Maira said.
You'll find the carnitas on a few dishes, including The Other Cuban slider. My favorite slider (and possibly favorite dish overall) is the Sweet n' Sassy—hickory-smoked brisket, apricot jam, jalapenos, swiss and honey cream cheese all on a Hawaiian bun (insert drooling emoji).
At the end of my meal, I think the thing that shocked me the most was the fact that you can get these fresh, unique dishes in a drive-through. Chef Maira and the Schlotzsky's team have put a lot of thought and effort into this new iteration of their original concept, and it's evident their hard work has paid off.
"I take a lot of pride in what I do," Chef Maira said. "For me, it's personal."
I could discuss these dishes all day, but you've got to go to Schlotzsky's Austin Eatery and give them a try for yourself.