Bacon Restaurant

(Austin, TX) — In past, when we’ve traveled somewhere unfamiliar, there’s a lot of discussion, forethought, Googling, and pre-planning that goes into where we’ll eat and which places we’ll write about. Lately, however, we’ve been using the term “freestyle” more often on our itinerary. After all, when you’re on an adventure, it often pays to stray off the beaten path and seek out new experiences. So it is with breakfast one morning in Austin, when the skies open up during our walk and we see before us the rambunctious colors of the Bacon Restaurant...

He Fed:

After our previous night’s exploration of ESK @Hole in the Wall, I’m not really in the mood for a huge breakfast but I am peckish. I’m also up before Juliet, so I spend some time checking on my newly-discovered Ingress portals in the area and scan Google Maps for anything interesting on the west side of town. What’s this? I double tap to zoom in. Squint. Rub my eyes. can’t be? Sure enough, there’s a place called Bacon Restaurant about 3/4 mile away and it’s showing as open. Is Juliet ready for more walking? Turns out she is, so we head out.

The stroll is pleasant enough and helps stir my appetite. After about twenty minutes, I spy a brushstroke of yellow through the leafless trees, and then pink. Pink? There’s a giant pig standing on the roof of the restaurant! They even have a bacon wreath hung out front, for the holidays. Bypassing the “bacon to go” entry, we enter the main door.

Inside, it’s cozy. We snatch a menu from the counter (where you order) and choose a small table to relax. There are three other groups in the space, munching and talking. Obviously the restaurant was once some kind of small family dwelling, converted but still in great condition. The menu is exactly what I expect: pork, pork, and more pork. I’m ravenous now, and the smell of bacon floats tantalizingly in the air above my head. Finally we narrow it down and I place our order.

Juliet opts for the Chicken & Waffles. It looks amazing. She allows me a bite, and it is incredible... succulent, juicy chicken breast pounded flat and heavily breaded, placed on top of the malted vanilla waffle. Drizzled with maple syrup, it’s a crunchy sweet surprise!

I, on the other hand, get three breakfast tacos with corn tortillas, egg, and avocado. Each taco gets its own type of bacon strip too: house cured, apple-wood smoked, and Tabasco. The Tabasco one is no trifle; it is hot! I like the smoked one best, with just a daub of green salsa on it—spicy, smoky, salty. I can see why the house made slab costs more, though. It’s got a little bit more fat and a sticky sweet coating that might be brown sugar. I wolf them down immediately, washing it all down with hot coffee, and wishing I had room to try their pulled pork or house made chorizo.

Thankfully, we have plenty of time to walk off breakfast on this side of town. Our lunch is penciled in as “freestyle” too. Maybe we can circle back later for a Bacon Reuben?
She Fed:

I want breakfast tacos. Egg, bacon, red onion, and avocado stuffed into a grilled corn tortilla sounds perfect. But there’s something on the menu I’ve always wanted to try but never had the chance—cue the harp music and sounds of angel wings fluttering, please—chicken and waffles. And if you’re gonna try chicken and waffles, shouldn’t it be in a place named “Bacon” in Texas? (For the record I might have had a gourmet, chichi appetizer version of chicken and waffles at Sable in Chicago, but I gotta try the real deal in the South, for heaven’s sake!)

When Jeremy places the order at the counter, he has them add bacon to the malted vanilla waffle batter. What the server brings to the table a few short minutes later is as big as my head. A huge waffle, fragrant with eggy vanilla goodness, smothered by a gigantic chicken breast cutlet. The word “cutlet” implies something bantam in nature but there’s nothing tiny about this bird. It’s an enormous skinless chicken breast pounded out to one inch thickness, dredged in batter, and deep fried.

I kind of stare at it for a few seconds trying to comprehend that I am going to eat this. (I really wish I had thought to have Jeremy take a picture of it with my hand in the shot, because the photo does not do it justice.) I cut a small piece of chicken then some waffle, spear them both, and dip ‘em in the maple syrup. You know how a great salty-sweet combination just fires on all cylinders, gastronomically speaking I mean? Add deep-fried chicken and a crisp-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside waffle to the equation. My first bite is, as Jeremy would say, “Regoddamndiculous!”

After this one bite, I now believe all fried chicken should be served with syrup, just as we discovered earlier at the Salty Sow. In addition to biscuits, I decree fried chicken be served with a side of mini-waffles. I’m not sure I’ve ever had anything this decadent, tasty, or downright soulful for breakfast.

The chicken is remarkably tender and the waffle would be fabulous on its own, the bacon flecks and vanilla in the batter pretty much gild the lily. The drinks are self-serve and when I go to fill my cup with water, I can’t find it so opt for ice tea instead. When we admit it to our server, he brushes it off as no big deal. Bacon sells some fun merchandise with funny swine-related sayings. I mean to grab a tee shirt on the way out but forget in my chicken ‘n waffles induced coma. A good long stroll is in order after this amazing breakfast!

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