As a Paleo Austinite, I’ve eagerly awaited the opening of the brick-and-mortar location of my favorite butter coffee truck since it was first announced in 2015. Picnik started as a small food trailer on a hilltop on South Lamar by Naomi Seifter, and has since blossomed into a full-on Paleo foodie destination in the heart of downtown Austin.
I was invited to a sneak peek, soft opening dinner at Picnik before the official opening on August 10th. From start to finish, the experience I had at Picnik was unrivaled by any health food restaurant I had ever been to.
Let’s start at the beginning. Upon arrival, you notice the immaculate decor. It’s modern, clean and bright, with loads of natural touches like wooden shelving, hanging green plants and lots of natural light. It’s upscale, but unpretentious, welcoming and relaxing.
After being seated, I was immediately consumed by the menu. Offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there’s something for everyone here. I started with a fresh watermelon juice as I navigated my way through the dishes, not worried about finding what I could eat on my gluten-free, mostly Paleo diet, because everything here is allergen-friendly; they’ve even indicated the dishes that contain dairy or butter, and offer a fully AIP menu upon request.
I ate my way through the dinner menu, leaving very few dishes untouched. I began with the appetizers— chicken tenders (made with rice tempura and cooked in avocado oil), guacamole with crudite, and crispy glazed brussel sprouts. The chicken had the most amazing crispy breading, something I hadn’t experienced for years since going Paleo… you’re going to want two orders of those.
For entrees, I tried the orange-glazed chicken, meatloaf plate, the sausage and veggie hash, and the fresh catch of the day. My favorite would have to be that orange glazed chicken—it was crispy and sweet, and had just the right amount of sauce. I finished the meal on a sweet note, trying both the fruit bowl and blondie ice cream sandwich. Their blondie (like a vanilla brownie, but made with coconut sugar) has long been a favorite of mine at their truck, so having this with local, grass-fed ice cream was the icing on my cake.
I tried very hard to be critical of this meal, but, to be honest, it was difficult to find much to complain about. I compare the experience overall to ones I’ve had at some very hip, trendy and award-winning eateries in Austin. The prices were comparable to what you might spend at those, but the food sourcing here is immaculate and hyperlocal with farms and producers all listed on the menu. Note: If you are wanting a cocktail, you can BYOB.
If you’ve ever experienced the warm, friendly staff at the coffee truck, the feel in this place is no different. I’ll be back to check out their breakfast, and, of course, to get my favorite butter coffee. Until then, I’ll be over here dreaming about that blondie.
5 out of 5 kale leaves! Absolutely superb!
Picnik, 4801 Burnet Rd, Austin, Texas.
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