I’ve never been to one to stick to a single friend group. I tried, believe me, but then I realized how much more exciting life became when I found intellectual, curious, goofy, like-minded people all around the world with which to explore and share a meal (or two…or five).
My 3rd coast crew is full of people full of these qualities, and they know me all too well – only in Austin can I land at midnight and be swept away to this French restaurant at 1 a.m. for dinner, and then eat a multi-course brunch menu at Mettle East Austin Bistro the next morning.
I had been hearing about Mettle for quite some time from friends and industry folks in Austin. Located on the East side – the city’s equivalent of San Francisco’s Mission/Dogpatch, Mettle arrives at the end of a sleepy, residential street. It is a bright and airy space where on a good day you can sit outside and listen to live music and on a brisk day sit by the window, as we did, and nom hard.
While I didn’t get to meet Bridget, the owner, I got her story from Sweet, a local street artist whose work I follow (and have hanging in my room!). Basically, Bridget is a certified badass. After being a pilates instructor and traveling, she decided to transform Austin into what it is today, opening Container Bar and many other bars on the now-famous Rainey Street. She excels in spotting trends before anyone else does, and her food at Mettle follows suit, playing in between whimsy, finesse, and deliciousness.
Mettle’s menu follows no specific format or cuisine, opting instead for things that will taste good. The French toast bread pudding came stacked and fluffy and highlights today’s trend of hybrid desserts. A baked avocado came oozing with an egg, bacon, and crab served with crostini to catch all that yolky goodness and lick the fantastic presentation clean.
The highlight was definitely the crispy pork belly tacos – almost too perfect to eat, and even better to photograph.
To further support the community, Bridget allows artists like Sweet to paint walls outside and near the restaurant. After a hearty brunch, it makes for a creative walk along the railroad tracks to discover the lesser-known areas of the city. I’m excited to return to see what else she has in store for Austin, because she is rocking it right now.
“Dream big and deliver…on your own terms.” – Bridget Dunlap
Mettle – East Austin Bistro
507 Calles Street
Austin, TX 78702
Open for weekday dinner and weekend brunch