On the quiet end of East 6th Street in Austin, Texas sits Easy Tiger: a bake shop, eatery, and beer garden. The multi-purpose establishment, cloaked in wild ivy and overlooking quaint Waller Creek, invites in those curious about its seemingly contradictory offerings and encourages them to relax, stay awhile.
At street level, co-owner David Norman helms the bake shop. Norman, whose bread has been enjoyed by diners at Michelin-starred Bouley in New York, lures customers in with the smell of fresh, rustic loaves, pastries, and German-style pretzels. Downstairs, his business partner chef Andrew Curren—who counts industry figure Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto as one of his mentors—produces housemade sausages, corned beef, and pâtés. Both divisions lead by example, adopting traditional, unhurried, and labour intensive techniques to produce their specialized goods. Loaves of rye, sourdough, and semolina are wholesome. Danishes with rotating seasonal fillings and pain au chocolat are airy in texture and dense in taste. The corned beef is well-seasoned and moist. The smoked venison sausage and wild boar rillettes are rich in flavour.
The care and attention paid to the assortment of food carries over to the drink menu as well. Craft beer selections from local brews, such as Real Ale Brewing Co. and Austin Beerworks, along with global taps are curated by master sommelier Craig Collins. In the café, baristas serve up Easy Tiger’s signature Texas Coffee Traders blend, made from a mix of locally roasted Brazilian, Ethiopian, and Sidamo beans.
Though unexpected, seeing the artisan bakery and beer garden at work together makes sense, both focused on the art of leisure and fresh fare. Norman and Curren’s decision to undertake this space in a relatively unoccupied part of the city may have been an initial risk, but with Easy Tiger’s food, service, and atmosphere, it’s not surprising that it’s drawing crowds away from the boisterous stretch nearby.