Though Callie Speer gained notoriety as a pastry chef, she tackles savory diner favorites with her new restaurant Holy Roller, which opened in July. The all-day and late night spot runs the gamut from pancakes to salads to “trash fries” with gravy, cotija cheese, and an egg. Read on for the early word on the female-led diner that has quickly become an Austin hotspot.
The food — Speer started her career as a line cook at 24-hour diner Magnolia Cafe — and the food at Holy Roller showcases this spectrum. The all-day menu is a popular coverage point, with Claudia Alarcon of CultureMap pointing out that it’s the place to go for a meatloaf sandwich at 10 a.m. or for pancakes for dinner. Belts may need to be loosened, as Matthew Odam of the Statesman calls the menu full of “unapologetically aggressive” comfort food, and the migas kolache in particular is highly praised, with Veronica Mewes of Zagat calling it a “delicious mess.”
The drinks — The beverage program is full of refreshing all-day sippers, with cocktails like Lust for Life with Tito’s vodka, Ancho Verde liquor, lime juice, and Jarritos Tamarind Soda in a glass rimmed with salt, which Alarcon dubs “an early best-seller.” There are plentiful nonalcoholic options like Topo Chico-topped shrub sodas and mocktails, though a shot can always be added.
The space — Holy Roller is, as Mewes describes “a shrine to the old-school Austin of yore,” with signs from various iconic businesses. Alarcon notes, “The transformation of the Wahoo’s space is nothing short of stunning, with a style reminiscent of a rock star’s high-end living room.” One focal point of the restaurant is a giant portrait of a crown-adorned Iggy Pop, situated next to a “confessional” booth. Of course, the punk rock dishes and decor would be remiss without a fitting soundtrack blaring over the speakers as well.
The overall experience — The female-led staff results in what Alarcon sees as a “cool vibe and whimsical menu.” The art, music, religious undertones, and decor make for an experience even before considering the universally praised menu.