Forthcoming South Austin spot Carpenter Hotel is previewing its cafe Hot L Coffee during both Austin City Limits Music Festival weekends on 400 Josephine Street, starting today. During the previews, it will serve several sandwiches, salads and grain bowls, and pastries, including chocolate chip cookies, all made by chef Grae Nonas and his team, as well as coffee helmed by cafe manager Amanda Farris.
The preview takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday, October 5 through 7 and again from October 12 through 14. The entire hotel, including the restaurant and cafe, will open publicly on Friday, November 2.
Farris knows her coffee well, the cafe manager was the co-owner of the shuttered tiny cafe Sister Coffee. “I want to make everyone feel comfortable the second they walk in,” she said. “I want to have a connection with every single person, but I also want to get people their coffee and get them out as quickly as possible if they need to.”
Hot L’s coffee beans will come from Merit Coffee, the San Antonio-based coffee roaster that also operates an Austin shop across the river in the downtown-Seaholm area. The menu will include regular coffee, espresso drinks, manual pour-overs using the V60, and tapped cold coffee. Non-coffee items include Wunder-Pulz kombucha and chai and tea from the Steeping Room.
As for food, the hotel’s chef Grae Nonas, wants the cafe to eventually feel like a smaller version of the all-day Los Angeles cafe Gjusta. The menu will feature sandwiches, salads and grain bowls, hand pies (with potential fillings like tomatoes, potato and eggs, and peach melba), Spanish tortillas, vegetable pies, giant chocolate chip cookies, sweet and savory waffles (topped with cajeta/almonds, berry compote, sugar/cinnamon) breakfast tacos, and more. No pre-packaged food either.
The coffee offerings will extend into the hotel’s rooms as well, each equipped with beans and the manual pour-over kettles V60. The same coffee and some tea will be served in Nonas’ on-site restaurant Carpenters Hall too.
Hot L’s space is meant to feel comfortable and simple. There are cozy vintage sofas and a large communal table. There are plans to add stools to the breezeway for an outdoor option, as well as German beer hall-type tables found at the hotel’s Quonset hut (when it’s not booked for events).
There is a corner with a record player setup, complete with records. People are encouraged to play whatever they want. People will also be able to order cocktails from the restaurant bar and drink in the coffee shop. Yes, there will be Wi-Fi and outlets.
The name is a play on “hotel coffee” — the neon “e” in the world “hotel” will flicker on and off above the door. When Hot L Coffee opens for full service, it will open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, including holidays.
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