Highly anticipated East Austin Chinese restaurant Sweet Chive is finally opening tomorrow, Friday, December 21 at 2515 East Cesar Chavez Street. The counter-service restaurant’s menu is full of Chinese and Taiwanese dishes, from dumplings to noodles to brunch congee, all in Holly.
Owner and chef Phoenix Pai wanted to showcase her home-cooking with the new restaurant. She grew up in Taiwan and her parents were from Manchuria, China. The menu spans “whatever we ate and grew up with,” she said.
This means all sorts of dumplings, including steamed, boiled, and pan-fried options with fillings like beef/carrot, shrimp/pork/chive, veggie, and more. The pockets are essentially flat large dumplings which are pan-fried and filled with ingredients. For more comfort food, there are noodle dishes, including a particularly spicy beef noodle soup done up Sichuan-style.
Pai is notably excited about what will be the daily-changing cold sampler, which will feature various seasonal vegetables. There will be a huge emphasis on vegan and vegetarian options as well. Rice includes the usual white and brown options, as well as purple.
Weekend brunch focuses on comforting congee, with savory and sweet options like chicken, goji berries, dried shiitake mushrooms, red beans, and more. Pai wants to offer up a limited amount of bowls per Saturday and Sunday, perhaps 50. Scope out the full menu below.
On the drinks side, there will be teas, both hot and iced (of the former, the fresh fruit tisane will make use of seasonal fruits like apples and the such), sea-salt cream iced teas, milk teas, and boba. Beer and wine will be added at a later point, as well as sake cocktails.
Pai believes in supporting other females in the restaurant industry, a message stated clearly on Sweet Chive’s menu. In that vein, desserts will be sourced from local female bakers whipping up pies, cakes, and cookies.
Pai knows her way around Chinese food, as she opened several restaurants throughout Austin since 1991 (China Cafe, Dragon Gate, Peony Asian Cuisine). Then she decided to open what she is saying is her last restaurant with Sweet Chive.
Pai decided on the Holly neighborhood because of its openness: “I think people are more willing to try new things,” she said. “In the old days, the restaurants I opened were more traditional, fit for American flavors, it wasn’t so exciting.” Sweet Chive is meant to be different.
There are murals abound at Sweet Chive. The exterior one features Sweet Chive’s logo as well as two dragons, designed by Billy Jewkes. Inside, as a nod to Pai’s daughter’s environmental policy studies, there are two murals showcasing endangered far east animal species like Mauritian flying foxes and honeybees, by Emily Ding.
The name is a nod to the popular dumpling ingredient, as well as a way to look at the brighter side of things. “Life has a lot of bitterness and hardship,” Pai said, “we need something sweet.”
Sweet Chive’s hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and then from 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
Sweet Chive's Menu by on Scribd
This article has been updated to reflect Sweet Chive’s current hours.