After pandemic-related delays, Melbourne-based restaurant and coffee shop Proud Mary Cafe is much closer to opening an Austin location. The daytime restaurant will take over the restaurant space at 2043 South Lamar Boulevard — which was formerly a even-more-casual location of Lucy’s Fried Chicken and upscale comfort food restaurant Olivia — and aims to open in late summer 2021.
“We try to excite customers, make a difference, and share stories,” says co-owner Nolan Hirte said of Proud Mary Cafe. “I love using this restaurant format, where someone is comfortable, sitting down, having a nice meal, table service, and then offering different things that might elevate that experience.”
Food-wise, Proud Mary pays tribute to Australia’s stellar cafe culture, and with that comes excellent breakfast dishes, which go beyond just eggs. There’s the pavlova topped with seasonal ingredients, say, pomegranate molasses and honey labneh; the shredded potato hash with smoked bacon, bagna cauda, a poached egg, and kale salad; fluffy hotcakes; omelettes with curried shrimp; and sticky fried eggplants. There’s also Australian items like avocado toast (which was a thing in Australia well before America), vegemite spreads, and meat pies. Proud Mary’s also offers morning-perfect cocktails (bloody marys, fruity mimosas), teas, juices, and smoothies.
Coffee will be sourced directly from coffee farms in the Americas and Australia. The beverage menu spans drip coffee, espresso drinks (yes, there are flat whites), pour overs, and more. This location will also have a coffee bar similar to Aunty Peg’s, Proud Mary’s sibling restaurant in Melbourne that only serves specialty varieties of black coffee.
Hirte chose this location for Proud Mary partly to make use of the outdoor space for dining, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The shop will also sell items to-go and include a retail shop.
Nolan and Shari Hirte opened Proud Mary’s in Melbourne, Australia 10 years ago. They decided to expand with their first American location in Portland in 2017, which is currently on the Eater Portland 38. Proud Mary announced a move to Austin in October 2019, although that was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another Australian-style cafe, New York-based Two Hands, opened on South Congress in October. In fact, Two Hands chef Barney Hannagan previously worked for Proud Mary in Portland, and was originally going to open the Austin location.
Proud Mary’s coffee, which is available wholesale, is already popping up at a few restaurants around town like Hot L Coffee at the Carpenter Hotel, Mexican restaurant Suerte, and coffee trailer Lady Elaine.
Originally, the 2043 South Lamar Boulevard address was home to Lucy’s on the Fly, the quicker-service iteration of owner/chef James Holmes’s fried chicken mini-chain Lucy’s Fried Chicken, which opened in October 2016 and closed in April 2018. Before that, it had been Holmes’s higher-end New American restaurant Olivia, It had opened in 2008, and was named a best new restaurant by Bon Appetit in 2009. The address is a block away from Austin coffee shop Patika.
The address is also going to be home to a big office development called Bouldin Creek.
Update, January 29, 2021, 9:04 a.m.: This article, originally published on October 30, 2019, has been updated to include the new address, opening date, and details about Proud Mary.
- All Coverage of Proud Mary’s [EPDX]