East Austin butcher shop and restaurant Salt & Time is opening its downtown Austin cafe inside of Republic Square Park at 422 Guadalupe Street on Friday, August 14. Salt & Time Cafe will focus on takeout food, though there is available patio seating.
For now, only in-person orders are available through Salt & Time Cafe’s walk-up window., with the website for full online ordering to come. There’s even an intercom so that the staff doesn’t have to open the physical window. Customers will receive a text message when their orders are ready for pickups at the second window.
The cafe’s menu is a casual one, with sandwiches, bowls, and salads. There’s a dedicated breakfast menu with an egg sandwich, egg-based bowls, and pastries. The day-long menu includes made-to-order sandwiches such as roast beef, eggplant parmesans, and baked brie with arugula and fig jam; ready-made sandwiches like egg salad and muffuletta; and salads and grain bowls. There are also snack boards with cheeses (pimento cheese, burrata), meats, Spanish sardines, and vegetables.
Desserts include soft service ice cream, bread pudding, and chocolate chip cookies. Breads and pastries are being sourced from Clarksville bakery Swedish Hill.
Drinks-wise, among the usual offerings (coffee, juices, beers, wines, of which Salt & Time is known for its really great list ), there is a frozen orange wine concoction. The frorange is made with a skin-contact pinot grigio from northern Italy (Lunari Ramoro), an organic Italian vermouth, and white grape juice. “It is our version of frose,” explained co-owner Ben Runkle. “Less sweet, a little savory, but still very refreshing.”
Everything is being served in to-go single-us compostable containers. Drinks can be ordered online, with food to come soon.
“Given the small nature of the cafe, if an employee were to get COVID-19,” said Runkle, “we would definitely have to close for all staff to quarantine and get tested before reopening.”
As for the original location on East Seventh Street, sales “are down from the early days of the pandemic,” said Runkle, “but still very strong compared to what most restaurants are dealing with.”
At this point, Runkle can’t imagine reopening the East Seventh restaurant and butcher shop for indoor dine-in service at all this year. He’s toying with the idea of adding some outdoor seating, as well as partnering with a delivery company (currently the restaurant is only doing pickup orders placed online or over the phone).
In light of the pandemic, Salt & Time pivoted to amplify its grocery and market offerings. Runkle and co-owner Bryan Butler opened Salt & Time in 2013. They’re also working on a third location in South Austin, with more of a focus on produce and wine, within the Saint Elmo Public Market (which is still on track to open this year). Republic Square Park operator Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation had been looking for a cafe vendor since 2016, and selected Salt & Time in May 2019.
Salt & Time Cafe’s initial hours will be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday. It plans on expanding its opening days come September.