Vancouver fast-casual restaurant mini-chain Meat & Bread will open an Austin location. It will be found in downtown Austin on 360 Nueces Street, Suite 20, starting sometime in January 2022.
The restaurant is known for its porchetta sandwich, served alongside salsa verde and cracklings. The meatball sandwich is another popular one, served with a parmesan aioli, kale, and gremolata. Then there’s also the Buffalo chicken. Also on the menu are dips meant for sandwiches, including a truffle-parmesan, habanero-cilantro cream, and a sweet chipotle. Then there are spicy dill pickles, soups, salads, chips, and chocolate bars with caramel bacon. There will also be Austin beers, wines, and other drinks. It will be open for daytime service.
This would become the restaurant mini-chain’s only American location. There had been locations in Seattle, but those have since closed. This first Texan Meat & Bread will be run by franchisees and couple Ernie Villarreal and Lindsay Jordan Villarreal.
The couple had wanted to open a porchetta-based restaurant for some time. “We both feel it is such an attraction,” Ernie tells Eater over email. “It’s unique and not done very often due to the laborious nature of preparation.” While researching porchetta recipes on their own, they stumbled upon a food YouTuber’s review of Meat & Bread’s take. “We both had a moment while we were watching and looked at each other and were like, ‘There it is.’” They reached out in December 2019, and flew to Vancouver to visit the restaurant in January 2020, during which they worked out the franchising deal.
Ernie had worked in various roles in the Austin restaurant scene, including the Lodge at Lakeview, Texadelphia, and assorted food and beverage programs at Hyatt Hotels. He also worked at Chipotle, first as an assignment manager and eventually becoming a multi-unit leader. Then he became a partner of Raising Cane’s downtown Austin location. Lindsay owns and runs the interior design company Elevate Interiors.
The new restaurant is taking over the space that had belonged to chicken tender mini-chain Happy Chicks. It appears to have closed sometime this year, but its remaining locations on East Sixth and Burnet Road are still open.
Meat & Bread co-owners Frank Harrington and Cord Jarvie opened their first location in Vancouver in 2010, followed by three more addresses plus one in Calgary. The Villarreals would be open to expanding with additional Austin locations.