Very good Austin ice cream truck Merry Monarch Creamery is opening its first physical location in September in the form of a casual cafe. Bottega will be found at 2100 Robert Browning Street in Mueller starting on Saturday, September 2 at 2 p.m.
The cafe will serve up Merry Monarch’s Philadelphia-style ice creams (which are made with at least 10 percent milkfat and no eggs). Expect flavors like the Oreo miso (bits of the cookie and an Oreo/white miso ice cream; the Persian honeycomb (roasted almond-cardamom-ricotta-vanilla ice cream with saffron, rose, and ground pistachio honeycomb candy swirls); and the tom kha lime pie (coconut-kaffir lime leaf ice cream, sudachi — a Japanese citrus fruit — yuzu curd, peanuts, graham crackers, and candied ginger.
Then there will be appetizers and lighter foods. This includes bruschetta topped with grilled peaches, cherries, and herbed goat cheese; hearts of palm ceviche; beef tartare; and a chilled crab salad. There will also be tinned fish boards with accompaniments like olives, rice crackers, and peppers.
Bottega is taking over what had been Austin charcuterie board business Casero’s physical storefront, which opened in 2021. The catering company remains operational, and the Mueller cafe will serve its charcuterie boards and pates. For drinks, for now, it’ll serve only coffee. Once it secures its liquor license, it’ll offer beer and wine.
The physical space includes indoor and outdoor seating as well as a walk-up window. The design will be done in a 1970s Italian aesthetic. Keeping in that vein, the name of the cafe is the Italian word for “shop.”
Behind Bottega are co-owners Merry Monarch’s Gregory Maze, Neighbors Dog Park and Coffee Shop’s Kati Luedecke, and chef Rudy Rivera III. The three were already friends and wanted to open something together.
Maze started Merry Monarch as an Austin pop-up ice cream shop in 2021 and opened the food truck in 2022. Luedecke opened Neighbors in 2021. Before that, she ran the Peruvian food truck Killa Wasi. Rivera had previously cooked at Austin restaurant Wink and three-Michelin-starred restaurant the Inn at Little Washington in the D.C. area.
Bottega’s walk-up window/outdoor-only hours are from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and then from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Its full-service hours will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.