I never turn down a free lunch. So when Alex, the GM for Slake Cafe in downtown Austin at 7th and Brazos (where Bakerman’s Bakery used to be) sent me a note inviting me to come in for just that, how could I say no?
The weather was beautiful, so I walked from the office to Slake at around noon the other day. There were several patrons in line already, and the tiny little front area of the cafe (apparently, the entire Slake space is about 3,400 sf, but it’s mostly kitchen) had a bit of a chaotic, but not bad, feel (there were people in line, people milling about waiting for their order, couple of folks eating at the sparse interior tables, 4 or 5 folks behind the counter – kind of a lot going on in not a lot of square footage). They are about to open up additional space for seating and are also undergoing a remodel, so the look of the interior will undoubtedly change, but this is what it currently looks like.
The vibe that I took away from this place was that it’s a “get in, get your food, get out” sort of place, which is EXACTLY what most people are looking for during their lunch hour – or right before work (Slake has breakfast). I wouldn’t say the place is necessarily inviting you to stay and hang out awhile, but I also wouldn’t say that’s necessarily a bad thing. And again, it’s all going to change as they open up more space and remodel…
I had a salmon salad sandwich on a croissant, which, had it not been comped, would have been about $11 (most items are around $8). GENEROUS portion of salmon salad, and it was yum.
As for baked goods, there’s quite a selection – and according to Alex, “Nearly everything is baked from scratch in house except for a couple breads that we get from our friends down the street at Sweetish Hill. All of our desserts and Kolaches are made by our two bakers.”
Now, for the name.
Slake is a verb meaning “to satisfy”. Alex says he and Chefs Sean Perlow and Jon Shea “had a mass brainstorming, [and] Chef Shaun actually threw that one in the hat. We felt that is best described what we wanted to do with the space. With a bakery, scratch kitchen, single sourced coffee, and soon a full bar…we feel that we can “slake” nearly any craving you have.”
And yes, you did read “and soon a full bar.” Eater Austin recently reported that Slake will be adding a bar area soon. They are in the permitting process now, and the goal is to create a comfy place for folks to go after work. There will be a small stage area for entertainment.
Per Alex, the fellows running Slake “are talented and passionate about great tasting food but with very different backgrounds…[t]he front of house staff is equally diverse with transplants from Chicago, Minneapolis, East Coast, and we threw in a roller derby girl to keep it fun. All together, we have a great time cooking great food and interacting with our customers. We are also involved with Water to Thrive, a local non-profit that builds water wells in Ethiopia. A portion of our coffee sales helps fund their efforts.”
Slake is open weekdays from 7am-7pm, and offers catering. If you live in Brazos Place or work at The Capital Factory or one of the other nearby businesses, this is a place worth checking out!