Since my schedule is more flexible these days and I can work remotely more often, I’ve been trying to explore a lot of the places that have been collecting dust on my “to-visit” list. I knocked out a bunch of them in my latest Austin Eats Round-Up blog, but Swedish Hill Bakery Deli & Cafe stood out to me as a unique place I could write about.
My family and I visited for the first time two weeks ago just to grab a pastry. Once we realized all the cool things they offer, we decided to go back with empty stomachs the following week! I kind of feel like we are Swedish Hill regulars now.
I really love the set up of Swedish Hill Bakery, Deli & Cafe. It’s inspired by the bakery delis of London, New York, and California. When you walk in, you see all kinds of food and products. The deli counter is full of salads, deli meats, vegetable dishes, smoked and cured fish, various spreads, and caviar! There is a basket with baguettes next to a little chilled cheese case. You can even get a charcuterie board made with a combination of meats, cheeses, breads, and spreads.
Chefs prepare made-to-order sandwiches, soups, and hot plates (rotisserie chicken and prime rib, pastrami, lasagna bolognese…). There’s also a cute little curated grocery area stocked with house-made dried pasta, jams, olive oils, sauces, honey, and wine. In addition to bottles of wine, you can purchase wine by the glass and a bunch of other drinks. Personally, I’m a big drink person, so I love that Swedish Hill serves all kinds of coffees, teas, fresh-pressed juices, beers, and ciders. If you’re doing Dry January, I really like the selection of non-alcoholic drinks they offer as well! Sparkling ginger lemonade, green tea palmer, and lemonade all sound delicious!
Happy hour is a great time to try drinks and charcuterie boards! From Monday-Saturday, 4-6pm and Sundays 4pm-closing, it’s $2 off wine by the glass, $2 off beer, and half off boards.
Pastry Director Jen Tucker and Baking Director Alex Manley oversee an extensive list of pastries and hearth-baked breads, including morning buns, chocolate chunk cookies, lemon tartlets, sweet and savory scones, and bagels. I was impressed with their little cakes as well! They have a huge baking space in the back of their shop, so I’m not surprised their selection is so impressive.
In addition to a bakery case, deli counter with prepared foods, and small grocery, Swedish Hill also has a coffee shop housed inside their space. Both times we were there, there were plenty of remote workers typing away on their laptops. If you’re looking to eat lunch and sip coffee while working, this is honestly the PERFECT place.
I do, however, have one concern with the Swedish Hill coffee counter and that’s the price of their drinks. I feel like $5 lattes are standard these days, but $6 for matcha or chai is too much for me. The hot tea is also pretty pricey ($5-7 for most) but it comes in a pot that gives you a solid 2 cups. Still expensive, I think, but the tea is high-quality loose-leaf (not a bag) and the quantity is large, so I feel better about it.
The first time we visited we ordered dessert only. I tried the triple-layer chocolate cake and my parents each tried the banana cream pie. Both were beautiful to look at and delicious to eat! For lunch, we had some soup and sandwiches. I thought the soup was excellent! I would for sure order it again.
Inside was pretty crowded with people working, so we sat outside while we ate. They have a very nice covered patio with about 10-12 tables for you to enjoy. There are a couple of parking spots in the front (but they’re the back-in kind… I don’t like those). You can also park in the alley next to them or the lot behind. They actually have quite a few spots available.
One last thing to mention about Swedish Hill is their Friday night market dinner menu. It’s a price-fixe menu with 4 courses – two appetizers, an entree, and dessert. The menu varies from week to week (so check the website), but this week the menu includes a Texas citrus and herb salad, roasted cauliflower, Texas quail with saffron rice roasted carrots, lemon yogurt, and dukkah, and a cranberry tart. It starts at 6pm on Fridays (Walk-ins welcome! But you can also make a reservation). The website does not say how much the meal costs… if you’re curious, I’d call ahead of time. This would make for an awesome date night, if you’re looking for something special!
Overall, I was pretty impressed with Swedish Hill. Whatever your mood – coffee and work, food to go, full-on lunch/dinner/drinks, good happy hour, or just dessert – Swedish Hill has something for you.