It’s important when on-the-go to have a place for a pick-me-up, whether of the caffeine, cookies, or wine persuasion. Italic just happens to have all three (in addition to an extensive menu of actual food). Even better, this downtown Austin locale offers numerous incentives to pay them a visit day or night with daytime happy hour ($3 glasses of rosé), prix-fixe Sunday dinner specials, and Friday/Saturday late-night specials.
Italic is a collaboration from the powerhouse culinary couple, the Currens of ELM Group, the team behind 24 Diner, Easy Tiger, and Irene's. Executive Chef Andrew Curren and Executive Pastry Chef Mary Catherine Curren married post-CIA graduation (the culinary one, of course), and after and living and working in high-end New York classics like the Water Club and Barbuto, the couple returned to Texas in 2008.
Workshopping menu concepts at home in Austin spawned their 24 Diner, and then one restaurant begat another until they developed a whole restaurant group, one that continues to grow. Recounting her ambitions to the Austin Chronicle, Chef Mary Catherine relates, “I knew from the time that I could decide that I wanted to do anything that I wanted to do pastry.” It’s pretty wonderful to know what you want to do so early in life, but quite another to excel at it in less than a decade back on Texas soil.
We’re fans of the couple’s Easy Tiger bakery (especially those buttery croissants), so we figured we would have to try something from Italic’s bakery menu. To our knowledge, there’s only one other Austin area location to find Italian pignoli cookies (Mandola’s, and theirs are exemplary), and so we tried Italic’s. This rendition is a bite-sized cookie distinguished by a fragrant orange finish amongst the almondy-pine nut goodness. In one word: yummy. A plate of three with a cappuccino was the perfect reviver.
For those feeling non-committal about a full-on meal, the café in the front of the restaurant is an ideal spot for refreshment, a solo meal, and for having a conversation and catching up on a few emails in between the next appointment, all in a light and cheery setting.
But, the restaurant side of Italic is pretty nice too:
We’re excited to visit ELM’s cookbook-inspired restaurant within the new Austin Central Library location. We love the restaurant’s premise that you can sample from a menu of recipes that found in cookbooks which you can borrow from the library. ELM will also be making a contribution to the food hall on Congress Ave, Fareground, adding more delicious fare to downtown Austin. Meanwhile, Italic has our beloved affogato on the menu, which is made extra delightful with housemade bourbon gingersnap gelato, making us sure to return again and again.