The signature buttermilk pancakes dripping with rich blueberry maple compote, topped with a large dollop of creme fraiche, are a sight to behold at Launderette in East Austin.
The first forkful of fluffy deliciousness you'll deliver to your mouth is even better than when you see them arrive at the table.
I've eaten a lot of pancakes in my life, and these are the best I've ever had. Even the presentation is well thought out, with cute little cats as vessels for maple syrup.
It may come as no surprise brunch was the first (second, and third) meal I ate at Launderette. I began going in the summer of 2016 after moving to Austin.
My friend Nick had already experienced the pancakes and could hardly contain his excitement to go back (at every opportunity).
Once I'd tried them while sitting on the delightful covered patio of this former laundromat, I understood why.
Launderette opened its doors in the Holly neighborhood of Austin's east side back in 2015. It was an immediate hit, both locally and nationally.
In Launderette's first year, this casual neighborhood restaurant serving modern American food with Mediterranean influences was named Restaurant of the Year by Eater Austin.
The accolades continued in 2016 when Food & Wine named it one of the best new restaurants in the country, and it was a James Beard Award finalist for Best New Restaurant.
So who's behind one of Austin's most beloved restaurants?
That would be chef Rene Ortiz, a Houston native who spent 20 years working around the world and later opened La Condesa (Mexican) and Sway (Thai) in Austin.
His partner in this latest endeavor is Laura Sawicki, a 4-time James Beard Award semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef.
As you'll see below, Sawicki's creative desserts are one of the reasons I continue returning to Launderette.
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The restaurant menus at Launderette change often; here's a taste of what they offer.
In addition to the buttermilk pancakes, there's a pastry of the day, zucchini bread, and whipped ricotta toast with strawberry, chamomile honey, Thai basil, and fennel pollen.
Entrees include an everything bagel with salmon, asparagus Benny on a sourdough English muffin with truffle hollandaise, pork shoulder hash, a burger with American cheese and special sauce on challah, and a fried egg BLT. Prices are $12 to $18 per dish.
Potato latkes and chicken sausage are a few of the sides available.
The lunch menu features several items from brunch, plus:
- Mussels with pancetta, green chile butter, olives, and grilled sourdough
- Salmon with shishito, tomato, cucumber, farro, pistachio, and labneh
- Turkey Tartine with pancetta, tomato, cheddar mornay, focaccia, and herb salad
Small plates ("snacky bits") of beet hummus, striped bass crudo, deviled eggs (pictured above), and burrata with tomato jam, blackberry, pistachio, mint marigold, basil, and focaccia are also available. Prices are $8 to $18 per dish.
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Appetizers on the dinner menu include beet hummus, bass crudo, and burrata, plus pierogies with ricotta, romesco, basil, and smoked arbequina oil (the latter of which I can vouch for).
There's a crab and avocado toast on semolina bread and a salmon tartare on sourdough for $14.
Wood-grilled dishes include octopus, pork ribs with black garlic BBQ (another dish I can vouch for), hangar steak, and a whole branzino (European sea bass).
Dinner specialties include the mussels, chicken with braised greens, cavatelli with smoked tomato, the cheeseburger, and Iberico prawns with whipped lardo-shishito butter and red chile vinegar.
Various vegetables like Brussels sprouts with apple bacon marmalade are also available as side dishes.
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Laura Sawicki is one of my favorite pastry chefs in Austin, thanks to her consistently excellent desserts at Launderette.
The photos above speak for themselves. These are Michelin-quality offerings, and I feel grateful to have chef Sawicki in my hometown.
The dessert menus make me want to go back and order one of everything:
- Key lime icebox pie with pickled blackberry, matcha, mint, hibiscus meringue, and sour cream ice cream.
- Chocolate cremeux with whiskey caramel, sunchokes, star anise, and buckwheat chocolate chip ice cream.
- Hummingbird cake with chamomile cream cheese mousse, pineapple Fresno chutney, banana ganache, bee pollen, and brown butter pecan ice cream.
You can also order their popular birthday cake ice cream sandwiches during dinner.
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The kid's menu ensures Launderette is family-friendly. Dishes include comfort classics like grilled cheese and chicken tenders, as well as a choice of buttermilk or chocolate chip pancakes for brunch. Ah, to be a kid again!
As most of my trips to Launderette have been for brunch, I haven't tried many cocktails. However, I've been happy with the few I've had.
House cocktails include a variety of vodka, gin, tequila, mezcal, and whiskey options for $10 to $14 each. Save money by hitting up happy hour from 5 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
If you're not drinking but don't want to miss out on the fun, there are a few mocktails, including a grapefruit Fresno shrub and a watermelon shrub ($5 each).
Several local beers, teas, sodas, and sparkling waters are available.
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Visit Launderette in Austin
- Address: 2115 Holly Street, East Austin
- Hours: Friday Lunch is 11 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. | Happy Hour is 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday | Dinner is 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday | Brunch is 11 a.m. - 2:15 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
- Dress: Casual
- Reservations: Helpful for brunch, but not necessary. Walk-ins are also welcome. Make a reservation.