Hillside Farmacy

Hillside Farmacy, which opened last spring, is a charming mid-priced eatery and grocery located in East Austin headed by Homegrown Revival and former East Side Showroom Chef Sonya Cote. A leader of Austin’s locavore movement, using local and sustainable ingredients is more than just the latest foodie trend for Chef Cote; it is at the foundation of her values system as a chef. Not only does she sources her produce locally and uses regional vendors for other ingredients and market items, but she further demonstrates this commitment by hand selecting vendors who share her same values towards food.

Chef Cote, along with her Hillside Farmacy co-owners, applied this same thoughtful, detail-oriented approach in developing the design concept for Hillside Farmacy. Prior to opening, co-owner and interior designer Mickie Spencer (East Side Showroom, Swan Dive) overhauled the space, using the building’s storied beginnings as inspiration for the concept. Formerly home to Austin’s first African-American owned pharmacy, Hillside Pharmacy, nostalgic adornments such as refurbished antique pharmacy cabinets and medicine bottle salt-and-pepper shakers play tribute to the iconic 1950s apothecary. The drink list even includes soda fountain-inspired drinks, with shots of booze for a modern spin.

 

Hillside Farmacy Pickpocket – $4

The menu has its own story to tell as many items, such as oysters, are inspired by Chef Cote’s childhood on the Carolina coast. The weekday menu offers sandwiches, sharing plates, and salads, with the addition of larger entrées at dinner. Weekend brunch selections, detailed below, include decadent favorites such as French toast, biscuits and gravy, and lox and bagels. Hillside also offers daily happy hour selections and a traditional ‘afternoon tea’ set up including finger sandwiches and sweets.

Most recently, my visiting mother and I popped in during Saturday brunch, as captured below. Slightly bruised from the prior evening’s misbehaviors, I immediately ordered a Pickpocket soda (sans booze) while waiting for a table. The blend of strawberry, basil, and balsamic was so refreshing and reinvigorating I immediately ordered a second following my last sip. The balsamic balanced the sweetness of the fruit perfectly, and I am fairly certain the drink channeled the healing properties of its original tenant.

We began our meal with a shared watermelon salad. The blend of tomatoes, watermelon, cucumbers, onions, and mint was perfection on this particularly warm August day. It is in a dish such as this where Cote’s fervent commitment to ingredients shines as each component was full of fresh flavor. I also appreciated the pickled onions instead of fresh so to not over power the dish. In my world, cheese is rarely the item I notice least on a plate, but I almost forgot to devour the salty ricotta salata because the salad lovely on its own. Following the salad, we ordered an order of bangers and eggs and lox and bagels.

Hillside Farmacy Watermelon Salad – $7

The salmon was smoked with a lavender honey, which was both unique and outstanding, especially when paired with the salty capers and sweet pickled onions. The herbed cream cheese and side of cucumbers and heirloom tomatoes again highlighted Hillside’s use of ingredients to make a dish go from good to great. It certainly did not hurt all these delicious components were piled on top of a Rockstar sea salt and rosemary bagel, of course. The hearty bangers and eggs featured two perfectly poached farm eggs and two sausage links topped with tomato jam and caramelized onions. The sausage was lean yet full of savory flavor beautifully juxtaposed against the sweet onions and tomatoes. Needless to say, this brunch was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Hillside Farmacy. 1209 East 11th Street, Austin, TX 78702. 512.628.0168. http://hillsidefarmacy.com/

Bagel & Cream Cheese ($5) with Smoked Salmon ($4) and Cucumbers & Tomatoes ($2)

 

Hillside Farmacy Bangers & Eggs – $8

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