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Rebel With A Restaurant

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At Holy Roller, Callie Speer and her all-female team serve up unexpected indulgences with an anything-goes attitude.

By Sarah Holcomb, Photos by Robert Lerma

After working as a pastry chef for well-known Austin joints like Geraldine’s and Swift’s Attic, Callie Speer has returned to her savory roots to open Holy Roller, a punk-rock inspired diner with all-day brunch and an extensive drinks menu.
Whether guests include late- night partygoers, the downtown lunch crowd or families, Speer wants to provide an unpretentious spot where everyone is welcome.
“I wanted to create a home for the weirdos like me that like to just make food and make it fun,” Speer says.
The Sixth Street space feels at once grungy and glamorous, a combination Speer calls “hobo chic.” Plush chairs and tufted leather sofas sit under iconic neon signs. You’ll even find breakfast-themed graffiti in the bathrooms.
Speer recruited four other industry influencers to join the Holy Roller team, all friends who have worked with her previously. The all- female lineup was a happy accident, she says.
“We get along really well,” Speer says. “It’s like having sisters that you’re not mean to.”
With plenty of pastry talent on deck, Speer says the brunch-all-day concept was a natural fit.

“I think brunch, in general, lends itself to being comforting and very fun,” Speer says. “You can’t take yourself too seriously when you’re eating brunch, right?”

Guests will find plenty of nostalgic comfort food at Holy Roller, like fried chicken and brisket, but these dishes have been recreated in surprising ways. Take the meatloaf sandwich, Speer’s personal favorite. Using her grandmother’s meatloaf recipe, she created a patty-melt-style sandwich with horseradish cream and house-made bread-and-butter pickles. Other offerings include the Tex-Mex-inspired migas kolache bathed in queso, and a brisket biscuit sandwich with green-apple shavings and cheddar cheese.

The bar serves up beer, cocktails, wine and plenty of bubbly.

Each Sunday, the Sunday School menu features special pastries and drinks dubbed the seven deadly sins.

The religious wordplay and over-the-top menu capture the experience Speer hopes to create with the diner.

“I want people to feel like they’re being a little bit bad,” she says. “Prepare to be a bit surprised, feel adventurous, feel a little gluttonous and just hang out and have a good time.”

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