Naomi Seifter opened Picnik to bring Austin fresh, locally sourced food that’s more than just food; it’s an experience.
By Jen Ramos Perkins, Photos courtesy of Picnik
Locally sourced? Check.
Gluten, refined sugar and peanut free? Check.
You really can have it all at Austin’s own Picnik, where the menu is focused on better-for-you comfort foods, paleo-inspired recipes and specialty butter coffee. (Oh, and no shortage of amazing, delicious cocktails.)
Naomi Seifter opened the first Picnik food trailer on South Lamar in 2013 with the goal of making readily available gluten-free options easier to come by. Austinites loved it, and in 2016, Seifter opened the first brick-and-mortar location. By 2018, she launched a line of creamers that is now available nationwide at retailers like Whole Foods and Sprouts or at your local H-E-B. Fast Forward to 2022; the third Picnik location opens on South First Street, where you can lunch, brunch, dine or take your food to go from the walk-up window.
You can sit inside, where clean lines, lots of light and sleek decor are complimented by beautiful custom murals painted by local artist @mothermarfa. Or you can sit outside and sip a cocktail while watching the eclectic passersby in what feels like “new urban Austin meets the quirky old Austin” feel of South First.
The guacamole was beautiful, clean and super fresh and perfectly paired with the stone-ground tortilla chips. But it was the tempura chicken tender appetizer that seemed to be on every table. Crispy, tender, juicy and fantastic with the house honey mustard or the spicy, smoky chipotle ketchup. The bibimbap was almost too pretty to eat. But once you dive in, it’s very satisfying; every food texture, color and flavor you could want in one bowl.
Enjoy a glass of vino from a great selection of sustainable wines, cider, beer, hard kombucha. Try a signature cocktail like the Mid Sommer (my favorite), a perfectly refreshing, zesty citrus summer sipper made with aquavit, Meyer lemon + mint shrub, cucumber, sparkling water and a sprig of dill. Imbibe without the ABV and have a zero-proof turmeric tonic or blueberry rooibos iced tea. (Pretty and delicious!) Oh! Don’t forget to grab an adorable canned cocktail on your way out the door to enjoy later. Choose from the pitaya margarita, Thai mojito, Picnik mule or hard cherry limeade.
Last but not least, the service was superb. Greeted with friendly smiles at the door, we were seated quickly and taken care of by multiple staff members with impeccable timing and service led by Veronica F. The entire front-of-house was visibly present throughout our two-hour visit, talking with and helping guests, and each other, with laughter and good energy. Special thanks to Michelle Wong, CMO, and Tom Moon, director of operations, for making it extra special.
We’ll be back!