Chef Mark Schmidt says he’s finally about to open the restaurant he intended to create when he and his wife, Shelly, welcomed a loyal clientele to their Marble Falls fine dining destination, Café 909, from 2003 until 2009. Regulars will find some of their old favorites among the new twists and surprises Schmidt has in store.
Chef Mark Schmidt (courtesy bigink PR)
Schmidt’s new eatery is Blackbird and Henry, “a place for people to hang out and unwind after work, gather with friends for a curry and pint night, and enjoy quality food. It's the restaurant I've always wanted to have," he told us. The location on Guadalupe just across from Wheatsville Co-op, situated between the West Campus, North University, Heritage, and Hyde Park neighborhoods, should provide the new spot with plenty of walk-up business and there is also plenty of convenient parking. Those two advantages weren’t offered by many of the properties Schmidt considered while scouting locations over the past year.
Once he found the right spot, Schmidt worked with a team from Well+Done Design to create the right setting for the food and ambience he had in mind. The space will have a rustic look delivered by the use of salvaged brick and wooden materials. The Schmidts came up with the name while brainstorming in the garden of a neighborhood pub during their travels in England and Henry is their beloved Labradoodle. The dining room features a large communal table for social gatherings and a raw bar for oysters accented by a Thirties-era galvanized tin baby bathtub. Although sommelier Shelly Schmidt will no longer be a working presence in the restaurant (she’s now teaching yoga and is a certified Rolfer), she has designed the wine list which will be presented along with craft ales on tap and a program of cocktails on tap designed by Lara Nixon of Boxcar Bar Consulting.
While some aspects of Schmidt’s menu will harken back to favorites from Café 909, guests at Blackbird and Henry can also expect dishes inspired by his upbringing in England and his more recent travels through Europe and North America. As always, Schmidt will be sourcing ingredients from local and independent purveyors and his food will follow the seasons. Look for the new restaurant to begin with dinner service sometime in February, with lunch and brunch following soon after
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