SouthBites Gives Downtown a Tasty Break

New cafe in the SXSW Center supercharges the coffee-and-a-bite scene

No, citizen, you can’t eat in the fine new restaurant and bar in the SXSW Center that’s at 1400 Lavaca Street – because that culinary spot isn’t even built out yet. But –

Tasty java schemes and Instagram dreams, as conjured by SXSW and friends Downtown

But the Downtown headquarters of South By Southwest does have, right there in its expansive lobby, a bustling cafe that’s already open to the public – from 7am to 6pm, Monday through Friday.

SouthBites, the place is called, and it’s a designerly appointed venue, all decked out with plenty of ass-friendly furniture for sitting and meeting and lounging and sucking down whatever amount of caffeine your modern, on-the-go lifestyle requires.

SouthBites, fueled by a robust coffee program and enticingly stocked with the goodness of Pink Avocado Catering and more, is a welcome reprieve from the sun’s relentless harshness and the usual urban grind of traffic and cluttered sidewalks. Also – because maybe this is one of your things? – its sculptural ceiling is Instagrammable AF and provides just the kind of shelter you need to relax beneath while nomming your noms and sipping that java or tea or kombucha or Topo Chico or –

Uh, we said Pink Avocado, yes? Because the culinary program of SouthBites (and of the as-yet-unnamed adjacent restaurant that's scheduled to open next year) is run by two people, and one of those people is that catering company’s founder, Brent Schumacher. If you know the kind of goodness that Pink Avocado’s been responsible for in this town, that’ll be impressive enough; but, the other fellow, the co-honcho of this new SouthBites enterprise? Quirino Silva, the former culinary director of local fast-food valhalla Flyrite Chicken.

So, yeah, we’re deeming it a two-man dream team that’s running the show – abetted by head barista Denise Caballero, who was wrangled in from New Orleans’ Revelator Coffee and is working with Cuvée and others to offer the best roasts around. And between their fierce industry and the architectural exuberance of that big new lobby, well, it’s little wonder that SouthBites is already growing in popularity with neighborhood regulars and productivity-forward passersby and so many hungry UT-affiliated folks who are just, oh, a little tired of the Drag.

Hey, you want a pro tip? Or, at least, you wanna let me recommend something and also let me call it a pro tip – so I feel all cool and shit, like I’m all down with the Insider Knowledges and so on? Then – thank you – listen: If one of those turkey-and-whipped-brie croissants is available when you stop in for a bite? And you’re not vegan or vegetarian, so the cheese and the turkey are safely in your gustatory wheelhouse? Get that croissant. Oh, get it. It’s been two weeks since I had one, and I’m still thinking about it how good it was. That whipped brie, you know? Good lord.

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SouthBites Cafe and Coffee Bar to Open at New SXSW Center
SouthBites Cafe and Coffee Bar to Open at New SXSW Center
On-site food options just the start for the new building

Emily Beyda, May 31, 2019

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SXSW Center, SouthBites, Brent Schumacher, Quirino Silva, Denise Caballero, Pink Avocado, coffee in Austin

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