Opal Divine's Penn Field

SoCo Dining Spots

4) Opal Divine's Penn Field

3601 S. Congress K100, 707-0237

Daily, 11am-2am

www.opaldivines.com

Count me as one of the biggest fans of Opal Divine's Freehouse, the original snug and funky location on West Sixth. The first thing you notice in its new location is the openness and modernity, the high ceilings, concrete floors, and tailored seating. One look at the bar, though, prove some things never change: Owners Susan and Michael Parker stocked it with more than 60 whiskeys and 36 taps. Meanwhile, the best appetizer is one that's not on the menu: It's a combination of two that are. Order the stunning Cracked Pepper Fries for $4.25 and the Chips and Queso Divine, which is a queso and beef concoction, for $8.95. The chips are your mediocre standard fare, but dip the fries in the queso. Unbelievable! Several of their main courses are also worth trying. The Cilantro Pesto Chicken Wrap ($5.95) is a spinach flour tortilla stuffed with big chunks of chicken breast, sprouts, lettuce, and tomatoes, with a tasty cilantro sauce. That massive tortilla makes it slightly dry, but dipped in the pico de gallo it comes out perfectly. Their burgers are made with Harris Ranch beef, delicious stuff and fairly priced at $6.50 for a third of a pound and $7.75 for a half pound. Just be sure to specify that they aren't overcooked. With meat this lean, it's easy to get it too dry. Also recommended is the Wurst Plate ($8.95): two big brats, grilled and placed atop sauerkraut. It comes with your choice of a side, and did I mention the Cracked Pepper Fries are incredible? Fans of the original might find the Penn Field location a little tame. The staff doesn't have that cohesive camaraderie and joyful helpfulness that you get at the Freehouse, and the structure itself lacks the cozy feel. Plus, they really need to hire someone new to clean the women's bathrooms. But, we've noticed that Michael Parker is spending time at Penn Field, and whenever the owner is present, good things happen.

Sign up for the Chronicle Cooking newsletter

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

If you want to submit a recipe, send it to food@austinchronicle.com

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Food Reviews
A Trio of Mediterranean Dining
A Trio of Mediterranean Dining
Just when you thought you couldn't possibly get any shawarma, right?

Wayne Alan Brenner, Sept. 4, 2020

Hot Sauce: Your Lifestyle Is the Target
Hot Sauce: Your Lifestyle Is the Target
What does your favorite condiment reveal about who you are?

Wayne Alan Brenner, Aug. 28, 2020

More by Wes Marshall
Weekend Wine: Try This Chianti for a Casual Dinner
Weekend Wine: Try This Chianti for a Casual Dinner
The Medici family tree is full of great winemakers

April 24, 2021

Weekend Wine: Imported
Weekend Wine: Imported "Herculean" Wine
Profit sharing pays dividends to everyone.

Dec. 19, 2020

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle