Restaurant Review: Wet Whistle Has a Niche Market Cornered
Corner store offers local, sustainable grocery choices on Eastside
Reviewed by Jessi Cape, Fri., Dec. 7, 2012
The Wet Whistle1900-A E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 524-2480
Mon.-Fri., 7am-12mid; Sat.-Sun., 10am-12mid
Eclectic is the name of the game at the Wet Whistle, an East Austin neighborhood store on the corner of MLK and Chicon. Only months old, the love child of a convenience store and a local farmers' market is adored. The assortment of delicious surprises ranges from local tea to vegan cupcakes and lasagna, craft beers, and fresh organic produce. Some bulk items are available, and, in keeping with its Eastside digs, a bicycle-repair section offers tubes. Records spin as customers shop the artsy, very small, and very clean grocery store; employees are friendly and seemingly well-versed in the frequently changing products. The Wet Whistle's driving force is its dedication to local, sustainable grocery choices offered to a rapidly growing and changing section of Austin. Serving a variety of customers, this one-stop-foodie-shop is great for waiting out the dryer cycle at nearby Spin-N-Kleen, making a mad dash for a reasonable weekday breakfast, grabbing a healthy lunch on a bicycle adventure, or picking up organic milk and fresh flowers on the way home. The Wet Whistle provides a refreshing means for many of us Eastsiders to find preferred items, without the usual gas station flashy ads and fluorescent lighting. On a recent visit, I enjoyed their small outdoor patio with a yummy Hot Mama's Cafe lemon zest shortbread cookie ($2.75) and a Salty Dog Kosmic Kombucha ($3.75). Some items may seem pricey for a convenience store setting, but they are no more costly than handcrafted items would be anywhere else in the city. It may not be the right place to dig the change from your pockets and buy a Coke (a personal guilty pleasure), but it seems perfectly suited to building community relationships while making life a little easier for people on the go. This store is exactly the type that reminds us that the best spot to spend our hard-earned dollars is in our beautiful Austin community. I don't always shop at lovely East Austin corner stores, but when I do, I'll choose the Wet Whistle.