Our small team here at Edible Austin loves watching the votes come in for our Local Hero Awards each year. It’s exciting to see our community share a passion for food, especially when they vote for such fantastic folks year after year. To the winners of these awards, congrats! We know it’s not easy to do all that you do for our community. And thanks to our readers, who always proudly voice their opinions on this city’s culinary adventures. Without further ado, here are your picks for the best of the Austin food scene.
Photography by Jessica Fradono
Chef/Restaurant: Kevin Fink, Emmer & Rye
Since opening in 2015, Emmer & Rye has been making all the right waves in Austin’s farm-to-table scene. Helmed by Chef Kevin Fink, a strong proponent of sourcing ingredients from local farms, the restaurant excels in creating unique seasonal dishes. To highlight their ever-changing cuisine, they use a circulating cart system alongside their traditional menu — small plates that differ daily are circulated around the dining room, with each dish ordered directly from the cart. Because Fink is such a fan of locally made goods, the restaurant has an in-house fermentation program and on-site butchery. They also use freshly milled heirloom grains for their pastas, breads and desserts. If you’re looking for a truly local way to sup, try the dining experience Fink has crafted at Emmer & Rye — and be on the lookout for Hestia, his soon-to-open live-fire restaurant.
51 Rainey St., #110
Photography courtesy of Antonelli's Cheese Shop
Food Shop: Antonelli’s Cheese Shop
Time and time again, Austin’s essential cheese institution has taken the title of Local Heroes Food Shop — and this year is no exception. Since we first introduced the category in 2012, Antonelli’s Cheese Shop has rallied their plentiful fan base to win every year; supporters of the shop are clearly well-backed in their admiration. Since John and Kendall Antonelli opened the shop in Hyde Park in 2010, their wide selection of local and global cheeses and charcuterie, along with their vast well of information on all things cheese, gives Austinites all they need to quell a dairy craving. Visit the shop to be guided by their knowledgeable cheesemongers, or take a class in their Cheese House just across the street for an in-depth dive into the world of cheese. Antonelli's also hosts Cheese-y Bus Tours, day-long trips around Central Texas to tour the local farmers who make the cheese sold at the shop.
4220 Duval St.
Photography by Nathan Beels
Food Artisan: Miche Bread
Bread goes way beyond basic wheat for local food artisan Sandeep Gyawali. A trained scientist with a career in biochemistry and neuroscience, Gyawali uses his analytical thinking to invent amazing flavor profiles when baking for Miche Bread. Frequently teaming up with Barton Springs Mill to source grains, Gyawali makes loaves like rye and mesquite, forbidden rice and sesame, and cinnamon raisin date. Gyawali is particularly enthusiastic about using mesquite flour in his baked goods — one of his more popular offerings is the mesquite chocolate chunk cookie. Fervent fans of Miche Bread can even subscribe and receive six exclusive loaves throughout three months; though you may find yourself visiting his booths at the farmers markets to restock in between.
Photography by Pauline Stevens
Farm/Farmer: Carol Ann Sayle, Boggy Creek Farm
Started in 1992, Boggy Creek Farm has provided Austin with fresh produce grown on their land in fertile East Austin. Owner Carol Ann Sayle prides herself on a running a “no till” farm, which allows for the topsoil to retain nutrients via compost, rather than the tilling method that compacts soil without adding any beneficial microbes back in. The farm is home to one of the oldest houses in Austin, which still stands beautifully today and serves as the farmhouse. With their faithful farm dog, Buddy, Sayle and her husband, Larry Butler, ran the farm together, along with another location in Milam County, until he passed away last year. Now Sayle keeps the work going with help from her trusty staff; you can find their produce at the farm stand at Boggy Creek, currently open Wednesday through Saturday.
3414 Lyons Rd.
Photography courtesy of Texas Keeper Cider
Beverage Artisan: Texas Keeper Cider
Though they may use apples as the classic base for all of their beverages, Texas Keeper’s offerings differ greatly from your typical hard cider. Formed by three friends in 2013, Texas Keeper Cider has contributed to Austin’s beverage scene with their unique craft drinks, centered around seasonal ingredients. They have several varieties of cider available, cycling throughout the year, all made from 100 percent freshly pressed apples and produced at their small cidery located just south of Austin. Founders Nick Doughty, Brandon Wilde and Lindsey Peebles enjoy experimenting with adding other ingredients to their ciders; the addition of grapes creates their highly beloved Grafter Rosé; add some honey, and they end up with the mead-like Honey Thief cyser. Beyond the delectable drinks, their taproom offers seasonal foods and a good atmosphere, making it well worth the trip south of the river.
12521 Twin Creeks Rd., Manchaca
Photography courtesy of Central Texas Food Bank
Nonprofit: Central Texas Food Bank
When tough times fall upon our state, Central Texas Food Bank steps up to the plate to help out. Last year, they brought 45 million meals to our community, made possible by the support of volunteers and charitable partners. When Hurricane Harvey hit the coast in 2017, the food bank aided in disaster relief efforts by feeding those who found refuge in Austin and San Antonio; they also transported food and emergency hygiene boxes to areas impacted by the hurricane. During the government shutdown last year, Central Texas Food Bank fed the federal employees who were stuck waiting on their paychecks. The food bank is also a fantastic nonprofit to volunteer for. With openings in their kitchen, stockroom, expansive garden and mobile food pantries, they offer a wide range of opportunities for folks to help out their fellow Texans.
6500 Metropolis Dr.
By Darby Kendall