Exterior Cuisine

Fonda San Miguel, a beloved local icon known for exceptional interior Mexican cuisine, has something new to tempt the palate: its exterior—a stunning 100’ x 60’ organic restaurant-garden, the largest in Austin, recently installed by Austin Green Art (AGA). Best known for raising sustainability awareness through art, education and creative recycling, AGA was a natural choice for Fonda San Miguel owner, Tom Gilliland. Together with AGA founder Randy Jewart, and LandART (AGA’s for-profit subsidiary) designer Robby Lee, the trio planned and sculpted a plot on the northeast side of the restaurant to spotlight seasonal delights and Mexican-based vegetables and herbs to use in the restaurant’s award-winning dishes. 

“We cut up old billboards and used them as weed-blockers and water filters,” says Robby. “The beautiful wrought iron entry gates to the garden were originally used in the interior of the restaurant in the 1970s. Site integrity is very important to us—working with what was there before while creating a new theme.”

Gazing on the garden that now greets customers with broccoli, chard, spinach, arugula, winter root vegetables, artichokes, onions, garlic and more, it’s hard to imagine its previous life as a grassy water-collection zone. “We worked for six weeks grading, tilling, removing rocks, installing the cedar post fence and finally planting,” says Robby.

“We’ve gotten the most wonderful feedback from our diners,” says Fonda office manager Janice Harris. “Patrons are so pleased to walk through the garden after dinner. We are very proud of this new addition.”

“Austin Green Art is dedicated to improving how businesses, organizations and people interact and use the environment,” says Jewart. “We are thrilled to aid Fonda San Miguel in their efforts to bring another organic garden to the Austin community."

Fonda San Miguel
2330 W. North Loop Blvd.

Austin Green Art