When it came time for Anne Rutt to give her new supper club a name, she wanted something unusual, yet familiar. “I spend time in Spain and Mexico, and my husband’s from Guadalajara,” she explains. “We’ve both eaten in a lot of hosterias, these little eateries on the side of the road outside major cities. There’s always a communal table and a little old lady serving authentic, local food in the kitchen. We ate some of the best meals of our lives at those places.”
And, so, about a year ago, Hosteria Verde—verde to honor such green concepts as local produce and environmentally-friendly products—was born. “The idea was to incorporate a lot of the best of Austin,” Anne recalls. “The visual arts, the local food and the fun, interesting people from all walks of life.”
Adding to the eclectic atmosphere is the setting—Hosteria dinners are held at local art exhibition spaces, among them the IF&D and Wally Workman galleries.
Dinner can be a logistical challenge—all eight courses are prepped at Hosteria’s commercial kitchen and put together on-site. But it’s one that taps perfectly into Anne’s real passion. “I put myself through Texas State while bartending at Vespaio,” she says. “I can talk about food and wine all day, and I love service. I was on my way to law school when I suddenly thought, ‘you know, my heart’s not in this.’ ”
The revelation ultimately led her to form a supper-club partnership with then-Vespaio-chef Andrew Francisco. He cooked, designed menus and shopped for the best local ingredients while Anne did everything else, from staffing to clean-up to serving as informal master of culinary ceremonies. When Francisco moved on, Rutt connected with John Cain, a Jeffrey’s-trained chef who’d just moved back to Austin.
Oliver Everette and his partner, both devotees of Austin’s burgeoning supper club scene, became instant fans. “We’ve been to five of their dinners,” he says. “The first was at the Pump Project—a gallery and workspace for 30-plus artists. You walk into that atmosphere, but you also see the candles and white linens and all these new people to meet. We got to meet the artists and see their spaces. Some were even working. About 30 people sat down in the middle of all that beautiful art.”
At this point, Anne Rutt is far more comfortable in her mobile hosteria than she ever would have been in law school, and she’s looking forward to dinners featuring guest chefs from Uchi, Wink and other local restaurants.
“It’s so rewarding to watch a bunch of strangers come together and leave as friends,” she says. “And all over a nice meal.”
Hosteria Verde Supper Club and Catering