The New Braunfels/Gruene area is stepping up their cool-kid cred with the introduction of a bevy of new restaurants and bars. Our new fave in town is The Downtowner Bar and Kitchen. Housed in an old building that was once the site of Bossy Milk Co. and Creamery, it boasts a locally-sourced menu, fabulous cocktails, vintage-industrial decor, cool artwork and wait staff dressed in hipster-factory garb. Think Carhart mechanic shirts, trucker caps, suspenders, beards and Rosie the Riveter inspired bandanas.
The food is Southern comfort at it’s finest with a modern twist. Fat, scratch-made biscuits, fried chicken, incredible burgers and steaks along with crab cakes, cheese plates, unique salads and incredible desserts.
It gets a little crowded in the evenings, so get their early if you don’t want to wait. But if you do wait, hit up the bar. The cocktail game is on point with unique liquors and interesting concoctions. I’m partial to the Moscow Who? – a delightful mix of gin, lime juice, mint, and soda… or something. I forget everything in it, but it’s light and crisp and refreshing.
Last night, I had the Crabcake Caesar salad, which is nothing like a traditional Caesar. A sizable crabcake was placed on a bed of greens, garnished with a variety of sliced tomatoes, fried onions and topped with mild, creamy bleu cheese crumbles. the dressing was closer to a chunky bleu cheese, but with tangy punch of a Caesar. And the crabcake? It’s all meat, baby. Slightly toasted on the outside with delicate, chunky crab on the inside. No breadcrumbs, just deliciously seasoned crab. The combo was surprisingly unique and delightful.
Normally I wouldn’t do dessert, but tonight I really wanted something sweet. And the Bourbon Pecan Pie was calling my name. The crust was light and buttery. The pecan layer was perfectly cooked, not crunchy or sticky. The gooey layer wasn’t as sweet as other versions. It was rich and almost creamy – not the typical jelly texture. The pie was drizzled in caramel and topped with fresh whipped cream and cinnamon crumbles. Honestly, I haven’t eaten something that divine in a long, long time. It was decadent and went so well with the coffee. I believe they use a local roaster called Pulp but I could be wrong. It was really smooth with a bold finish.
Also, the staff is lovely. So friendly and well-versed in the offerings. They know the food and the bar selection really well. They obviously have a passion for great food and cocktails and love spending time with the patrons discussing. And they remember us. We’ve been greeted with “Welcome back! Nice to see you again!” whenever we walk in.
The Downtowner is a really great addition to our quaint little city. New Braunfels is growing like crazy and I’m really excited to see restaurants and bars start popping up that embrace the culture of the city and mix it so well with modern culinary trends.
Holla at ya girl if you’re ever in town and want to stuff your face with all they yummies of The Downtowner. I’m always up for it!