Karen’s Pick: June’s All Day
June’s All Day
Wine-focused SOCO newcomer has staying power
by Karen Spezia
Photographs by Mica McCook
Imagine it’s the year 2025. Austin’s population has doubled, Mopac’s construction is finally complete, the Longhorns are back in contention for a national title, and June’s All Day is still thriving. It’s a world that’s hard to imagine, especially considering that Austin’s new restaurants rarely stick around for a decade. But I assure you, June’s will. This delightful new café is in it for the long haul.
June’s pedigree helps ensure its imminent longevity. Opened last year, it’s the newest addition to McGuire Moorman Hospitality’s impressive portfolio that includes Jeffrey’s, Josephine House, Clark’s, Elizabeth Street Cafe, Perla’s, and Lamberts. The restaurant’s namesake, June Rodil, is a master sommelier—one of less than 10 in Texas—who serves as the group’s beverage director, overseeing the drink programs for all its properties. But June’s is her baby.
Along with her MMH partners, Rodil created a wine-focused restaurant complemented by serious cocktails and a menu of approachable bistro favorites. Inspired by Paris cafes, Spanish tapas bodegas, and urban wine bars, June’s encourages sipping, noshing, and lingering. Its offerings are sophisticated without being ponderous, upscale but still playful. As the name implies, you’ll wanna hang there all day. And you can, as June’s serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The wine list is worth special consideration given Rodil’s credentials. She rotates selections monthly in hopes of exposing her customers and staff to a variety of styles and regions. But don’t expect an intimidating, pontifical list. Instead, by-the-glass options are scribbled on an overhead mirror and the 120-bottle reserve list is presented in a whimsical hand-drawn booklet, or zine, which reads like a grown-up fairy tale.
June’s food matches its bar’s high standards. Breakfast is serene, with a smattering of locals on laptops, business tête-à-têtes, and neighbors grabbing a bite to go. Everything’s delicious, from the authentic buckwheat crepe to the pillowy cruller doughnut. Gratefully, there’s nary a breakfast taco in sight.
The all-day menu encompasses lunch and dinner. The Matzo Ball Caldo is a delicious marriage of Jewish and Mexican flavors: fluffy matzo balls, tender poached chicken, vegetables, avocados, and jalapeños in a sublime broth. Other tempting starters include fried baby eggplant, snapper carpaccio, and an asparagus and string bean salad embellished with foie gras.
The fried chicken sandwich is one of the best I’ve had. Succulent white-meat chicken is coated in crunchy, feather-light batter and dressed with zingy slaw, jalapeños, and a drizzle of hot sauce. Other winners include the smoked salmon nicoise salad, the bone marrow bolognaise with homemade pasta, and the roasted fresh fish on a bed of braised leeks.
Desserts and pastries are outstanding, so save room—or take one home for later. The signature Monster Cookie is chock full of chocolate chips, M&Ms, pretzels, and peanuts, creating a sweet and salty treat. The marshmallow fluff brownie is an ooey, gooey work of art.
Be sure to visit June’s for one of its ongoing specials, such as its generous nightly happy hour and its popular Sunday Pub Night, with spot-on Indian bar eats, discounted English beer, and select wines. As with all McGuire Moorman restaurants, June’s oozes understated style and panache. Located on a breezy corner of South Congress, the sun-dappled café features classic elements like brass bistro tables, leather banquettes, checkerboard tile flooring, globe lamps, and a wraparound marble bar. For entertainment, a vintage Wurlitzer jukebox plays an eclectic mix of tunes and a corner TV airs favorite sporting events. On the sidewalk, a cozy patio provides al fresco dining and exceptional people watching.
Being at June’s is truly a joy. But don’t just take my word: Bon Appétit and Food & Wine magazines both included June’s on their national 2017 “Best New Restaurants” lists. Its terrific food, drinks, and laid-back sophistication make it a timeless addition to Austin’s dining scene. See ya there next week – and next decade.