Lenoir Opens Its Backyard with a Menu of ‘Hot Weather Food’
The South Austin restaurant turns itself inside out to welcome diners back
By Aaron Parsley
Photographs by Gabby Phi
The signature lanterns that usually illuminate the dining room of Lenoir now hang from live oaks in the restaurant’s wine garden. Tables in the backyard space are draped in colorful vinyl coverings, set up with social distancing and summer style in mind. A new menu of “hot weather food” has been created that includes a cheese board with nocino honey made from walnuts foraged from Zilker Park.
The South Austin restaurant, which serves flavorful dishes sourced from Texas farmers and food artisans, is ready to reopen with outdoor-only service on July 2.
Owners Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher, a husband and wife team who launched Lenoir in 2012, decided to turn their restaurant inside out to welcome diners back after closing down during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in Austin.
Although the indoor dining room remains closed until further notice, the Lenoir staff hopes guests will enjoy sitting outside to eat dinner and enjoy selections from their extensive bar menu. The patio is the perfect place to side aside concerns while sipping beer, cocktails or a glass of all-natural sparkling, white, orange, rosé or red wine. They’ve provided a COVID-19 playbook on their website with guidelines for staff and customers to ensure everyone’s safety.
The new menu focuses on acidic and spicy flavors, and using minimal heavy ingredients like butter and cream to make summertime dining in Austin as enjoyable as possible. A few of the dishes include: a cold summer cannelloni with goat feta and cherry tomatoes; roasted gulf shrimp with fennel and sourdough; a pork paté melt with caramelized onions, cheese and pickles; a whole roasted dorade with blue crab and herb salad.
Reservations are required and can be made through Resy. Outdoor dinner service and takeout are available Thursday through Sunday from 5 to 10 p.m., with to-go bottles of wine priced at a discount.