Modeled after a South Texas ranch of the same name, Contigo is a funky outdoor eatery way over on Austin’s Eastside.
Let’s take a quick inventory:
- Huge outdoor dining/drinking patio? Check.
- Strands of bare lightbulbs strung over said patio? Check.
- Majority of the flooring is bare Texan dusty dirt? Check.
Not that any of this is a bad thing, it’s just that the checklist above could be describing any number of Austin watering holes.
Contigo is a lil different. A little more refined than the others. For one, all the furniture matches and is clean. There’s an elegant minimalism in the design of the main building. But the menu at Contigo really sets it apart and features amongst other things share plates, snacks and charcuterie. The food is far removed from typical fried bar bites and tex-mex influenced appetisers. Take for example their ox-tongue sliders, or pickled beets with sauce grabiche and watercress. Faaaaancy.
Their bloody mary’s are made from a scratch in-house mix and feature the most excellent addition of pickle juice. Talk about depth of flavour! Delish. And just look at all that peppery debris! Y’all know me, I don’t eat okra, so next time I’m gunna have to ask for some olives instead.
I was introduced to Contigo by my homegirl Olivia. On this particular afternoon, I think it was around day 50 into the “most continuous days over 100f (38c) degrees”, we were hot, bothered and just wanted to sit in a chair and get our drank on. Which of course means we were going to start snacking too.
We started with the white bean dip, served with duck fat, parsley and crostini. The bean dip was incredibly rich and creamy, but did need a little extra salt. Paired with a cold beer, it was a surprisingly perfect snack for a hot day, and wasn’t too heavy.
Still peckish, we decided to explore Contigo’s world of charcuterie and sample their “daily fresh sausage” (not a euphemism). All the sausage is made in house and the special that day was the Chicken-Apple, made with chicken, pork, apples, and sage. It’s served with fries, dijon mustard, onions, and housemade sauerkraut. Essentially, it’s a build-your-own hot dog.
Chef Andrew Wiseheart (who was previously at Olivia) changes up the menu daily, and includes lots of seasonal Texas produce. So theoretically, you could probably make Contigo your regular haunt and never experience menu boredom. Sounds just fine to me!