2310 Manor Rd
Austin, TX 78722
Some people say it’s unfair to review a place within the first two weeks/month of it being open. Since Haymaker was approximately 48 hours old when I visited, you should definitely consider this a recommendation, not a review. I suspect they have their shit together because the venue is the latest brainchild of an already wildly successful bunch- the folks behind the ever-popular Black Sheep Lodge on South Lamar.
Haymaker hits the Manor Rd (PROTIP for Australians and any non-Austinites, pronounce it “Mainer”) stretch and brings some classic pub/bar/grille fare to the Cherrywood hood. The menu is pretty heavy going; lots of fried delicacies like chicharrones, substantial appetisers like pretzel bites and sausage balls, though the bulk of the menu is populated by serious manwiches. Between these guys, Salt & Time and Gourmands, you’d think East Austin is the next Sandwich Capital of Texas.
Taking a cue from the notoriety of their crispy, salty and delicious fried cheese curds at BSL, the hero dish at Haymaker is Poutine, available in both regular form and Southern Style with white pepper gravy. According to my dining partner, KP, they were pretty authentic albeit somewhat lacking in curd generosity. Those curds which we did get, however, were appropriately squeaky on the tooth with a mild, gentle taste similar to fresh bocconcini.
Not to get bogged down in semantics, but a chunk of the menu is actually burgers which are served on Texas Toast, and I suppose this technically makes them sandwiches? Though, this toast-topped creation was known as the Pecan Street Blues Burger – 1/3 pound beef patty with pepper bacon, bleu cheese pecan sauce and some token vegetables. There is no bleu cheese burger/sandwich on the planet that cannot be considered rich, and this was no exception. The combination of bleu and pecan had an earthy, “dirt” like taste which we dubbed as the hottest new food adjective of the summer: dearthy. (And before you get your panties in a punch, “dirt” is not at all meant as a negative, it’s just the best description of the flavour profile that comes through).
Between this, the potent umami-ness of a 1/3 pound burger and charred pepper-crusted bacon, this baby is one intense selection best consumed on a fairly empty stomach.
PS: Sweet Potato Waffle Fries? BEST call ever! More surface area to crunch on! Salty, sweet, delicious.
Next came the Pimento Cristo- homemade pimento cheese on white bread, beer- battered and deep fried.
I’m fresh out of Lipitor jokes, but suffice to say this was an intense sandwich of gluttonous proportions. KP was right into it, the sweetness of the batter had be wishing that it was actually a dessert sandwich. Request to the chef: can you do one of these stuffed with peanut butter and jelly? THAT would be worth seeing my cardiologist for.
For my tastes, Haymaker is a stop for when you’re super hungry and craving all the salty, intense things accompanied by a thorough beer list. It’s a great new venue in a neighbourhood that can probably use a local sportsbar. Can’t hurt that they also have a buttload of screens to watch the game.