2700 S Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704
Gourdoughs made quite a splash on the trailer food scene when they opened their gourmet mega donut airstream. They were amongst the first to harness the uber-decadent trend of adding hedonistic toppings to already indulgent bases. Think maple bacon, fudge and gummy bears, peanut butter and jelly. In fact, you can read all about the trailer from my original article here.
But, can you guess what trumps a donut trailer? A full service donut restaurant and bar, including full donut-themed savory menu!! Now, when they first announced their plans for Gourdough’s Public House, people were torn. They were skeptical. They wondered if the concept had perhaps been exploited and was going to be a little gross. I was one of those people, and I was so very happy to be proven wrong.
Nearly every dish on the menu is served with or on a donut, with appetizers, burgers and even salads served with a garlic donut on the side. Their dough is more yeasty than cakey, and the donuts are oversized, light and airy. Best of all, they have adapted the dough for their savory dishes to be only slightly sweet, not unlike a brioche burger bun, so in actual fact (aside from the small detail that they are totally deep fried), they make sense as a sandwich alternative. They also take great delight in the cheeky names of their dishes, with options like Phat Club, Breast Lift and Saussy Cock.
But enough messing around, let’s talk about the actual food! And first up was The Big Cheez, gooey mozzarella sandwiched between pillowy dough sheets, somewhere between a hand pie and a grilled cheese sandwich. Served of course with no less than three types of butter – cilantro buttermilk, avocado lime and garlic.
For mains, I chose the Country Clucker, donut base, potato pancake, fried chicken breast smothered in cream corn and finished with candied jalapenos (ZOMG IT’S A REAL THING!). I have had this dish twice now, the first time the potato was more of a hashbrown consistency but on the last version it was a totally smooth potato pancake, and the pasty texture really didn’t do much to contribute to the plate. Either way, this is one of the best “extreme comfort” dishes I have ever tried, but pretty please, go back to the hashbrown format.
G-unit has been getting into all things buffalo wing flavoured lately (remember the buffalo sandwich she had at Specs?) so she went with the Double D’s – a donut burger with angus beef pattie, bacon, fried egg, blue cheese crumbles, buffalo sauce and chipotle mayo. That’s a whole lot of burger. In fact, it’s the burger you choose when you want burger-wings, I guess. In this instance the pattie was over/welldone, which maybe suggests that Public House is riding a tad on their gimmick rather than their cooking, but as a whole the dish was generous, tasty and satisfying. I suppose this means she’ll just have to make the sacrifice and go back to try it again. Tough gig, eh?
The decor (in what was the old Kerbey Lane location) is heavy on the wood and metal, with a big focus on communal dining and shared tables. I particularly love the oversized mason jars as water glasses, the small metal pizza trays instead of plates and the irony of being given specialty serrated knives to cut through your soft fluffy donut. All these details help define Gourdoughs as a serious eatery, rather than a flash in the pan fad.
I wasn’t completely sold on the karaoke that was happening the last time I was there, largely because I prefer not to listen to drunk dudes trying to sing while I’m eating, but they do activate other fun events nightly such as bingo and my personal favourite, the Will Ferrel movie fest.
Though the menu lends itself to being a “sometimes food”, the bar is ready to get you in for a steady session of drinking. Case in point? Their mega ounce specials:
Go ahead, get your clucker on.