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Austin's Sidewalk Cafe

Update: Austin's Sidewalk Cafe is closed.

In a word: If you're over East Towne Mall way, this is a good alternative to those deep-fried mall-fringe big chain restaurants.

The specs: #0014
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; Crowne Plaza Hotel web site.

JM ate the honey dijon chicken sandwich and a lemonade and worked the December 1982 Atlantic Monthly cryptic crossword.
Nichole and Sue each ate the rosemary chicken and garden salad, Sue with a tropical paradise iced tea and Nichole with a Coke.
The bill was $21, or $7/person, with our Bucky Book coupon ($33 without).
JM gave Austin's Sidewalk Cafe a B; Nichole gave Austin's Sidewalk Cafe a B+; Sue gave the food an A- and the service a B (see our grading rubric).

Latest Austin's Sidewalk Cafe news and reviews

We were the only other diners save one in this airy restaurant in the Crowne Plaza hotel lobby. It felt rather a lot like dining in a mall food court, though quieter and cleaner, with cloth napkins folded into fans.

JM's sandwich was initially good but had a soggy bottom bun and the chicken got boring after a few bites. The seasoned fries were fine, but the half of a huge dill pickle was most noteworthy.

Nichole and Sue's rosemary chicken was grilled to perfection and served with steamed vegetables and skin-in mashed potatoes that were so good we forgot that the menu said we were supposed to get wild rice.

What Austin's lacks in cherry Coke, it makes up in fancy iced tea with a hint of floral flavor. The lemonade's fine. All the beverages are served in human-sized glasses of about 10 oz., which makes for a more mindful soft drink experience - less guzzling can be good, unless you're really thirsty.

If you're short on time, beware of the unpolished service. Maybe our server was new, since it sure wasn't busy, but she didn't know the soups of the day and brought out the salads immediately before the entrees. For a fan-napkin restaurant, though, it wasn't much more expensive than your average mall-chain meal (email us if you want our extra coupon) and much better crafted.

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