Austin’s Barley Swine restaurant brings food straight from gardens to tables

Barley Swine front patio garden with edible plants, such as succulents, cacti, lemon grass, bay laurel, garlic chives, parsley and chocolate mint. (Photo Courtesy: Mary Alice Kaspar)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Farm to table eating gets a whole new meaning with Austin’s Barley Swine restaurant unveiling a new way to grow their own food.

Barley Swine garden located in the back of the restaurant (Photo Courtesy: Mary Alice Kaspar)
Barley Swine garden located in the back of the restaurant (Photo Courtesy: Mary Alice Kaspar)

Barley Swine has moved to 6555 Burnet Road, just north of Koenig Lane, and the restaurant grown enough to allow an edible garden in its outdoor front dining area, as well as on its old loading dock out back.

The revamped loading dock is the first of its kind in Austin, according to the Paige Oliverio of Urban Patchwork, who installed the gardens. Urban Patchwork is a non-profit local charity helping to get urban gardens growing in underutilized public and private spaces. Oliverio says the space is highly sustainable: the gardens are watered by rain catchment systems, including a 2,000 gallon cistern under the old loading dock. Another 800 gallons of rain catchment are situated in the front, in the form of metal planter boxes.

Oliverio says she “likes to work to get food into our landscapes and make sure that people know what it is, know how to work with it, know how to grow it and enjoy that its there.”

Chef/owner Bryce Gilmore was looking for the same sort of enjoyment for his patrons. If you sit out on the front porch of Barley Swine, you’ll be surrounded by spearmint, parsley, chocolate mint, lemongrass, bay leaf and cinnamon ginger, just to name a few. Gilmore mainly has herbs at the moment, but you can see elderberries growing, which will be useful in future cocktails. He also has spineless cactus, which is great for grilling. He plans to expand to more veggies out back, having tomatoes and peppers – along with a private dining area –  in future seasons.

As for the chefs of Barley Swine, they’re preparing to find new ideas from the growing gardens. Gilmore says, “Rather than creating a dish and then trying to go source it, we have this abundance of things that are available to us that we can pull from and be inspired.”

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