“We wanted to be a neighborhood hub, kind of a country club type of thing for that neighborhood where you could go meet friends any time of day,” he said.
Hank’s, which serves classic American dishes alongside its all-day coffee shop, rose from the ashes of Means’ first Austin venture, Henri’s, a small South Austin bistro that burned down in 2016. Not long afterward, Means learned about a 12,000-square-foot space in East Austin’s Windsor Park area, 10 times the size of Henri’s.
With the added space, Means was also able to offer more menu options than at the wine- and cheese-focused Henri’s.
“We wanted to make sure that every eater had something to eat—whether you’re a vegan or gluten free or dairy free, so we developed the menu as kind of home-cooked staples that [have] a little bit of a twist on them,” he said.
Means cut his teeth in the restaurant industry in California, where he came to appreciate laid-back, healthy meals. He said he fused those influences with Southern staples from his upbringing in Atlanta. While a brined fried chicken is on the menu, so is a crispy brown rice bowl with lemongrass and ginger. Also popular are lemon ricotta pancakes, he said, a top seller during brunch.
Hank’s got its name from the owner’s roots in Georgia, too. When Means’ grandfather, Henri, emigrated from France in the 1940s, his new friends in Augusta, Georgia, gave him the nickname Hank.
“He entertained a lot and always had parties in his driveway,” Means said. “That was where the Hank’s vibe came from, was how he used to live his life: Everything was casual, and nothing was buttoned up.”
5811 Berkman Drive, Austin
Hours: Sun.-Thu. 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 8 a.m.-10 p.m.