Le Vacher survives opening mid-pandemic with community connections

Le Vacher's most popular appetizer are fried dessert-like balls with Emmenthaler cheese, roasted garlic aioli and pickled shallot. (Community Impact Newspaper/Maggie Quinlan)
Le Vacher's most popular appetizer are fried dessert-like balls with Emmenthaler cheese, roasted garlic aioli and pickled shallot. (Community Impact Newspaper/Maggie Quinlan)

Le Vacher's most popular appetizer are fried dessert-like balls with Emmenthaler cheese, roasted garlic aioli and pickled shallot. (Community Impact Newspaper/Maggie Quinlan)

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Lauren and Eric Weeks, center and right, run La Vacher, along with Lauren’s brother, Jacob Euler, left, who leads the kitchen. (Community Impact Newspaper/Maggie Quinlan)
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Le Vacher desserts vary with seasonally available ingredients. This July special brought a raspberry-based sweet. (Community Impact Newspaper/Maggie Quinlan)
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Le Vacher's scallops are caught fresh in the gulf each day by a local Austin-based fisherman. (Community Impact Newspaper/Maggie Quinlan)
Lauren Weeks, marketing manager for Le Vacher, calls the restaurant her brother’s baby. Her brother, Jacob Euler, dreamed of opening a restaurant with high-quality French food in a casual, country atmosphere roughly five years before Le Vacher opened its doors in Dripping Springs in August 2020.

“You’re going to feel celebrated whether you come to celebrate or not,” Weeks said.

The restaurant with midcentury modern decor serves high-end wines and spirits along with Southern and French fare using mostly local ingredients.

Euler is the former executive pastry chef at renowned French chef Joel Robuchon’s restaurant at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Co-owner Eric Weeks, who is Lauren’s husband, had about a decade of experience in the restaurant industry when the couple dove into starting Le Vacher. Weeks worked most of her career as a dietician, coordinating with food service in hospitals around Austin. She imagined the restaurant could be more than a place for great food and instead a full sensory experience.

She creates that experience in the private dining room upstairs where she manages events.Despite the family’s combined restaurant experience, their young business could have failed in its infancy, Eric said. Le Vacher was set to open in February 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic was entering public awareness and soon to shut restaurants down nationwide.Construction halted that winter. Delays receiving fixtures set the opening back weeks and then weeks more until the family-run place was able to open in August.

“It was a blessing in disguise,” Eric said. “What’s most important is the community and how quickly they got behind us. They wanted us to succeed even when we were opening in the midst of a pandemic.”

Since the start, patrons have become regulars, vendors close allies and staff like an extended family, Weeks said.

“It’s not just by blood or by marriage; our staff are family now, too,” she said. “They’ve been with us since day one through it all.”
By Maggie Quinlan

Reporter, Southwest Austin/Dripping Springs

Maggie joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in July 2021 after a year spent covering crime, courts and politics at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, near the border with Idaho. In Southwest Austin and Dripping Springs, Maggie covers education, business, healthcare, transportation, real estate development and nonprofits. Prior to CI, she graduated from Washington State University, where she was managing editor of the student newspaper and a section editor at her hometown newspaper based in Moscow, Idaho. Maggie dreamed of living in the Austin area for years and feels honored to serve the communities of Southwest Austin and Dripping Springs.


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