Quack's Bakery has been embracing Austin's quirks for nearly 40 years

Quack's Bakery originally opened on The Drag before it moved to Hyde Park in the 1990s. (Courtesy Quack's 43rd St. Bakery)
Quack's Bakery originally opened on The Drag before it moved to Hyde Park in the 1990s. (Courtesy Quack's 43rd St. Bakery)

Quack's Bakery originally opened on The Drag before it moved to Hyde Park in the 1990s. (Courtesy Quack's 43rd St. Bakery)

Quack’s Bakery has been an Austin institution since 1983, when Captain Quackenbush’s Intergalactic Dessert Co. and Espresso Cafe opened on Guadalupe Street near The Drag.

The original shop closed and relocated to Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery in the 1990s, but the business has continued to serve Austin residents with scratch-made pastries, pies, cakes, cookies and savory snacks.

In January 2020, the business began serving its treats in South Austin for the first time, launching Captain Quackenbush’s Coffeehouse on Menchaca Road.

“Quack’s in the ’80s was the first espresso bar in Austin,” Chief Operations Officer Heather O’Connor said. “We picked this location because we feel at home down here. South Austin feels like the last holdout of what Austin was back then, and it’s great.”

Like Quack’s Bakery on 43rd and Lady Quackenbush’s Cakery in East Austin’s Mueller neighborhood, Captain Quackenbush’s has quirks and fits into its surroundings, according to O’Connor. She said the team knew they could not make a cookie-cutter version of the bakery that would serve each community in the same way and decided to give each of the three locations a unique name and style.

While Lady Quackenbush’s, which opened in 2018, is painted bright pink and has what O’Connor called a bougie yet family-centric vibe, she said she wanted Captain Quackenbush’s to feel more like a classic Austin destination. Unique to the South Austin shop is an indoor stage with neon lighting that will be used for live performances in the future. It is also the only Quack’s location to serve alcohol, offering a selection of local brews and wine.

“I want [the stores] to kind of organically grow into what they do and how they serve the community,” she said. “We never planned on having a music venue, but when we recognized that it was something that could happen down here, we decided to jump at the chance.”

Other than serving sweet treats and espresso drinks, the coffeehouse also offers a selection of sandwiches and paninis for lunch as well as kolaches and breakfast tacos in the morning. While the pandemic slowed down some of her plans, O’Connor said she hopes to install a full kitchen and expand the menu at some point in the future.
By Nicholas Cicale
Nick has been with Community Impact Newspaper since 2016, working with the Lake Travis-Westlake and Southwest Austin-Dripping Springs editions. He previously worked as a reporter in Minnesota and earned a degree from Florida State University.


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