Tiny Boxwoods offers neighborhood vibe and famous chocolate chip cookies

The owners of Tiny Boxwoods, a 35th St. restaurant, plan to open a walk-up bakery in Austin.

The owners of Tiny Boxwoods, a 35th St. restaurant, plan to open a walk-up bakery in Austin.

Image description
Tiny Boxwoods
Image description
Grains & Things
Image description
Lucky Burger
Image description
Baker’s Sandwich
Lance Thompson and his brother Gregg never thought they would get into the restaurant business.

In 1981, Lance started a landscape architecture firm—Thompson & Hanson—in Houston. About 20 years ago, Gregg, a former investment banker, bought half the firm.

For more than three decades, that architecture business has been about building places for people to enjoy. It was only when Lance and Gregg noticed people coming to the Thompson & Hanson garden shop for a meal that the notion of opening a restaurant entered into their consideration.

“People would come to our garden shop, and they would bring their lunches at lunch time and just sit in there—because they love the spaces,” Lance said. “We love to develop spaces that people want to be in.”

To transform a beautiful space to a thriving restaurant, however, the brothers needed a chef. They brought in Baron Doke as a third partner, and the trio created a restaurant they called Tiny Boxwoods—named after the potted trees in the garden—and opened their first location in Houston in 2007.

Lance Thompson has been an Austin resident for 19 years. He had a few clients in the Austin area at Thompson & Hanson, so he moved in 1999, commuting back and forth from Austin to Houston since then to run his business.

“I love this place, love this town, love the neighborhood,” he said.

So when Tiny Boxwoods took off and became a local favorite, it made sense to expand into Central Texas. In spring 2017, Tiny Boxwoods opened its first location in Austin on West 35th Street. In May, Tiny Boxwoods Austin will celebrate its one-year anniversary.

The Austin Tiny Boxwoods eatery features many of the same staples as the original spot—shrimp and risotto along with pizzas fired in a brick oven on the dinner menu, and chocolate chip cookies from the bakery. Those cookies became so popular, Tiny Boxwoods opened up a walk-up bakery spot called Tinys Milk and Cookies (they plan to open the same concept in a new space later this year).

Tiny Boxwoods Austin chef Ava Sonleitner said Doke’s vision is not to make complicated dishes­—it is to execute simple food elegantly and do it in an inviting atmosphere.

In that spirit, Doke has made it a point to always keep a pepperoni pizza and a burger on the Tiny Boxwoods menu.

“It’s so approachable, but we try to do it at the highest level we can,” Sonleitner said.

The chefs wanted to bring some of their original favorites to 35th Street, but since opening a year ago, Sonleitner has also made some adjustments. For example, when diners called for a vegan dish, she added a Grains & Things bowl with quinoa, farro and kale.

“Now that we know what people’s favorites are, we’ve added a few other things we think people in Austin would really enjoy,” she said.
By Jack Flagler

Jack is the editor for Community Impact's Central Austin edition. He graduated in 2011 from Boston University and worked as a reporter and editor at newspapers in Maine, Massachusetts and North Carolina before moving to Austin in January of 2018.


La Mexicana Bakery celebrates 30 years

La Mexicana Bakery, a family-owned bakery and restaurant at 1924 S. First St., Austin, celebrated its 30th …

A sign guides voters inside at the George Washington Carver branch of the Austin Public Library during the fall 2019 election. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Sample ballot: Here are the candidates in contested races Central Austin residents can vote for in the primaries

Early voting opened on Feb. 18 and runs through Feb. 28. Election day is March 3.

City officials and Salvation Army members gathered in front of the Rathgeber Center in September to publicly push for donations to support operating costs. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
With Rathgeber Center opening on horizon, downtown Salvation Army homeless shelter begins transition away from families

The downtown Salvation Army shelter will no longer serve families after the Rathgeber Center opens.

State Sen. Kirk Watson announced his resignation from state government Feb. 18. A number of local politicians have expressed interest in the seat.
Who is interested in Kirk Watson’s Senate seat? Here is where local members of the state House stand

State Reps. Gina Hinojosa and Eddie Rodriguez say they are "seriously considering" a run for the District 14 seat.

Austin ISD Superintendent Paul Cruz addresses the media on Feb. 20 after announcing plans to resign.
Outgoing Superintendent Paul Cruz says 'work will continue' in Austin ISD as transition plan is developed

A timeline for Cruz's departure has not yet been established by Austin ISD.

Austin taps downtown homeless shelter operator to expand permanent supportive housing program

Experts hold up permanent supportive housing as crucial to ending chronic homelessness.

Fight over sales market data means Travis County home appraisals will not change this year, area schools may suffer

Travis Central Appraisal District will not appraise residential properties this year following a cease-and-desist order from the Austin Board of Realtors prohibiting use of its sales price data.

Austin ISD Superintendent Paul Cruz announced his resignation on Feb. 19. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Paul Cruz to resign as Austin ISD superintendent to take job with University of Texas

Austin ISD Superintendent Paul Cruz will resign and accepted a position with the University of Texas.

The city of Austin authorized the purchase of a Rodeway Inn at 2711 S. I-35 on Nov. 14. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
No timeline set on opening of Austin’s first conversion of motel to homeless shelter

Austin City Council approved the purchase of the Rodeway Inn in November. City staff does not expect to close on the property until mid-April.

District 4 City Council Member Greg Casar (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin Council Member Greg Casar 'seriously considering' run for Kirk Watson’s state Senate seat

The 30-year-old Austin City Council member is serving the final year of his first full, four-year term.

District 14 Sen. Kirk Watson announced Feb. 18 he would be resigning his state Senate seat to work in higher education. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Kirk Watson resigns state Senate seat, takes post at University of Houston

The former Austin mayor will become the founding dean at the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs.

Back to top