The Buzz Mill carves out niche as East Riverside neighborhood spot

The Buzz Mill, a 24-hour coffee shop with a full bar off of East Riverside Drive, was built to be different, Marketing Director Ross Bennet said.

For starters, The Buzz Mill's building and ambience recall the early 20th-century logging industry.

"You walk in here and you don't feel like you're in Austin anymore," Bennet said. "You also definitely don't feel like you're on East Riverside."

The Buzz Mill, which is owned by Jason Sabala , has become a popular neighborhood spot since opening Jan. 19, Bennet said. He said the focus is not on luring customers from the downtown or East Sixth Street area, but on serving as a much-needed spot for East Riverside–area residents.

"We wanted to bring something to where all the neighbors around here can feel welcome and just hang out," he said.

The Buzz Mill has an outdoor stage and has mainly hosted free performances from bluegrass and acoustic-based acts. Bennet said he and Sabala, who have worked at Antone's and Emo's, are considering bringing in more rock-based bands in the future.

From Thursday–Sunday, The Blue Ox BBQ and Pancake Cabin is open on The Buzz Mill's patio. The food trailer serves brisket, coffee-rubbed pork tenderloin, ribs, pulled pork and lumberjack breakfast dishes.

Bennet said The Blue Ox is working on a late-night menu and hopes it will eventually be able to make enough money to be open every day.

With businesses such as The Buzz Mill and The Blue Ox opening, as well as Antone's scheduled to move in across the street, Bennet said he thinks the East Riverside area could eventually become a happening part of town.

"It's so close to everything else, it makes sense that it would be the next place that pops," he said.