The Loaded Blackened Chicken Salad ($10) features chicken, bacon and mozzarella cheese.

The Loaded Blackened Chicken Salad ($10) features chicken, bacon and mozzarella cheese.

Sweetwater Loaded Cajun Fries ($9.50) are served with a side of ranch or hot sauce.[/caption]

A Cajun fusion restaurant, neighborhood bar and live music venue converge at Sweetwater, which celebrated its one-year anniversary in April.

Co-owner Joseph Aragon said when he opened Sweetwater in 2014 along with Thomas Daniel Smith and Bryan Stolle, the aim of the restaurant was to bring variety to the Stassney Lane area. Southwest Austin offers a diverse customer base, Aragon said.

“They enjoy the fact that they don’t have the crazy traffic. We don’t have the crazy, psycho crowds of downtown. [Sweetwater is] a twist between a neighborhood bar and a South Austin venue that happens to serve food—great food—until 2 a.m.,” he said.

Blues, country and rock musicians perform concerts regularly at the business, which is first and foremost a restaurant, Aragon said.

In mid-April, Sweetwater launched a catering menu for events such as weddings and corporate retreats, Smith said.

Entrees and appetizers combine ingredients and seasonings used in Cajun cooking with familiar options such as sandwiches and salads, chef Joseph Farner said.

“We’re trying to push the boundaries of what actual Cajun food is,” Farner said. “I’m working on a Cajun enchilada right now.”

Holy Trinity Nachos, $9, consist of white corn tortilla chips with red bean paste, provolone cheese, blackened chicken and the “holy trinity”—a blend of onions, bell peppers and celery used in traditional Cajun cooking.

“We’ve got some splurging options, but we also have some really great salads,” Smith said.

Neighborhood bar

Co-owners Joseph Aragon, Thomas Daniel Smith and Bryan Stolle opened the business April 22, 2014, taking over the space of a former bar.

“We always talked about opening a place someday,” Smith said.
“…We liked music a lot, so we wanted a place that had really great live music.”

Food is made to order, Aragon said.

Upcoming event

May 29: Austin Wildlife Rescue benefit

Sweetwater will take donations at the door and raffle off items donated by local businesses and artists to raise funds for local organization Austin Wildlife Rescue.

AWR takes in about 6,000 wild animals each year that are orphaned, sick or injured, Smith said. The group rehabilitates them, re-releases them into the wild and helps educate the community about wildlife issues. Sweetwater is partnering with local business Stellar Vintique for the event, Smith said.

8 p.m. Free, suggested $5 donation.


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