Opened in June 2017 in a renovated warehouse space in The Yard on St. Elmo Road, Spokesman was created as a combination of three passions—food, coffee and beer—by four veterans of the Austin service industry, Ramirez said. Patrons can get food and coffee to go, sit down to grab a bite and a beer, or set up shop with a laptop to work for a few hours.
Kitchen Manager Jeremy Fritz created a simple menu of “comfy cafe food” including toasted sandwiches, salads and pastries. Ramirez said it is important to offer good portions at an affordable price that matches the laid-back vibe of the cafe.
Currently sandwiches include a classic pastrami melt with spicy mustard and banana peppers; a turkey sandwich; and a grilled cheese with four different cheeses and a sun-dried tomato pesto. Sandwich bread is sourced from New World Bakery in Kyle, Ramirez said. Quinoa, macaroni, chicken and chickpea salads round out the lunch menu.
Breakfast pastries, including muffins, cookies and scones, are ordered fresh each morning from La Patisserie, a Central Austin bakery on Burnet Road, Ramirez said. Other items are available as well.
The cafe also offers specials throughout the week, such as its $5 beer and brat special Monday evenings.
Ethan Billips, who previously worked at Austin coffee shop Cuvee, is a “wizard” coffee roaster, Ramirez said. Coffee roasted at Spokesman is fresh and single origin, and Billips tries to highlight the flavors and characteristic of each batch, whether its from Columbia or Africa.
Co-owner and brewer CJ West organizes the cafe’s drink menu and selection of beer taps. West’s resume includes time at North By Northwest, Uncle Billy’s Brewery and Smokehouse, and Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co.
Ramirez, who previously worked at Home Slice Pizza, Austin Java and Wright Bros. Brew and Brew, said the group’s experience has helped introduce their products at other venues around town. Spokesman coffee has been used in some local beer brews; and other area shops brew or sell Spokesman coffee.