Lunch with Walt: Lou’s Bodega

Not your Father’s Bodega

At least it wasn’t for me. The picture below is of a bodega located down the block from the house I grew up in Jersey City. It is one of many that can be found in my city and in and around my neighborhood which consisted of mostly low to middle class income families.

Garcia Deli & Grocery; West Side Avenue, Jersey City, NJ

So, when I learned about Lou’s Bodega opening in East Austin, I already knew that it would be unlike any Bodega that I’m familiar with and I didn’t care. As I’ve alluded to many times before, I’m in the area often, it’s my favorite ‘hood in Austin, and like most, I get excited to try new places that open up here but I digress. 

What I was drawn to the most was the end result of a place that I’ve watched slowly transform each time I’ve been in the area. Formerly, Leal’s Tire, I always wondered what it would eventually become and a few weeks ago, I got to visit the space and enjoy a sandwich with my buddy Walt, who is more of a breakfast kinda guy but will tag along with me for lunch going forward. 

I had the beef sandwich which features arugula, crispy onions, parsley chimichurri, creamy horseradish on delicious ciabatta. My first takeaway? It reminded me alot of one of my favorite go to sandwiches back home in JC from the Short Grain and their roast beef sandwich. So, points for nostalgia and flavor. I did consider their rotisserie chickens but I guess I’ll save that for another day.

Aside from chicken and sandwiches, you can order a variety of beverages (hot or cold) and there’s a separate counter for frozen custard. After enjoying my sandwich, I moved up front to charge my devices to enjoy a dirty chai latte but not until after I checked out the spacious picnic area with plenty of outdoor tables and a nice covered area for games like ping pong and cornhole which you can see below.

Did Lou’s Bodega give me enough of a reason to return? Yes. I have a few but overall, it’s a fantastic space for eats, hangs, and fun. I invite you all to do the same.

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