100 Austin Burgers: Independence Fine Foods

Independence Fine Foods
1807 W. Slaughter Lane, Suite 100, Austin (map), 512-363-5672, www.independencefinefood.com
Hours: 7am-8:30pm Mon-Sat
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 04.20.16
Bring together scaled-down versions of the prepared food case at Wheatsville and the easy groove of Magnolia Cafe and you’d have Independence Fine Foods, an unlikely strip-mall oasis of sage green walls and weathered wood where the aroma of fresh coffee lingers long after you’ve drained your bottomless cup of French press.
 Grass Fed Beef Burger: In addition to a carry-out case with grilled flank, salmon, shrimp salad, green beans and other specialties, Independence is a sit-down cafe and coffeeshop serving breakfast until 11 and a menu of sandwiches, salads, soups and a burger the rest of the day. The burger is a dense, full-size patty of lush, well-seasoned beef cloaked in good pepperjack cheese. It’s fully supported by a house-baked brioche bun like a mouthful of flaky buttered breakfast toast, dressed with red leaf lettuce and tomato. But what makes it special is a basil pesto mayo that forms a meadowy, herbal symbiosis with the grass-fed beef. ($9 with fries, plus $2 to add an egg, which was an overcooked distraction)
 On the side: In this clean, aromatic space, a fryer seems almost out of place. But these matchstick fries are hot and crisp, a refined version dressed with shaved parmesan, parsley and strong truffled salt.
 Wash it down: I mentioned the coffee, right? It’s made to order in an oversized silver French press pot using Austin-based Cuvee Coffee, a blend with a velvet roast and toasted overtones. It’s just $3. In addition to a full barista menu and hot teas, Independence makes a top-flight iced hibiscus mint tea ($2.25).
 Something sweet: Independence is a scratch bakery, too. Witness that brioche roll, plus a case filled with tarts, giant cookies and cupcakes in shades of tiramisu, red velvet and s’mores. The shop’s bread pudding is formed into a stout tower layered with cinnamon, sugar, cream and torn bread that comes together like an after-dinner version of Thanksgiving dressing. They serve it with strawberries and a drizzle of caramel sauce for one of the best $5 desserts in town.
100 Austin Burgers
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)