Monument Cafe in Georgetown (500 S. Austin Ave.) has proudly served homemade Texas diner classics for 16 years, but owner Rusty Winkstern wanted to do more than just dish up great victuals from farm fresh ingredients. He had a vision of incorporating sustainability beyond the kitchen, and two years ago he moved the cafe from it’s original location to a full city block with the plan to create a self-reliant business center.
They started by creating a restaurant structure that is built to last and all aspects are open to the customer – even the dish pit – making the dining experience transparent to guests. Everything is made in house except for the breads and they are bringing those in house later this year with the addition of Mark Chapman, formerly of Le Cordon Bleu Austin and the Driskill Grill, as the master baker.
Next, they added the gardens. The vegetable garden behind the restaurant yields okra, squash, cucumbers and melons to supplement the loads of produce they purchase from area farms. The garden also hosts a beehive that is tended by a local junior high science class. The market buys the honey and the bees pollinate the garden – a perfect symbiotic relationship.
This summer, the Monument market debuted, open daily from 8 am to 8 pm, to sell the same farm fresh ingredients they use in the cafe.
The market features products from area farms, ranches and Texas food artisans. You can stock up on organic Texas dried goods, milk from Texas Daily Harvest, butter from Way Back When Dairy, Gulf seafood from K & S, Vital Farm broilers, Richardson Farms pork and even yak meat from Texas Yaks. The market will also be selling wine from five Texas vineyards.
Winkstern and the Monument team have created a truly sustainable food hub in their corner of Williamson County – a place where you can savor your food while feeling good about where it comes from and how it is grown. I’d say that’s a pretty monumental feat.