Austin's booming economy has always been a draw for restaurateurs and bar owners, offering tantalizing new opportunities and a constant desire for something new and different. The latest craze to hit the hip Texas capitol is wine bars "both older, established places that have been around for years, and newer, funkier alternatives are drawing in crowds like never before. This trend is particularly noticeable in Austin's popular downtown warehouse district, where several new wine bars and restaurants have cropped up in the past year, and have found success and popularity among Austin's young professionals and older patrons alike.
But downtown isn't the only place you'll find excellent wine and gourmet food. Neighborhoods like Hyde Park and North Austin's Domain are home to their own wine-enthusiast hot spots, and south Austin is now home to a bright new star on the scene: The Grove Wine Bar & Kitchen.
Situated on Bee Caves Road (also known as Highway 2244), The Grove sits, unassumingly, in a small shopping center along the winding highway heading West of downtown. The interior of the bar/restaurant has a lovely ambiance, but the outside seating area and raised deck offer their own appeal. Overtaken by a massive tree, winding and bending its many large branches over, under, and throughout the outside deck and patio, The Grove's outdoor seating area is its own unique attraction. Water features subtly block the sound from the roadway, and a massive industrial fan bolted to one of the high, thick branches offers relief from the blazing sun which can be a problem for outdoor dining so many months of the year.
Tucked away under the branches of the massive tree, diners enjoy a delicious menu and wonderful wines at relatively inexpensive prices. With ten flights to choose from, and dozens more wines by the glass or bottle, The Grove offers a wide range of palette-pleasing options. But don't stop there pair your favorite wine with one of the many gourmet menu items, like an order of the chef's incredible bruschetta, which includes three different samplings from their nine delicious options like fresh mozzarella with tomato, garlic and basil; or grilled asparagus with crescenza cheese and prosciutto. And each portion is cut in half for easy sharing (although they're so tasty, you may not want to).
Another favorite appetizer is the traditional cheese plate dubbed "Wine's B.F.F." on the menu or the delectable Sampler Platter, featuring several cheeses, cured meats, roasted peppers and fruit.
The tempting food options aren't confined to the appetizer menu; The Grove Wine Bar & Kitchen also offers a variety of entrees that are sure to please. Their pizzas are exquisite, with fresh, exotic ingredients and wonderfully unique combinations. They also offer large, lush salads with fresh greens and homemade dressings, as well as mouthwatering pastas and paninis.
The Grove's charm lies in its lack of pretension with so many delicious menu options and excellent wines at such reasonable prices, it's no wonder this little wine bar and kitchen has quickly become Austin's newest wine bar hot spot, drawing patrons from across the city and throughout the surrounding areas. All it takes is one visit to understand the appeal of this cozy, unique little wine bar and why people keep coming back.
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