Come Thursday, sometimes all a mom wants to do is get in the car and drive as far as she can away from home. Since Mexico or New Orleans might not be realistic options for a school night, Kids Night at Nutty Brown Cafe makes for a great escape.
Kids Night happens one Thursday a month, usually the 3rd or 4th, from 6 – 8 pm. Check the calendar. Enjoy live music, kid’s activities and food and drink specials. Our short drive into the hill country mid-week came as a welcome reprieve from the daily grind. Plus, you can’t beat free music, fun for the kids, margaritas and shade trees. The atmosphere is stimulating enough to keep the kids up and running long enough for the adults to relax and carry on a conversation.
As we pulled in to the parking lot, the quaint building had a lovely yard to the right with ivy-covered stone walls, and rows of well tended roses. The front two spots were marked with a stork and a man on horse back. Welcome to Texas. If you’ve never been, the deck patio and grounds are populated by huge live oaks. It is such a beautiful space, that you immediately start dreaming up renting it for your next special event. At nightfall, the Christmas lights come on adding to the ambiance. It is quite an enchanting place full of Texas charm.
We were seated half way between the stage and the bounce house, under the shade of a gorgeous live oak. Before we could even sit down we were welcomed by our neighbor, Cheeto, a huge, chatty Catalina Macaw. The kids flocked around him to say hello, goodbye, pretty bird, and hear him answer them back. There is a sign that asks visitors not to touch the cage, but kiddos pulled up chairs to stand and watch him for a bit. Meanwhile, the moonwalk, sponsored by Twistin’ Art, was inflating to our right and a two-man band in a clown and safari suit were setting up to our right.
The music for the week was Scotty Roo, performing with his partner in crime, Christine, and their animated sign language interpreter, Shelby. Their performances were incredibly interactive, and included puppets, costumes, contests and bubbles. The children were captivated and having a grand time.
We arrived hungry and the little one had a craving for queso, so we started with Nutty’s Queso. It included guacamole, taco beef and a tasty, mild salsa. After devouring a full basket of chips cookie monster style, we had to regain our composure to order. Tempting frosty margaritas and pints were being delivered to nearby tables as we looked over the mix of burgers, tex-mex and homestyle goodness. The little one wanted the salmon burger, which ended up being bigger than her face, and their fresh coleslaw. Thursdays are Steak Night at Nutty Brown, which features a 15 oz. ribeye cooked to order, smothered in house-made steak sauce (delicious!), a loaded baked potato with a wedge salad. By the time the steak arrived, the kiddos were hula hooping or bouncing off the walls of the moonwalk, so it was easy to thoroughly savor the blue cheese and bacon of the wedge, and the tender, juicy steak.
Aside from being great food and fun for the kids, it was so nice to be out of the city center where you can sometimes wait an hour for a table. Nutty Brown has a laid back vibe that is reminiscent of an older Austin. The waitresses were lovely, the young man who seated us called me “ma’am”, there were a few cowboy hats in the crowd, and the folks at the table beside us said hello and picked up each other’s kid when they fell. It’s nice to still feel at home some place in town. Thanks, Nutty Brown!
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Emily Wardell is a native Texan, a mother of one amazing lil one, and local guru of the what-to-do.