There was a 20 minute wait, but I was able to sit at the counter and order within minutes. Which reminds me of the time Steve and I made a mad (but successful!) counter dash before he dropped me off at the airport for France- it's an odd last meal ritual for whenever I travel out of the U.S. I love the waitstaff there, just punk rock enough to be cool but still humble and efficient servers- Stephanie could be quite a pill, but since I knew her away from the Omelettry I knew the customers where getting to see the GOOD side of her!
Sitting at the counter has several advantages- my coffee is replenished as needed, and I can watch the cooks work the old-fashioned (actually authentic) shortorder wheel. Best part is watching the cute servers working their butts off, especially my favorite manboy, Jesse. He doesn't look a day over 21, but I know he's much older because he's worked there for YEARS! Freshfaced, bright smile, lean and clean in a old Austin sort of way. We chat a little about music while he quickly rolls silver for his new tables. I see many of the same type of people working at the Wheatsville Coop, and it reminds me of what attracted me to Austin back in '93. The Austin hippie attitude- lovin' and livin' life casually, working hard, not wrapped up in material gain. Content to ride a bike to work, treat your coworkers like family, and enjoy contributing to the local cause!
It was my friend Betina who showed me this side of Austin. We had been good friends in Houston, but she moved to Austin in the early 90's. When I came to visit her, she was working at a local company a friend of hers had started, Guiltless Gourmet. Her friend would have tortilla chip making parties, where margaritas flowed as baked tortilla chip recipes were tweaked and tried! Betina would always send me home with GG products from tradeshows she would work to promote the company. She also took me shopping at Wheatsville Coop, which was my first exposure to a cooperative. Ah, Ben and Jerry's ice cream and chocolate covered espresso beans were the decadent treats to which she further addicted me! Wheatsville was also the source of all the wonderful smells in her house, especially the bathroom. Forget the "hippie patchouli" Bobby would snub his nose at- the scents I still associate with Betina's abode were comprised of tea tree oil, lavender, ylang ylang, and freesia. The sights I recall are of a light blue batik covering she had made and which covered the door window, the unfinished rough dark wood of her bathroom and bedroom, and the inside of the bathroom door which was painted so guests could leave their mark with a piece of colored chalk. This all made for a peaceful and tranquil home.
I am sure it was during one of my visits that Betina took me to the Omelettry. Since then, I've had countless garden burgers, omelets, potato leek soup, and home fries- but it's the pancakes that are the great treat! Huge, fluffy and moist- even a short stack is filling on its own. Jesse was kind enough to first suggest I have one of each when I can't make up my mind between buttermilk and whole wheat, but the third standard choice is gingerbread- yum!
No need to bother telling me WHO has better pancakes, I prefer the familiarity and flavors of the Omelettry.