Swift's Attic

There’s an undeniably cool feeling of walking up the narrow flight of stairs to reach Swift’s Attic, a “modern American'' restaurant located in an early 20th-century Austin building downtown. It’s located on top of a jazz bar and an omakase sushi spot, making it feel like it was plucked out of a much bigger city where businesses stack vertically instead of expanding outward. Swift’s Attic is one of those restaurants that opened in the early 2010s with a menu made up of globally-inspired small plates—where you’ll inevitably hear the words “farm-to-table” thrown around a room with exposed bricks and galvanized pipes. But while the concept might feel a bit formulaic, Swift’s Attic throws in just enough wildcards from time to time to keep things interesting. 

Everyone and their dog has probably tried charred edamame, but at Swift’s Attic they come topped with pop rocks. Nobody asked for this, but nobody’s complaining, either. Pickled and fermented vegetables are no strangers to the constantly changing menu, most of the time adding welcome color to classic Southern dishes, like a Hoppin’ John with braised pork cheeks, pickled watermelon rinds, and a pineapple quince agrodolce. Vegetables are the stars of the show on Swift’s menu—try the carrots al pastor with pineapple butter and grilled pineapple, and you’ll forget all about the pork-based counterpart entirely, at least for a few minutes. To accompany it all, you can try one of their “ice ball cocktails,” in which all the flavors of the cocktail are frozen in a ball of ice and topped with a shot of liquor. It’s a concept that sounds a little more fun in theory than in execution while you slowly wait for the ice to melt.