“Bootlegged and Bountiful” is the motto of this laid-back Southern comfort food joint in Austin, Texas. Moonshine opened in 2003 in a historic house setting and has been wildly successful since. Austinites fill the restaurant daily, waiting to get a taste of the rich flavors cooked up in this comfortable spot.
When you enter Moonshine, you immediately feel at ease. Stone covers the walls with a warm wood trim and creates a feeling of being home. Waiters are friendly and casual, sporting jeans or shorts with t-shirts. If you plan to dine here, make sure you have a few hours free. Moonshine does not offer reservations, and on any given night, you can expect to wait at least an hour for a table (easily two hours on weekend nights). But have no fear — while you wait, you can plop yourself down in a rocking chair and soak up the charm of an outdoor fireplace.
After a one-hour wait filled with glasses of Hard Lemonade (a blend of local Tito’s vodka, muddled mint leaves, lemon juice, and lemonade) and lots of laughs, we were seated at a table in the main dining hall with tall windows and a great view of the summer rain that blessed the evening. Before we could set napkins in our laps, the table had steaming jalapeno cornbread muffins placed on it, along with a tin cup of soft, fresh butter. To start, we ordered Warm Kale & Bacon Dip, and were over the moon about it. We dipped hunk after hunk of toasted sourdough bread into the creamy blend of kale, caramelized onions, gruyere, and bacon jam served in a cast-iron dish. I could have eaten it with a spoon.
Adding an order of Pan-Fried Chicken Almondine to the table made me a believer in what perfectly moist, crisp, breaded chicken can do for the soul. Topped with peas, chunks of artichoke, and a delightfully light lemon cream sauce, this dish made me feel as though mom had cooked it up especially for me. I paired the dish with a serving of thick, fluffy garlic mashed potatoes.
If you’re looking for a classic Southern comfort meal with a twist, look no further than Chicken Fried Steak topped with homemade chipotle cream gravy and a sprinkle of green parsley. Tender on the inside and crisp on the outside, this chicken fried steak could easily stand alone and be a hit. But Moonshine doesn’t stop there. Spicy cream gravy thickly poured on top adds unexpected kick to the dish that elevates it to a new level. Add macaroni and cheese with crunchy breadcrumbs and you’re in comfort food heaven.
Moonshine marries rich, home-cooked flavors with a peaceful and cozy atmosphere for the ultimate dinner destination.