The muse for Irene’s, a classic American bar and restaurant, is the grandmother of one of our partners, who describes the real-life Southern charmer as a “drinking, smoking, gambling woman with an immense heart and a keen understanding of true hospitality.” Irene’s has the soul of an unpretentious dive bar but manages to keep a firm hand on service, a keen eye to hospitality and a pulse on style.

You can stroll up to the counter window for a thick slice of sweet or savory toast or our all-day breakfast sandwich along with a cup of coffee (or even a pack of smokes, if you are so inclined). Then, meander back to the spacious patio nestled beneath massive pecan trees on the banks of Shoal Creek. When midday hits, park your bike in front of the shop at the custom metal bike stand, and come inside for a selection of seasonal salads and classics such as our pulled chicken & avocado sandwich or dirty shells & cheese. Our homemade old-school desserts include strawberry cake (an Irene’s staple) and kolaches on the weekends.

 

About the Chef

Andrew Curren is an Austin-based chef with over 20 years of professional kitchen and hospitality experience. As the valedictorian graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, he’s had the opportunity to work with renowned chefs Floyd Cardoz at Tabla in NYC and Jonathan Waxman at Barbuto in the West Village

He’s studied culinary arts around the world, including Italy which inspired him to open Italic, a true, rustic Italian restaurant in Downtown Austin. Drew is a two-time nominee for Food & Wine’s “People’s Best New Chef,” and has also competed on “Top Chef: Texas.” His love for cooking and sourcing the best ingredients expands beyond his own restaurants. His passion is traveling around the country to work alongside local chefs and participate in food festivals including his personal favorites, Austin Food & Wine and Hawaii Food & Wine.

Back at home, he spends time developing innovative restaurant concepts as the Austin food scene expands. Drew and his wife, Mary Catherine, are actively involved in creating menus and the pastry program at Irene’s, 24 Diner, Italic and Cookbook at the new Central Austin Library.