The Downtown Austin Alliance, along with Ben Runkle, founder of the nationally recognized local butcher shop and salumeria Salt & Time, have partnered to bring Salt & Time Café to Republic Square. The highly anticipated café is expected to open in late summer or early fall after interior build-out.
“We’re thrilled to collaborate with Salt & Time to bring high-quality food and beverage options to those visiting Republic Square and to those passing through on their commute into and out of downtown,” Dewitt Peart, president and CEO of the Downtown Austin Alliance, said. “It was important to us that this first-of-its-kind vendor be locally based and a strong representation of Austin’s thriving culinary community.”
Runkle grew his business on East 7th Street by selling the first artisan dry-cured meats produced in Texas at farmers markets, similar to the Sustainable Food Center Farmers’ Market that Republic Square hosts each Saturday. Additional collaborations between the café and other market vendors are being developed.
“Austin has so many great restaurants, but at this location, I saw the chance to reach more people and have a greater impact,” Runkle said. “This is more than another business opportunity; it’s a chance to be a part of Austin’s culture and this amazing public space where people can come together and really enjoy the city.”
The Salt & Time Café will welcome patrons seven days a week, with extended hours during Republic Square events and on weekends. The café will serve sandwiches and salads, as well as breakfast options, including breakfast bowls, sandwiches and pastries, among others. Salt & Time’s acclaimed charcuterie will also be featured on the menu, as will gluten-free and vegetarian options. Beverages will include coffee, juices, kombucha and soda, as well as beer and wine, which are for the first time available for purchase at Republic Square. To reduce waste, the vendor will serve beer and wine exclusively from cans and kegs.
The Downtown Alliance is responsible for maintenance, operation and programming at Republic Square. The Downtown Alliance provides financial support to Republic Square through the Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation. The rent that Salt & Time Café will pay for the space will be reinvested in Republic Square. In addition, Eric DeJernett of CBRE, who facilitated the lease, donated his broker fees to Republic Square.