Carmine Salvucci's Maudie's Café

Carmine Salvucci's Maudie's Café

Maudie's Café
2608 W. 7th St.
(512) 473 3740

There are a lot of reasons we moved to Austin three years ago, but Tex-Mex wasn’t one of them. You see, when we decided to move here, we had already been enjoying weekly Tex-Mex at our favorite local Los Angeles Mexican spot—El Coyote. We could walk there, we knew the staff, they shared our joy as we adopted our son, and with us they watched him grow week after week. And every week we played cards. For almost 10 years there, every week, we played cards.

So when we moved to Austin in 2010, of course there were many considerations about where we would live—schools, neighborhood, commute. But one consideration, softly spoken but so important, was what would be our Austin “El Coyote” where we could enjoy a margarita, eat good Tex-Mex, and play cards with our son. This had become a family tradition so important that it deserved careful attention.

After we settled in West Austin, it wasn’t long before we discovered Maudie’s Lake Austin Boulevard. Maudie’s is hardly a “well-kept secret” here in Austin, and while we like the food (their salsa, Maura’s bean dip, tomatillo sauce and nachos supreme are definitely hits), it wasn’t just really good food we were looking for. What we really craved was a kitchen that felt like our own when we didn’t want to cook. What we wanted was a place that was close by, where we could get to know the staff, and where they wouldn’t mind if we lingered at dinner and played a few hands of cards. And all of this we found at Maudie’s.

And what is truly important for us about lingering over cards, at Maudie’s or anywhere, is the family time we share. Playing cards has provided more belly laughs than you can count. Over the last 10 years, it has turned our son from a competitor to a good sport. It has cut through the tension during any number of family “meetings.” It has led to deep discussions unlikely to be tackled outside of the card-playing comfort zone. And most importantly, it continues to give us a wonderful and simple opportunity to spend quality time with our 17-year old-son—time we know is precious and fleeting. We love Maudie’s—the people, the food, and especially the family atmosphere that allows us to dawdle over our last hand before paying the check. Try it sometime.

Steve Brister is a marketing consultant, Carmine Salvucci is chief development officer at LIFT Alliance, and their son, Baltazar Martinez, just finished his junior year at Austin High.