Fried Smelt and Fried Chickpeas at The Hightower Brunch

June 04, 2014

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After almost two years in the making, The Hightower has finally opened its doors to the public from the minds of co-owners, Chad Dolezal and Victor Farnsworth. The burgeoning Austin neighborhood restaurant brings chef-driven cuisine with an affordable menu and high-quality service.

The easy to navigate menu leaves much of the dining experience up to the individual. Dolezal chose a very straightforward approach to the menu making all the dishes traditional entrée size. This deliberate choice was made so guests could choose their own adventure of sorts. Share a dish, or don’t; order one, then maybe a couple more if hunger still pangs. Dolezal’s philosophy is to make affordable ingredients and dishes equally, if not more delicious, than it’s expensive counter parts. Instead of using a dry-aged rib eye, Dolezal uses all-natural skirt steak, and instead of pork belly (once a cheaper cut) he uses pork jowl—which he believes is even more flavorful and flexible for presentation

“It’s easy for foie gras and truffles to taste delicious, but we wanted to make our restaurant great for dining everyday; an affordable, neighborhood restaurant that makes delicious food,” Dolezal said of his menu design. “Keeping that mission in mind, we’ve worked hard to keep our menu in a fair price range but serve quality meals.”

The Hightower is putting their big patio to great use by launching brunch service and speciality sno-cones.


Casual New American Brunch at The Hightower

Fried chickpeas

Fried Chickpeas

marsala, orange aioli

Light and crunchy, great appetizer to share




Fried egg, potato chips, salsa verde, cotija, crema

The inspiration of that is a dish that I order every time I see it on a menu, chilaquiles.  We didn’t want to do a direct representation of it, because there are too many people that do great versions of it in Austin.  Our carnitas are actually a confit of pork shoulder in orange peel, garlic onion and hickory smoked pork fat. 


Grit waffles

Grit Waffles

Pure cane blackberry syrup, blackberry whip cream, banana brûlée.

Loved this!

We thought this would be a great addition because of the texture the grits give to the waffle, there is also a bit of pure cane syrup in the waffle batter that give them a unique sweetness.  And to be honest the reason we added the bruleed banana is first and foremost because we thought it would taste great, but also because it looks ridiculous.




Market fish, blood orange, shallot, fennel mojo, popcorn crumble, scallion ash, potato chips

We serve our ceviche with a smoked fennel mojo, we pair it with blood orange and lightly marinated mahi. We were inspired by Peruvian ceviche which makes the fish the main feature of the dish, not the citrus juice.

Fried smelt

Fried Smelt

Pinto beans, tomatillo, jalapeno puree

Very unique dish that I love, wish there were no beans though


frozen caipirinha

Frozen Caipirinha

Fruity & refreshing

We wanted a nice frozen that would not only be refreshing on its own but also be a good pallet for additions without doing a traditional margarita. We have had success with the blackberry caipirinha served on the rocks, so we turned it into a frozen. We now offer the cocktail with several floats: blackberry puree, Solerno blood orange liquor & Ancho Rayes chili liquor.


Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary

No brunch would be the same without a bloody mary, extra spicy. Comes with pickled vegetable and sharp cheddar cheese cube.



The Hightower
1209 E 7th St
Austin, TX 78702

What To Order: Grit waffles, fried chickpeas, cerviche, frozen caipirinha, and bloody mary.


Jane Ko is the Austin blogger behind A Taste of Koko, Austin's top food and travel blog featuring the hottest restaurants and weekend getaways. Jane has been a speaker at South by Southwest (SXSW), Texas Conference for Women, BlogHer, and more on entrepreneurship and social media. She lives in Austin Texas with her dog and cat.