A Little Slice of Grass-Fed Heaven
Today was a great day.
For the past several months, I’ve walked my dog through downtown Round Rock, anticipating the opening of Svante’s restaurant. I first saw this sign in their window in June:
You probably can’t read the sign, but it says “Featuring Grass Fed All Natural Beef.” I love my grass-fed beef, so I have been super excited about this restaurant for a long time. Plus, it’s within walking distance from my home, which makes me one lucky girl.
Today was great for several reasons:
- My students were pleasant today and I enjoyed our class.
- I got to show my support for law enforcement in a picture with students, staff, other teachers, and our campus police officers in front of the school.
- I got to eat lunch with my awesome husband.
- I finally got to eat at Svante’s!!!
I knew going in that I would want to write a blog about Svante’s, but as I was walking there before lunch, I had a feeling I wouldn’t be able to write much. I expected to be able to eat the burgers, some salad without dressing, and nothing else. That’s usually how it goes for me at “good” restaurants. Even if the meat is well-sourced, they usually use vegetable oil in their dressings and in their fried foods, and everything is pre-prepared and loaded with spices that I can’t have. I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough good things to say, and I definitely wouldn’t want to write anything negative about a local business that is using grass-fed beef. Thankfully, my worries were unfounded, and I was pleasantly surprised.
Not sure if you would like Svante’s? If you can answer “yes” to any of the questions, you would like it:
- Do you like food that is fresh and made in-house?
- Do you like to eat vegetables that were grown locally?
- Do you like to support farmers?
- Do you like food that comes from healthy animals?
- Do you want to eat food that has no added hormones or antibiotics?
- Do you want animals to be treated humanely?
- Do you like to support local businesses?
- Do you appreciate good quality food?
- Do you have food sensitivities?
- Do you look for gluten free buns?
- Do you believe olive oil is a healthier option than those yucky refined vegetable oils?
- Do you avoid certain foods to stay healthy?
- Do you appreciate a nice atmosphere?
- Do you like old buildings with lots of character?
- Do you like food that tastes really good?
Just in case you’re still not convinced, let me tell you about my experience today:
I got there before my husband did. This is still a soft opening, so they weren’t very busy. The host (with a very cool, Svante-style beard) let me choose my seat. I picked a corner spot under the picture of a cow. As I waited for Brent, I looked over the menu. Look how cute the table looks! I love the plants on the tables.
The staff had already brought ice water with a slice of lemon for both of us. Coy, our waiter, came over and asked if I wanted something to drink. I requested some water without ice (better for digestion), and Coy left to get it for me.
When he came back, he gave me a brief history of the business. The current owner is the great-great-grandson of Svante Magnus Swenson, who started the family ranching business in 1882. He was the first Swedish immigrant in Texas. The owner’s son also works at the restaurant. Their ranch is in Stamford in West Texas. The cows are 100% grass-fed. Grass-fed and grass-finished! Svante’s already has a food truck in Austin, but I have never tried it.
Coy asked me if I wanted an appetizer, and I was about to tell him no (because I can never eat appetizers at a restaurant) when I actually looked at the appetizers on the menu. My eyes immediately went to the broth! I ordered some and then continued looking over the menu. I gulped it down before I thought about taking a picture. (Yes, I did wear my GrassFed shirt to go to the grass-fed restaurant.)
Broth wasn’t the only thing I could have ordered. They have all of these and more:
- Kale chips made with olive oil
- Deviled eggs (freshly prepared) made with farm-fresh eggs and topped with bacon
- Swedish Meatballs
- Beef Consomme (which I really want to try next time)
- Stuffed Mushrooms (stuffed with kale, sausage, and goat cheese)
As soon as Coy came back, I asked about the ingredients in the deviled eggs and ordered some. They are made with homemade mayo (made with olive oil). Eggs are eliminated on the autoimmune protocol, but I’ve put them back in my diet without any problems. Same goes with mustard, which is also in the deviled eggs. I didn’t eat all six deviled eggs on the plate, so I have some leftovers for later! There are only five in the picture because I grabbed one before I thought about taking a picture.
Coy was very patient with all of my questions, by the way. He answered what he could, and he asked the kitchen about the rest. He didn’t seem to mind all of the little modifications that I requested when I ordered, either. He was very understanding and happy to help.
For the meal, I ordered an All American burger, without the bun (they call it “paleo style”), without tomatoes (they’re nightshade vegetables so I avoid them for my AI disease), without onions, and without cheese. I got some mayo on the side. I got a salad instead of fries. I actually might have gotten sweet potato fries since they’re made with olive oil, but they were out of them today. I’ve never eaten at a restaurant that doesn’t use some mix of vegetable oils for their French fries.
There were several options for dressings, all of them homemade. I opted for the balsamic vinaigrette. They also offer a citrus vinaigrette that I tasted. Both were good, but I preferred the balsamic.
While we waited for our lunch to arrive, I felt my blood sugar going low, so I ordered some fruit sorbet. It was a raspberry lemonade sorbet. It was very good, although I don’t recommend eating it after eating deviled eggs.
Then the food came. It was delicious! Very good. The burger had some rosemary sprinkled on top, which I think I’ll try doing at home next time I make burgers. It was really flavorful. To me, food tastes so much better when you know it comes from a good source. I felt no disappointment or guilt as I ate a burger and salad that was as high in quality as what I would make for myself at home. My only regret is that I forgot to add bacon to my burger. I completely forgot to use the mayo that I ordered, but the burger didn’t need any extras, anyway.
The salad was really fresh, and it was good lettuce. I don’t know my lettuces as well as I should, but it wasn’t iceberg, and there were different varieties. It was really good with the vinaigrette.
The pickles that came with the burger were homemade, and very good. Other than some fermented pickles that I made at home once, I haven’t had pickles in almost two years. I only wish it had come with more!
I really thought that when I finally got to try Svante’s, I would be happy to have a burger to eat, but I never expected to be so happy with so many choices. When I saw how many things I could eat on the menu, I felt like I could cry. Those of you who eat to heal will understand. It’s so hard to eat out, and I miss it. I could eat here often and have a whole plate full of food. That’s so much better than the usual: a conventional corn-fed steak or a conventionally-raised unhealthy chicken breast with a little plate of brownish lettuce that I drizzle with olive oil that I brought with me in purse.
When I eat there next time (tomorrow, hopefully!), I want to try any of these choices from the menu:
- Kale chips
- Swedish meatballs
- Beef Consomme
- Hellstrom’s Swedish Beef Stew – without the potatoes
- Snapper (local!), but without the rice that it comes with
- Chicken breast with pesto – again without the rice
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwich – without the ranch and the house-made roll
- Seasonal Veggies
- Sweet Potato Fries
- A cocktail – theirs are made without those awful pre-made, corn syrup mixes
As always, I will check with the waiter first and make sure that the food I decide on doesn’t have any ingredients that I can’t have. I always like to explain that I have food sensitivities so they will be extra careful to avoid cross-contamination.
If you’re local to Central Texas, come eat at Svante’s!!! I’m not asking you to do this because I am getting any incentive from them (I’m not) or because they asked me to (they didn’t). I am asking you to eat there because you’ll like it, but also because I want them to stay around. Not only do I want them to stay around, I want them to thrive. If restaurants like this do well, others will follow! If we want more restaurants that offer healthy, well-sourced, tasty food, we have to give them some love.
So, set up a date night and try out Svante’s. Say hi… you’ll probably see me there.
I should probably mention that my husband also enjoyed his meal. He also got a burger, but he had more trimmings than I did. He didn’t get paleo-style, although I wish he would have – he snores less when he eats better. The salad is partially gone because he also started scarfing his food down before we thought about taking a picture. (Remember – don’t scarf your food! Chew it 20 – 30 times!)
Check out these other pictures of the restaurant: