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This week’s Family Night Out was inspired by a Groupon I purchased last week (Don’t know about Groupons? Read our blog on how we use them to save on family fun) for the Brick Oven on 35th Street. I’ve always been a fan of Brick Oven, although I admit I think I’ve only been to the location on 35th Street once. And, that was some time ago. Anyway, I felt pretty good about the location so I paid $20 for the Groupon and we received $40 worth of food for 4. Not bad at all.
I think my kids have only been to Brick Oven two or three times before and I would guess that happened prior to age 5. In other words, they don’t really remember it. We’d have gone more, but the location nearest us closed and with a burgeoning city, we simply found somewhere else to fill in that gap.
So, what I learned about this Brick Oven (on 35th) is that even though it’s part of the Brick Oven franchise, it is the only one out of 4 in our metro area that has a separate owner. So, some of the food choices are a little different. If you have a particular dish in mind, you may want to check their website to verify it’s available at this one too.
When we got there, my daughter cracked us all up with a nervous squeal as Dad pulled the Ford 150 through the narrow drive to the left of the small Brick Oven building. Both kids were like “Wow! This place is pretty small.” We pulled into the main parking area, but as we left I did notice several people parked in an additional parking space that seemed a bit larger and easier to get to. There was a sign with directions on how to get to it, but I didn’t memorize it. Sorry!
As we walked towards the building we were greeted by a rich meaty scent in the air. Both kids commented, “Mmmmmm, smells good!”
The place was small, but quaint. They took us to a back room, which at the time wasn’t busy. That changed within the following hour though (we generally try to hit the places early to avoid the crowds). The waiter was pleasant and the place had a real homey feel to it.
It was when I opened the menu that I realized that this wasn’t the “same” Brick Oven. I enjoy the Pasta Rustica and it was nowhere to be found. However, there were some options that I wasn’t used to seeing that I decided to try. I went for the spinach and artichoke lasagna. My son ordered the adult classic lasagna and my daughter had the adult fetuccini alfredo (she’d have normally had the kids meal, but I wasn’t sure if that would “fly” with our groupon). It took my husband a little more time than usual to make his choice. I think the reason was that many of the pasta dishes on the menu lacked any real meatiness. There was spaghetti with meatballs and the lasagna and maybe one other. The rest had the option to add chicken, but that increased the price by nearly $4. Finally, he decided to go with the Everything pizza.
As far as pricing goes, I was a little surprised. Most entrees ran around $12.95. They did come with a salad though. And, of course, there was the delicious crispy on the outside, soft and hot on the inside bread served with a little seasoned olive oil. Just for reference, the kids meal were priced between $2.75 (melted mozzarella bread) and $5.75 (pasta, etc.).
Both lasagnas were hot and delicious. My daughter’s fettucini was huge (and she ate almost every bite). I think the star of the table, though, was my husband’s pizza. The crust was perfect and the toppings were overflowing. And that scent that made our mouth’s water as we came into the restaurant, well, it was all over that pizza. To top it off, it tasted as good as it looked. I will say, my husband did task a risk and left the anchovies on. After one bite, he was filtering through it to pluck them off—too fishy!
Our tummies were full and tastebuds happy. We looked around and realized the tiny room we were in was now almost to capacity (this often happens when one offers up a great Groupon). Tonight we didn’t have time to extend our night out with an activity. So, instead my husband ordered a Tiramisu to go. The kids were baffled as to what exactly was Tiramisu. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to say “lady fingers with sauces and other toppings.” My daughter’s face stretched in shock as she said “That sounds terrible.” It led to some fun Family Night Out conversation which is what this night is really all about.
If you go to Brick Oven on 35th, there are fun things to do around. Not far from there is Ramsey Park where there’s a public pool and slides, etc. Or, you can drive straight up 35th until you hit Lamar. Right on the corner is a shopping area that includes Central Market’s Central location. You could take the opportunity to grab some ice cream and sit outside where they have a great playscape area for the kids. If you happen to be there on a Thursday or Friday, there’s usually free live music as well. (Find out about more family friendly regularly occurring gigs like this around Austin on our site.)
When we got home, we all sampled the Tiramisu. Upon just looking at it, I wasn’t that impressed. It was what I would call a lazy man’s Tiramisu. It didn’t really look like a lot of work had gone into it. Or, maybe I’m just skewed by the presentation I’ve seen by other Italian restaurants such as Olive Garden or Macaroni Grill that have all the distinct layers upon layers. However, once I tasted it, I’d have never known the difference. It tasted exactly as it should.
So, that’s it. Now, time to answer the questions.
Was it Kid-Friendly? Pretty much. In fact I think there were 2 or 3 other tables in our tiny room with children. I guess I say “pretty much” as I imagine that later in the evening it probably comes across as more intimate and/or romantic with lit candles. But, at 6 PM, absolutely kid-friendly.
Would I go back? Most likely if I’m in the area.
Favorite thing: Hands down, the pizza.
Got kids? Live in or around Austin? Find lots of family and kid friendly things to do on our KidzAustin website at http://www.kidzaustin.com.