A decade ago chef-owner Shawn Cirkiel opened parkside, and the chic urban space on East 6th Street. With its innovative kitchen and local farm-to-table initiatives, the restaurant quickly became the go-to spot in Austin which set the stage for the city’s exciting dining scene.
Shawn Cirkiel | Founder
A native of Austin, Cirkiel has always embraced the city’s soul, energy, and vibe; when he opened parkside in 2008 in a downtown area lacking fine cuisine, the restaurant—with a menu driven by the foods he likes to eat—proved the perfect fit. Cirkiel, who attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York, has cultivated a climate focused on ingredients, quality, experimentation, systems, sustainability, and people, and over the years, more than 30 talented chefs have worked at parkside, including some of Austin’s most well known names.
Callie Speer | Chef-owner of Holy Roller
Callie Speer, an Austin native and executive chef and Owner of Holy Roller, is well-known for her inventive creations inspired her love of nostalgic cuisine. In parkside’s earlier years, Speer worked along side Shawn Cirkiel, helping to develop the restaurant as a pillar in the food community.
“Working for Shawn was a game changer for me. He was the first person who truly taught me to work with pride and integrity. Shawn taught me to lead with compassion and to lead by example. I got married and gave birth to my daughter while I worked at parkside, and through him and his family, I learned I could be a wife, a mother, and also a chef—and be proud of the job I was doing in all of these roles. To this day, Shawn has remained an invaluable sounding board for me in both my personal and professional life.”
Nathan Mayes | Chef at Paloma in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Sterling Ridings | Chef-partner at Guild
A native to Austin, Sterling Ridings got his first taste of working in the kitchen at the age of 15 in the dish pit of an Italian restaurant. Inspired by the back of house fundamentals, the creative environment, and the fast- paced lifestyle, Ridings began his first full-time position at Parkside after graduating from culinary school. Since then, chef Ridings has built an impressive track record in Austin’s culinary scene.
Nathan Lemley & Sarah Heard| Chef-new owner of Foreign & Domestic
While working for Shawn Cirkiel as the Executive Chef at Parkside and The Backspace, chef Lemly honed his knowledge of the restaurant industry. He soon met his future business partner Sarah Heard, who had recently accepted the position of Banquet Chef at the restaurant. The pair purchased Foreign & Domestic Austin in September of 2017 from original owner Ned Elliot and have been sharing the kitchen ever since. Photo source Austin Food and Wine.
The 10th anniversary celebrations begins on January 21st, featuring half price oysters and bubbles along with expert guest “shuckers” from two of parkside’s purveyors, American Mussel Harvesters in Rhode Island and Rappahannock Oyster Co. in Virginia. The restaurant has a devoted following that is passionate about its oysters and raw bar, and fans of the infamous Fluke with Lemon and Almond are in for a treat as that dish and other throwbacks, such as Blond Pâté, Doughnut Holes, and Baby Backs with Jalapeño, will be featured one a day for $10 through January 31. The bar will be pouring perennial favorites like Strawberry Sunshine, the Gold Cup, and the parkside 78—a flavorful mix of Old Highborn Gin, rosemary, rhubarb, citrus, and bubbles.
Diners can expect to be wowed with Tens of surprises during the 10-day extravaganza, including cinnamon-and-sugar-dusted doughnut holes (a parkside original) with dessert wine for $10, 10 freshly baked made-from-scratch cookies to take home and enjoy, $10 parkside gift cards, and a 10-percent-off voucher to use at their next dining experience.