Sneak Peek! Celebrated Chefs Rene Ortiz & Laura Sawicki Preview Launderette to Support Austin Culinary Community on February 17

 Austin’s Most Highly Anticipated Restaurant Hosts Pre-Opening Fundraiser to Benefit Austin Food & Wine Alliance Grants  

Local culinary stars Rene Ortiz and Laura Sawicki, both who also have wide national acclaim, will give an early taste of their new restaurant with a pre-opening fundraiser dinner at Launderette, the long-awaited east side neighborhood café. Benefitting the Austin Food & Wine Alliance (AFWA) grant program, tickets go on sale today for the limited-seating, 5-course dinner on February 17Tickets are available online at AustinFoodWineAlliance.org

Given the great anticipation the city has for the duo’s newest culinary endeavor and the limited number of seats available, the AFWA expects a sell-out event with Ortiz and Sawicki leading diners through each course. Tickets are $200 per person and will feature a signature cocktail by Jason Kosmas of The 86 Co., premium wine pairings from RNDC and include a $50 donation to the organization’s culinary grant program.

“We are extremely excited and honored by the ongoing support we’ve received from our friends at Launderette and their commitment to give back to the Austin culinary community,” said Cathy Cochran-Lewis, grant chair of the Austin Food & Wine Alliance. “There couldn’t be a more anticipated restaurant opening in this city right now.”


These lucky first diners at Launderette will be treated to more than a dozen items from the wide-ranging menu that Ortiz has crafted. The dinner includes selections from the raw bar, “snacky bits” and specialties sections of Launderette’s menu, followed by one of Sawicki’s whimsical desserts.


“Having this opportunity to be among the first to experience Launderette and, at the same time, to support our grant program that funds culinary innovation is truly extraordinary,” said Mariam Parker, AFWA executive director.


The evening’s menu will include:


Passed Hors d’Oeuvres:

  • Soft Egg Toast – asparagus, Taleggio, truffle vinaigrette, bottarga, focaccia
  • French Feta Toast – grilled red pepper, eggplant, pickled shallot, caraway
  • East Coast Oyster – green apple, radish, vinegar

Raw Bar

  • Crudo – fluke, spring onion, Serrano ham
  • Razor clams – salsa verde

Snacky Bits

  • Labneh – beet hummus, millet crunch, everything cracker
  • Mortadella – gherkin, beetroot relish, mustard
  • Chicken Liver Pate – huckleberry preserves, mini brioche


  • Pork Saltimbocca – capers, prosciutto, mustard
  • Agnolotti Ricotta – nutmeg, pine nuts, rosemary-brown butter
  • Sticky Brussels Sprouts – apple-bacon marmalade, Pecorino, almond, pickled apple
  • Caramelized Endive – Bleu des Basques, thyme


  • Chèvre Cheesecake – saffron, beet, pear, candied ginger ice cream

Austin Food & Wine Alliance (AFWA) annually hosts multiple fundraising events throughout the year, including two large chef showcases (Live Fire! and Wine & Swine), the city’s favorite cocktail competition, Official Drink of Austin set for Feb. 26, and educational programming to raise funds for the nation’s first grant program based on culinary innovation and community involvement.

Formed just three years ago, AFWA now has awarded $75,000 in grants to the Central Texas culinary community. Grant winners for 2014 received $30,000 in grants to help fund a unique volunteer program teaching farming skills to diverse populations and culinary students (New Farm Institute); a first-time collaborative project between urban farmers and local chefs to create test plots to grow heirloom and heritage crops not previously grown in Central Texas (Springdale Center for Urban Agriculture); hands-on cooking experiences and basic food knowledge to help foster youth learn to cook independently and healthily (Fresh Chefs Society); the first farmers’ cooperative in Central Texas working on behalf of full-time sustainable farmers to establish a Medical Relief Fund (Growers Alliance of Central Texas); and an entrepreneurial chef whose goal is to support local producers and culinary students while expanding a farm stand to a pop-up restaurant (Anjore).


As the key beneficiary of the upcoming Austin FOOD & WINE Festival, April 24–26, the Alliance features educational programming and culinary events showcasing Central Texas’ chef talent along with artisan and local producers, world-class wine and spirit makers, and craft brewers.   


Sponsors supporting the February 17 dinner include the Austin Food & Wine Festival, Whole Foods Market®, AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center, FreshPoint, Giant Noise, Freeman, Twin Liquors, Premiere Tents & Events, ABC Bank, American Lamb Board, Field Branding & Design, Glazer’s, Greenling, The Hess Collection, Treaty Oak Distilling, Balcones Recycling, Max Photography Republic National Distributing Company, Star Hill Ranch, Texas Beef Council, Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon, Texas Pork Producers Association, Texas Tea, CultureMap, and Texas Monthly.


For more information about the AFWA, visit AustinFoodWineAlliance.org, call 512.348.6847 or email Info@AustinFoodWineAlliance.org. Stay up to date with Austin Food & Wine Alliance happenings on Facebook http://facebook.com/austinfoodwinealliance and Twitter http://twitter.com/ATXFoodWineAlly.




The Austin Food & Wine Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering awareness and innovation in the Central Texas culinary community through grants, educational programming and events. Guided by an all-volunteer board of directors and committees made up of culinary-and-community-minded professionals, the Alliance’s commitment is to promote Texas food, wine, spirits and craft brews and to increase appreciation of Texas’ culinary impact. The AFWA is the designated beneficiary of the Austin FOOD & WINE Festival. For more information about the Austin Food & Wine Alliance, visit AustinFoodWineAlliance.org.


With a delicious and seasonal menu, Launderette aspires to be your home for wholesome cuisine focusing on strong cooking and techniques, the best cup of drip coffee in town and the perfect martini. As a simple yet irresistible all day café offering real food and friendly conversation in a lush and casual setting on the East side, Launderette will be a neighborhood hub as a well as destination for the city of Austin. Known as one of the most recognizable chefs in the Austin culinary scene, Executive Chef Rene Ortiz joins forces with Margaret Vera and Tracy Overath of Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon, along with longtime culinary partner and renowned pastry chef Laura Sawicki, to open the anticipated restaurant. Launderette is located at 2115 Holly Street in Austin, Texas. For more information, please visit www.launderetteaustin.com.

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