The Texas Icehouse is resurrected at Saddle Up

As a third-generation Austinian, pitmaster Tom Micklethwait has deep roots in the capital. For example, his maternal great-grandfather was Cater Joseph, the business owner of Joseph’s Man’s Shop on Congress Avenue, which outfitted famous President Lyndon B. Johnson.

So, it might come as a little surprising that his latest venture is something better associated with Houston: the icehouse. But unlike the glorified garage bays of South Texas, where cheap Shiners and flat-screen TVs are de rigueur, Micklethwait wanted to go back even further, to a time when these watering holes had a larger geographic presence – and they were actually selling blocks of ice for refrigeration.

“I thought it would be boring to go from a barbecue trailer to just a [brick-and-mortar] barbecue restaurant,” says Micklethwait. “I wanted to be a bigger part of the community, where you could have a cool grocery store in a small town next to a place for lunch: kind of like how places like Smitty’s Market [in Lockhart] has begun.

Located in a 1950s bungalow on the same property as its two standout food trailers – Taco Bronco and Micklethwait Craft Meats – Saddle Up accomplishes this feat by offering grocery essentials in a number of creative ways: homemade deli meats like city ​​and mortadella, local produce, breads and pastries from Baker Kelly Hill and, most importantly, shelves of beer and chilled wine for retail or on-site indulgence.

“If you look like a convenience store, you need convenience store-style offerings,” he says. “That’s why we create personalized versions of Twinkies and Little Debbie snacks. We even have Alka-Seltzer to help you digest all the sweets and barbecue.

Tom Micklethwait’s three must-haves for a successful cooler:

1 / Ice bags

“It may seem simple, but it is absolutely crucial. An ice maker was the first thing we bought.

2/ Grocery

In addition to sandwich fillings, Saddle Up offers homemade jerky, soft serve, and an array of kolaches, including those stuffed with barbacoa and mac ‘n’ cheese.

3/ A killer patio

“It’s got to be a great hangout spot where you want to grab a six-pack and some tacos and sit down for a while.”

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