Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Austin >
Jun 18, 2007 09:56 AM

Grape Vine Market.

I love grape vine market's selection of gourmet foods and such, but have yet to try their prepared foods. Does anyone know what's best here? You can find the menu at:

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I've had the chicken pesto and the gunsmith and they're both really wonderful. Crunchy bread, flavorful meats. Usually comes with grapes, which is a nice switch.

    2 Replies
    1. re: amysuehere

      The chicken pesto was perfectly crisp and delicious. Thanks for the rec. I also tried the joy pepper pizza, also excellent, and their carpaccio is pretty good.

      1. re: foodiefound

        Glad you liked it. If you get another chance and you're in a sweet mood, try the Sexual Chocolate (a lot of times he's giving out samples) or the Miles of Chocolate. They're both local guys that have a real twist on traditional bon-bons and brownies

    2. If you think Grapevine's selection is good, I'd highly recommend you check out Spec's international deli section. There are two locations: north - Airport Blvd/2222 and south - Hwy 290 at the top end of Brodie Lane. The south location has a larger deli section and a kitchen which makes creative sandwiches and suchlike.

      11 Replies
      1. re: TAF

        Interesting, and the north one is just across the street. I'll have to give them a try soon.

        1. re: TAF

          Spec's reminds me of a tired old west Texas liquor store - just bigger. Weak service and boring. Grapevine Market offers a pleasant environment and really knowledgeable employees - it's especially woman-friendly. I had a great panini sandwich at the Round Rock location!

          1. re: wineluvraustin

            I'll respectfully disagree with that analogy; I'm not even sure I know where to begin disputing it. I'd be willing to cede a bit on the boring part, but I've always had stand-up service at Spec's, and their prepped sandwiches are in Austin's top tier for take out.

            I'm glad you like Grapevine-I think it's a great store. But to dismiss Spec's in such a way is frankly dishonest.

            1. re: Twill

              Twill, do you have a favorite item from Specs? I live near the south location but have not had the chance to eat anything there.

              1. re: Twill

                I'll also defend Spec's.

                I am particularly fond of the Big John (roast beef, cheddar, horseradish on an onion roll), the California Dreamin' (turkey, avocado, Havarti, sprouts), the Reuben, and the Grand Cru (roast beef, brie, dijon mustard). The Club is MASSIVE. The Chick Chick (chicken salad, bacon, on a croissant) varies - sometimes the chicken salad has a little too much mayo, but when it's on it's tasty. And the Scottish Kilt is good, but you've gotta be committed to the smoked salmon to order it (sometimes I think it'd be better as a half sandwich).

                The Airport/290 location does have a small deli, but no kitchen. They sell some prewrapped sandwiches, including an Antone's style po' boy that'll do in a pinch.

                I've never had a bad experience with the staff at Spec's.

                1. re: mkwng

                  I shop at the south location and I pretty much developed a deli habit after eating there the first time. Agreed on the Grand Cru and Reuben, which are my personal favorites. The Club is massive but pales in comparison to the Muffaletta, and both are delicious (I'll try to go in depth on why I think so later on). I haven't had a chance to try one of the burgers, but they have a number of different styles, all of which look pretty interesting on paper.

                  I've become a regular because of the outstanding selection but also because, despite the tremendous volume of customers they have, a few of the staff members I encountered initially remembered me and made a point to say hi and offer help on my return visit. Needless to say, I really don't get the service complaint.

                  1. re: Twill

                    I'll have to try the Muffaletta. I had the Club last time I was there, and it was as big as my head. Actually quite difficult to eat, but nevertheless a good sandwich. I've never experienced poor service in Spec's either - quite the contrary to be honest.

                    Aficionados will note that the Arbor Walk (Mopac / Braker) location appears to be on the verge of opening for business!

              2. re: wineluvraustin

                Wow, I have the exact opposite impression of Spec's as you do, wineluvraustin.

                I find Specs to be about 3x as interesting as any other liquor store I've been to in the US, and consequently spend probably 5x as much time in the store door-to-door. This is probably a consequence of their sheer volume and variety. Agree that they definitely could do more than create aisles and aisles to showcase alcohol. (I enjoyed the now-defunct Tuscany Market's cubbyhole-cave-wine-room that created a very pleasant wine showcase ambiance with that totally fun tasting machine.) But all in all, Specs is more interesting because of sheer volume.

                The service I've received at Spec's has been exceptionally informative and extremely friendly, the best of any food or alcohol store I've been to. My expectation of service at alcohol stores (vs food stores) is higher because their margins are higher, but Spec's staff excels in initiative, friendliness, and knowledge. And, they also acknowledge when they don't know something! (Even the men!! jabjab :-)

                My favorite wine bought from Spec's so far was the Hahn Meritage.

                Favorite non-alcohol item was definitely one of their specialty bread loaves near the cheese case. It looked like a smushed-flat loaf of french bread in clear plastic wrap but was delicious.

                On my next trip to Spec's I'm going to look for a Texas variant of a Cointreau-like orange liquor I read about.

                1. re: wineluvraustin

                  I have also had the opposite experience with Spec's. A couple of weeks after their opening, I noticed that they has shelf space for Porto Kopke, but had not placed the bottles (all other Spec's locations I had been to previously had this brand, which is a favorite of mine). I asked one of the employees. He said that it was an oversight. It was on the shelf the next day.

                  After shopping at Spec's for a couple of years, I was very disappointed with Grapevine market in comaprison, though I have not tried the food their.

                  1. re: wineluvraustin

                    It must be the south vs. north store. I went to the north one (actually made hubbers go on an out-of-the-way trip because of the hoopla on this board) and was completely under-impressed. No deli to speak of (yes, nice cheese selection, but not Central Market). Reminded me of going across the boarder to the duty-free shops.

                    1. re: wineluvraustin

                      Sadly, I have a office job at the university, so I can only cheerlead in such a capacity.

                      Experience is a big deal for me, too (especially when dining), so I can empathize to a certain extent with your affinity for the Grapevine space. I don't find the decor at Spec's cozy or inviting, but I don't want to live there or enjoy a nice sit-down meal. I just want to get some Irish whiskey or single barrel bourbon, a couple of bottles of bordeaux, a fat deli sandwich, maybe some single plantation bars and cheese and get the hell out. And my service experience at Spec's is identical to what you've described at Grapevine.

                      I haven't been in a while, but I think that you're paying slightly higher prices at Grapevine for the decor, while I'm paying discount to run through my list and get back to life outside the marketplace. I think it may just boil down to a difference in philosophies, and there's nothing wrong with that.

                      BTW, you should head over to the chocolate thread and fill in the blanks with your SXUL experience.

                2. I have had 2 different pizzas and one of the sandwiches and highly recommend them all. The pizzas were the El Guapo, my favorite, and the Leopard. The sandwich is the Mediterranean Tuna. You won't got wrong with this one, its really tasty!!

                  1. i thought grapevine moved? i also see they are opening a specs off the mopaqc in arbor walk near the domain

                    1. If you like GrapeVine, head down there by December 15, because they're closing for good after that...