From Our Editors
Four Things to Know About Blackbird and Henry
This Hill Country–meets–English pub eatery has garnered praise for everything on the menu, from the fresh oysters to the sweet-and-spicy take on a bloody mary. Read on to hear all about the veteran Austin chef and his dream restaurant:
- It’s named after a dog. Chef Mark Schmidt and his wife, Shelly, dreamed up the name while sitting in the garden of an English pub. Inspired by the birds and lush ivy on the walls, Shelly suggested Blackbird and Ivy. But their new restaurant space didn’t have any ivy, so they settled on Henry, the name of their labradoodle.
- The menu is a map of Chef Schmidt’s life. Born and raised in Texas, Chef Schmidt spent most summers in Liverpool, England, where his mother was from. As an adult he’s lived in Connecticut and New Mexico as well, but came back to Austin to set up his Indian-influenced English pub with a Texas twist.
- The chef knows a lot about rocks. Schmidt remembers being interested in food as young as 6 or 7 years old. In college, however, he decided to study geology instead, and work in kitchens to pay his way. After a few years in the oil industry though, he made his way back into the kitchen for good.
- Food isn’t the lone star here. Shelly is a restaurant vet in her own right, and the trained sommelier created an “outstanding wine list” that pairs well with the food and “bartenderess extraordinaire” Allison Green’s cocktail program.