How one small healthy restaurant in Austin got creative amidst the pandemic

This article is part of our restaurant series, featuring remarkable independent restaurants that embody Healthy Anywhere standards and sensibility. 

Bento Picnic (Austin) - a study in creative resilience.

How a small indie restaurant punched back at the pandemic, through creativity and collaboration.

The Basics

Japanese-inspired, picnic-friendly fare

Cute 1920’s bungalow on East Cesar Chavez in Austin, TX

Opened 2018 

Run by chef-owner Leanne Valenti

Bento picnic ATX healthy eats Austin

Why we love Bento Picnic

Nutrient-dense variety: Culinary direction guided by the Japanese concept of Washoku: a balance of tastes, colors, and textures for optimal enjoyment. Featuring fresh, seasonal, clean produce (dirty dozen is always Organic!) 

Eco-conscious practices and sustainable meat and protein sourcing. (hello, pastured organic Tamagoyaki eggs!)

Variety of dietary needs, lifestyles supported. 

Healthy bento bowls, salads. Bento Picnic ATX

Choosing creativity and collaboration in the face of trials and trouble

In the face of losing nearly 50% of revenues in a flash (1/3 tied to catering and kiosk), Bento Picnic pulled out all the stops. 

New wine concept: Saba San’s retail wine shop, a collab with TX wine pro, James Havens. Featuring natural, low-intervention wines from small, boutique producers. Monthly wine club available. 

New dinner menu: The perfect pairing for natural wines. 

Renovated outdoors: Covered, climatized patio dining for year-round healthy dining.

Private sushi pop up: Hosting Chef Phillip Lee’s exclusive sushi omakase experience through Feb. 

Saba Sans low intervention natural wines Austin
healthy outdoor dining in Austin TX at Bento Picnic

While the sushi pop-up is likely sold out by the time you read this, Austin residents can still support Bento Picnic by joining the wine club or picking up bento boxes and more healthy fare. Don’t miss the Tamagoyaki egg and handmade deli delights like pickled veggies, slaw, spreads, and more. 

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