Sunday, June 27, 2004

`The Local' Makes History

We're still checking the records, but we feel comfortable in reporting that culinary history is being made at The Local, the new gourmet kitchen/market/bakery that opened last Friday in downtown Lake Jackson.

Never before, to the best of our knowledge, has a deli-style restaurant in Brazosport routinely ponied up bean sprouts, hummus and goat cheese on their sandwiches. We are pleased to report the results are dee-licious.

This is a major step in the de-Bubbafication of the Brazosport culinary scene, with the first step being the opening of Cafe Annice some 5 years or so ago.

At The Local, the hummus and goat cheese came on the Californian Wrap. The bean sprouts adorned the World's Best Tuna sandwich, which includes apples and toasted pecans, with a side of excellent potato salad. The cheese cake and Starbucks coffee we had after the sandwiches hit the mark.

The Local's menu also includes breakfast tacos, kolaches, bagels, cinammon roalls, muffins, croissants and a variety of spreads (strawberry butter, French jellies, cream cheese) til 10:30 a.m.
The lunch and dinner menu, from 10:30 a.m. til 8 p.m. (except Sunday, when they close at 2 p.m.), features 13 different sandwiches, four styles of burgers, two kinds of wraps, four salads, a soup of the day and a house marinated rotisserie chicken.

They serve complete dinners to go from their Express Cabinet and the bakery offers artisan breads, cookies and bars, sweet breads, cakes and creme brule.

The Local has been two years in the making. Located at the southeast corner of Circle Way and That Way, it features the most handsome new building in Lake Jackson. The owners are two couples. They wanted the building, constructed where an old gas station once stood, to blend in with the 1950s architecture of downtown LJ, yet it has the feel, inside and out, of a trendy deli-coffee bar you'd find in Austin or Montrose. The floor is painted concrete. The fountain outside isn't quite working correctly at the moment, so they filled it with some beach balls. Beer, wine and smoothies will be on the menu soon.

A gift shop also is housed in The Local. It includes a variety of goods, ranging from glassware and cookware to household decorative items. The Local selected their gift shop merchandise from the buyer's market in Los Angeles, so as not to duplicate the offerings from other shopowners in the area who typically buy their goods from the Dallas buyers market.

Another retail spot sits on the far south end of the building, but The Local's owners aren't sure yet to whom they will lease it. A beauty salon, bookstore and furniture merchant have inquired about leasing the spot, but the owners want to be sure the business will bring in the right traffic mix, so they're holding off on a decision for the time being.

Whoever leases it will have a great deli next door. We suggest you give The Local a try. It is something Lake Jackson definitely needed.

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