Yes, yes, yes, I know their full name… Quack’s Bakery. And yes I know they serve sandwiches and soups, but so does Java Monkey and 18th Street and Kavarna, all of whom call themselves coffeeshops. And jesus, Mani’s is called Mani’s Bakery but I never ever went there JUST to eat a cupcake. So what is in a name anymore, and what is left of the criteria that we established for this site? Obviously it is a lot more difficult to quantify what establishments belong on here among their peers than it is to establish futile rules to endlessly squash the tableau trolls who seem to think that just because their girlfriend is a barrista at a place or can wordlessly get their desired drink without ever having to stop talking into their bluetooth headset that all of our experiences counter to theirs are somehow delusional. So yes, Quack’s is a coffeeshop. Get bent.
Quack’s was lit like a place where people get shit done. And to be sure the place was filled with university students of all stripes and ages. Some looked like they were working on group projects, others toiled silently on laptops that I couldn’t see the display of (probably updating their Facebook pages), and a few were having conversations sans agenda, probably on some perennial campus topic like post-something or meta-something. Cups were strewn across tables, empty chocolate-smeared dessert plates stacked one atop another, and sweating tall glasses of chai or iced coffee glimmered from the tepid spring evening. If the rapture came upon this room of saved souls just as I, a heretic, happened through the door, I would describe, from the evidence strewn through the empty room, the place to be a coffeeshop. And satisfying myself with this, would most likely have followed through on my plans of sampling one of the sinfully unraptured vegan peanutbutter cups and a palpitating mug of black coffee. Although we would all have snooped around behind the counter for mugs had we been left the last man on earth, in reality I appreciated Quack’s everyday use of the mug rather than a paper cup.
I took the treats outside, facing the parking lot of the designer grocery store across the street, and turned my back to Quack’s. I set my wares on the metal bistro table and waiting for my counterpart observed the grain of the fresh peanut butter in the cup, tasted a bite and then swirled it in my mouth with the coffee and my heart raced and eyes swelled. When Matt came out we talked about his work at school and his summer plans of traveling to India. We talked about them as one would at a coffeeshop and the light from behind me through a large plate glass window fell on the parking spots and windshields like light from a coffeeshop, warm, busy, endless.
I have no reservations about its peerage on this site. There is no formulaic checklist to provide admittance. Formulas don’t quantify atmosphere or spunk. These are things that we have to see for ourselves, and Quack’s, with its life, its goods, its intentions, was up there with the big boys. Who am I arguing with anyway?
Quack’s Bakery411 E 43rd St
Austin, Texas 78751