Cafe serving cookbook-inspired food and drinks is now open at Central Library downtown

Before the new library opened downtown, one of the most exciting proposed elements was the Cookbook Cafe, a cookbook-inspired eatery on the bottom floor.

The books that line the shelves of the Cookbook Cafe, the restaurant inside downtown’s Central Library that opens today, are from the personal collection of food writer Virginia B. Wood, who died earlier this year. LYNDA M. GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The Central Library opened in October, but today, the cafe opens with a surprise: The books lining the shelves were the collection of Virginia B. Wood, the late food writer who was influential in Austin’s food community before her death earlier this year.

PHOTOS: A look at the new Cookbook Bar and Cafe at Austin Central Public Library

RELATED: Longtime Austin food columnist Virginia B. Wood dies at age 67

The Cookbook Cafe features indoor and outdoor seating and will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

The Cookbook Cafe, which is run by the ELM Group, will features dishes pulled from the cookbooks in Wood’s collection, whose books line the shelves of the interior dining space, as well as in the personal collections of chefs Andrew and Mary Catherine Curren.

So what cookbooks will you find featured on the menu? “The Commander’s Palace Cookbook” by Ti Adelaide Martin & Jamie Shannon inspired the granola parfait, and Heidi Gibson’s “Grilled Cheese Kitchen” holds the recipe for the restaurant’s breakfast grilled cheese.

This strawberry rice pudding is inspired by famed cookbook author Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking Chez Moi.” Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

At a preview event over the weekend, we got to sample a rice pudding with strawberries and spiced hibiscus syrup from “Baking Chez Moi” by Dorie Greenspan. The restaurant will be serving coffee, matcha and tea, as well as beer, wine and spirits. The literary-inspired cocktails include The Adventures of Huckleberry Gin and Murder on the Orient Espresso.

The hours of the restaurant will be 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. The Cookbook Cafe also runs a rooftop coffee cart in the library’s top floor from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 3 p.m.

You can park in the underground lot at the library, but there are also some street parking options. The library is located at Cesar Chavez and San Antonio Streets, between the Seaholm Development and the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail.

You can check out the cafe’s full menus at cookbookatx.com.

The menu at Central Library’s Cookbook Cafe will rotate seasonally, but the dishes will come from beloved cookbooks that might be on your shelves, too. LYNDA M. GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN