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info@parksideprojects.com
512.729.0050
2900 e 12th St.
Austin, TX 78702

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Creativity and innovation in the kitchen have made Shawn Cirkiel one of Austin’s most coveted chefs and restaurateurs. 8 years ago, Cirkiel opened parkside—the city’s first gastro pub—to much fanfare. The accolades continue on for this sophisticated spot, which is housed in a converted two-story space on East Sixth Street, as they do for Cirkiel’s subsequent ventures: the backspace, a widely popular Neapolitan-style pizzeria, olive & june, an updated version of family-style Southern Italian dining, and Bullfight, an authentic Spanish restaurant featuring a variety of small, shareable plates and wildly popular takes on Spanish tapas.

Cirkiel’s passion for local and seasonal food extends beyond the scope of his restaurants and has become a driving force behind his notable community engagement. As a child growing up on a farm, Cirkiel learned early on the integral role fresh ingredients play in cooking. He took that core knowledge with him to the Culinary Institute of America, where he refined his skills and style and developed an even deeper appreciation for sustainable food. He soon moved to Napa Valley to work in the kitchen at the esteemed Domaine Chandon before landing a job at New York’s Café Boulud. An entrepreneur by nature, Cirkiel moved to Austin to embark on his own endeavor: He took over as the owner/chef of the city’s beloved Jean-Luc’s Bistro, followed by a move to Uchi.

It didn’t take long for devotees to realize Cirkiel was very talented. His success spilled over to parkside, the backspace, olive & june – named for his grandmother and his wife’s grandmother, and Bullfight. Inspiration for the many classic Italian dishes at olive & june came from the family dinners Cirkiel enjoyed as a child in the Italian-American neighborhood of the South Bronx, where Cirkiel’s father was raised. The vision for Bullfight came from Cirkiel’s love affair with Spain, and represents his most passionate work yet – bringing ambitious, thoughtfully-modernized Spanish classics and a colorful mix of regional tastes and flavors to Airport Boulevard.

Cirkiel’s devotion to smart (sustainable) cooking and the community is evident by his involvement in many projects, including an initiative at Austin’s Highland Park Elementary, where he has helped develop healthy-eating, exercise, and gardening programs. Cirkiel is also a founding chef of the Sustainable Food Center’s Farmers Market in downtown and a board member and secretary for the Sixth Street Austin Association, which has been fundamental in raising funds to restore the legendary district. And while the chef maintains a high profile around town and in the media—he’s been noted in numerous publications, including Southern Living, Food Arts, Cooks Illustrated, Bon Appetit and the Los Angeles Times—Cirkiel doesn’t stay out of the kitchen for long.

events director

Allison Gueli is a virtuoso when it comes to creating events to remember. An event-planning authority, Gueli was raised in the Midwest, and obtained a degree in hospitality business from Michigan State University before moving to Austin in 2005. With her impressive 15-plus years of industry experience, including several years planning events for Word of Mouth Catering, Gueli was hired on at parkisde, Chef Shawn Cirkiel’s esteemed Sixth Street gastropub, in 2008, a mere six months after the restaurant’s opening. Since that time, Gueli has developed the events program at parkside into the flawless institution and popular special-events venue it is today.

Shortly after the opening of the backspace, Chef Cirkiel’s Neapolitan-style pizzeria, Gueli skillfully added managing the pizza shop’s events to her workload, overseeing event planning for both restaurants. She has been a part of the evolution of Chef Cirkiel’s restaurants from the beginning, growing with the chef, each restaurant’s team and the business throughout the years.

In 2014, Gueli took on the role of parkside projects events director, making her responsible for managing all special events and restaurant marketing for Chef Cirkiel’s four restaurant concepts: parkside; the backspace; Olive & June, a family-style Southern Italian eatery in Central Austin; and Chef Cirkiel’s newest venture, Bullfight, a tapas-style restaurant serving Spanish cuisine.

beverage director

Paul Ozbirn got his start in Austin’s restaurant industry in the summer of 2006 after moving from Nashville, TN and taking a job waiting tables at Vin Bistro. After a manager noticed Ozbirn’s interest in and enthusiasm for wine, he pushed him to pursue the study of wine, as well as overall restaurant service and fine cuisine. After honing his wine knowledge at Vin Bistro for a year and a half, Ozbirn took a bartending position at Botticelli’s South Congress, which led him to pass his sommelier’s Introductory Exam. Driven by a desire to further enhance his wine knowledge, he was given the opportunity to work at beloved Wink Restaurant, a fine dining establishment with a reputable wine program. Ozbirn immersed himself in all things wine, passed his Certified Exam through The Court of Master Sommeliers, and continued buying for Wink.

After a stint as the Sommelier at iconic Austin restaurant Paggi House, Ozbirn was hired as Beverage Director by renowned restaurateur Chef Shawn Cirkiel. Initially, his focus was on Chef Cirkiel’s popular Southern Italian gem, Olive & June, where he worked to hone the predominately Italian wine list, and help educate and share his knowledge of food and wine with both guests and staff.

Recently adorned with his advanced sommelier level certification in 2015 Ozbirn now oversees beverage programs for all 4 of Chef Cirkiel’s restaurant properties; olive & june, as well as the backspace, a casual, Neapolitan-style pizzeria, parkside, Chef Cirkiel’s acclaimed East Sixth St. gastro pub & newest addition Bullfight, featuring Spanish tapas. Ozbirn’s attention to detail, combined with his ambition to enhance, grow, and singularly define each establishment’s wine offerings, is further elevating Chef Cirkiel’s properties as restaurants dedicated to creative and innovative cuisine, and equally impressive, complementary beverage and wine programs.

pastry chef

Erica Waksmunski is nothing if not ambitious and versatile. Her time spent creating cooking both savory and sweet dishes in kitchens ranging from those in Michelin-star restaurants and nationally renowned eateries, to her own humble yet wildly popular food trailer has helped her develop into a distinguished chef whose following is only continuing to grow.

Waksmunski is originally from the food mecca of New Orleans, and grew up near Virginia Beach. Her early penchant and talent for baking and cooking led Waksmunski to jobs in the restaurant industry at a young age, and later to culinary school at Johnson & Wales University in North Carolina, where she perfected a range of culinary skills.

Upon graduation, Waksmunski got an internship at Everest Restaurant in Chicago, one of the country’s premier French dining establishments. Her success in the internship led to a full-time pastry sous chef job in the Everest kitchen not long after. A move to Nashville several years later landed Waksmunski a pastry chef position at Flyte World Dining and Wine, the city’s finest farm-to-table restaurant, where her love of working with fresh, seasonal ingredients blossomed.

After her experience in Tennessee, Waksmunski crossed the country on her culinary journey, staging at a variety of Michelin-rated restaurants in California, including Chef Thomas Keller’s Bouchon, Ubuntu in Napa, Sons & Daughters in San Francisco, Plumed Horse and Chez TJ, where her abilities earned her the position of pastry chef. A chance holiday visit to Austin led to Waksmunski learning of the pastry chef position opening at Chef David Bull’s Congress. After a whirlwind visit with Chef Bull, in which she worked a Friday night dinner service followed by her Saturday morning dessert tasting, Chef Bull hired her on the spot.

Waksmunski has been featured in a variety of regional and national publications, including Zagat, Eater (after launching her Red Star Southern food trailer in Austin), Texas Monthly and The Scene Magazine. Additionally, she was nominated for Best New Pastry Chef in Food & Wine Magazine and for Best Pastry Chef by CultureMap Austin.

As the pastry director for parkside projects, Waksmunski will oversee all the dessert programs and menus at parkside, Olive & June, the backspace, and Bullfight.

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Parkside Projects not only represents Chef Shawn Cirkiel’s collection of unique restaurants and his original Parkside, but pays homage to the Parkside Projects in the Bronx, where his father grew up. From humble beginnings, Austin native, Shawn Cirkiel has created from scratch several unique restaurants that are still all very similar. Each of our restaurants are defined by a commitment making simple, ingredient-driven dishes and making everything in house with local ingredients or the best ingredients we can find. But that is only half of our reputation. Shawn Cirkiel, a cook by trade, values friendliness and detailed service above all else. You’ll find this warmth and consistency in all of our restaurants and pairs perfectly with Shawn’s genuine food.

Since Parkside opened in 2008, community engagement has been priority for Chef Cirkiel.  Early projects include an initiative at Austin’s Highland Park Elementary, where he has helped develop healthy-eating, exercise, and gardening programs. Cirkiel is also a founding chef of the Sustainable Food Center’s Farmers Market in downtown and former board member and secretary for the Sixth Street Austin Association.

Today Parkside Projects contributes tens of thousands of dollars a year in financial support, food, and time to local charities and service organizations.  We have been incredibly fortunate in our growth and strive to grow equally in our ability to give back to Austin.  We are thrilled to receive requests daily and try to respond to, participate in, and contribute to as many people as possible.

Please send your giving requests here, if we are able to help we will respond within a few days.

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Parkside Projects offers private dining experiences at all 4 of its unique restaurant concepts. From intimate private dining rooms to entire restaurant buyouts we are available to host any and all of your upcoming special occasions. Parkside and the backspace both offer settings in the heart of downtown Austin on historic 6th street while indoor/outdoor neighborhood options can be found at Brykerwoods Olive & June and Hyde Parks Bullfight.

 

Contact our Events Team to begin planning your event today!

Join us Monday, September 26 for this worldly adventure as we taste brandies from across the globe! Hors d’oeuvres will be served throughout the tasting. Hosted by Parkside Projects Beverage Director Paul Ozbirn. Starts at 6:00pm.DSC_0928

For more information & tickets: click here

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Native to Austin, restaurateur Chef Shawn Cirkiel and Parkside Projects are best distinguished by an organic path to success and growth. Sometimes, simply a great location, plenty of investors or clever branding can build one profitable restaurant or an empire, but this has not been the narrative for Chef Cirkiel. The life story of each restaurant is one of finding customer loyalty in unlikely locations and with limited resources. And rather than a series of lucky moves that led to success, it has been Chef Cirkiel’s kitchen philosophy as a cook, first and foremost, and his willingness to always adapt and try new systems —or, as the chef says, always get better— that has enabled Parkside Projects to flourish.

Parkside, Chef Cirkiel’s first restaurant, pays homage to the Bronx, N.Y., housing project where his father grew up. In 2008, Parkside opened on historic Sixth Street, a decidedly non-culinary destination, as a farm-to-table concept long before that or casual fine dining became buzz phrases in Austin. Every night since, Parkside has been filled not so much by tourists, but by a mix of downtown locals and surrounding Austin’s destination diners. Two years after launching the Parkside concept, Chef Cirkiel opened The Backspace, Austin’s first true Neapolitan pizzeria, directly behind Parkside. The better part of a decade later, the corner of Sixth Street and San Jacinto Boulevard continues to anchor the downtown dining scene.

In 2012, at a time when few chefs wanted to venture from downtown, a beautiful three-story building surrounded by a 200-year-old oak tree became available in the Bryker Woods neighborhood in Central Austin. In just a few months, Chef Cirkiel transformed the space into authentic Italian eatery Olive & June, named for his and his wife’s grandmothers. The restaurant features the most dynamic Italian wine and Amari lists in Austin, and prepares a dozen different pastas in-house daily. Now an established neighborhood favorite, Olive & June celebrates its fourth anniversary in 2016. Chef Cirkiel’s newest restaurant, opened in 2015, also has an organic family connection. Bullfight, a modernized take on a classic Spanish concept, was built on the Airport Boulevard site of his grandfather’s post-World War II service station, and has already gained much critical acclaim.

Ingredient-driven Inspiration

All this diversity is fueled by commonality in food and operation. Chef Cirkiel attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York, where he found his passion for ingredient-driven food, a tenet readily noticeable at each of his restaurants. After culinary school, he honed his skills in Napa, Calif., at Domaine Chandon, and in New York City’s Café Boulud, influential culinary experiences he brought back to Austin, where Chef Cirkiel took the helm at Jean-Luc’s Bistro as Austin’s youngest five-star chef, before opening Parkside. Inspired by these culinary ventures and the purity of ingredients, Chef Cirkiel adheres to strict yet basic cuisine standards at each of his restaurants: The ingredients are local, the recipes are made in-house and, most importantly, the dishes are uncomplicated. Ingredient-driven means every dish highlights three or four ingredients, sourced and prepared at their best. Where some see the achievement in an entrée with 15 components, Chef Cirkiel sees the beauty in perfectly seared chicken or potato gnocchi cooked not a second too long. This simplicity breeds efficiency and perfection.

It’s All About the People

Consistent with its lineage, Chef Cirkiel’s Parkside Projects restaurant group is a testament to sustainable growth, and is built entirely by the staff and systems perfected in each restaurant. If his love and respect for food are the inspiration behind his resume, it is the people he’s developed and the systems they implement that have led to growth without diluting the experience. Any chef will agree a key metric of success is when a restaurant operates well, regardless of whether the chef is on-site. This is how a restaurant successfully grows, and this is what Chef Cirkiel and his team have mastered.

Parkside Projects’… projects are more than just our brands.  Collaboration and consulting, whether building something from scratch or making a project more efficient or more fun, have been a part of our identity and success since the beginning.  Shawn Cirkiel and director of operations, Harlan Scott, have developed systems and business philosophies that have been tested, proven, and exemplified by our current concepts.   Parkside Projects’ passions include:

  • brand identity and company culture
  • menu and kitchen development
  • recruiting and staff development. (hiring and training)
  • human resources management
  • inventory and cost management
  • restaurant/venue design
  • project management
  • building and improving operational and training material
  • event management from outreach to production
  • marketing: external, internal, social media
  • developing relationships with purveyors, vendors, trade professionals

For press inquires contact Paula Biehler.

If you play a game of Six Degrees of Shawn Cirkiel, you can create a spider web-like network that ensnares almost every chef of consequence in this town. If a chef hasn’t worked under, over or alongside Cirkiel, one of his current or previous co-workers has. Cirkiel’s demi empire includes Parkside, Backspace, Olive & June and Bullfight.

Best Of People’s Choice: Best Chef

“Shawn is business forward, methodically and strategically creating his mini-empire,” says David Bull, chef partner at Congress and its sibling, Second Bar + Kitchen. “To coordinate the restaurants and staff that he employs comes with daily disasters and intense pressure; Shawn handles it with poise and calmness of a man that has done it for decades. He makes it look easy and continues to rise above the stress, always makes time to support his community and his family.” “None of this was ever a goal,” Cirkiel says. “One foot led over the next. And each led in another direction. It’s funny how so many doors, you never know where they lead. I’ve been fortunate to end up here.”

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At Parkside Projects, our principle is to hire quality over quantity. Many of our staff have been with us more than a few years and many since the beginning of their restaurant careers. As a great source of pride, many of our managers and chefs began their careers with us. As well, other members have also become leaders of some of the best restaurants across Austin.

While we love to promote from within, we love meeting new people to grow our Parkside Projects family. Experience is important, but passion and hard work are fundamental. Please email us your resume and tell us about yourself at careers@parksideprojects.com.

 

Parkside Projects is seeking Fall 2016 interns to assist with event planning & marketing. Job duties may include but are not limited to assisting with all facets of event production, marketing, social media, restaurant reservations, and administrative work. 10-15 hours per week, flexible schedule. This is an unpaid internship position, working towards school credit a plus.

Please email resumes to allison@parksideprojects.com.

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First opened in 2008 on historic 6th street, Austin native Chef Shawn Cirkiel pays homage to his family with Parkside, named for the housing project in the Bronx where his father grew up.  Before “farm-to-table,”  “house made,” and casual but elevated service became the calling cards of Austin, Parkside has now set the standard for downtown dining for the better part of a decade.  Parkside, our original and our flagship restaurant, is best known for its extensive raw bar and its superior selection of oysters from around the country.  Patrons of Parkside feel at home a suit or sandals, where a seasonal menu of locally sourced proteins and produce come together in form of a beautiful lamb entrée or our awarding winning cheeseburger.  Not to be overlooked, Parkside’s acclaimed pastry chefs make dessert anything but an afterthought.  Austin’s original gastropub, Parkside continues to gain affection from tourists and locals alike, and its ingredient driven menu and consistent service are the foundation for every one of chef Cirkiel’s restaurant since.

Literally in the backspace behind chef Cirkiel’s iconic Parkside, is Austin’s first Neapolitan pizzeria.  Intimate and unapologetic, the Backspace is a rustic, 30 seat oasis off 6th street, featuring all Italian wine, one Italian beer, a seasonal selection of Italian antipasti and, of course, Neapolitan pizza.  The flour, the tomatoes, and the centerpiece of the dining room, our brick oven, are all imported from Italy to make a style of pie that, with our homemade mozzarella, can only be called Neapolitan.  Founded in 2010, the backspace is now open for lunch and dinner; reservations are highly recommended, but we always keep our bar counter open for walk-ins.  Have a drink at Parkside next door or take a quick tour of 6th street, and we’ll call you when your table’s ready!

Named after the grandmothers of chef Shawn and his wife, Olive & June opened in 2012 with an emphasis on making every pasta, as many as 12 different kinds, in house daily. If this doesn’t make Olive & June unique enough, the 3 story building is enveloped by a 200 year old oak tree with 4 different dining areas inside and out. Olive & June has the largest and most diverse selection of Italian wine, Amari, and Grappa in the city, but to central Austin’s regulars it’s equally well known for its formal yet friendly service, a hallmark of all Shawn Cirkiel restaurants. Celebrating the cuisine and culture of Southern Italy, expect to see new menu features daily focusing on fresh vegetables, pasta, and its famous piccoli piatti where everything is meant to be shared.

Chef Cirkiel’s newest restaurant, Bullfight, celebrates his lifelong love of Spain. Since his first job out of culinary school in a five star Spanish restaurant, Shawn has snuck away to Spain every chance he gets. The hot climate, the friendly people, and the simplicity of the food remind him of Texas and fit perfectly with his philosophy on food and service. Tapas doesn’t just mean small plates, but a mixture of authentic and elevated Spanish dishes that, like all of Shawn’s menus, feature local ingredients or the best of their kind from Spain and around the world. Everything is meant to be shared at Bullfight, including beverages where Bullfight’s program of all Spanish wine, sherry, vermouth, and cocktails are truly unique in Austin.

Parkside Projects’ first venture outside of restaurants is found in event venue 800 Congress.  Named after the location’s physical address, 800 Congress is downtown Austin’s newest event venue located on historic Congress Avenue.  With an open, industrial feel and views of the Paramount Theatre and the Capitol it is the event destination of ‘No-Co’ (North Congress).  Venue features include original exposed brick & foundation walls, projector with 200” projection screen, state of the art sound system, & VIP room with private entrance.  A truly versatile space, 800 Congress is a blank slate for creating the downtown Austin event you’ve been waiting for.

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Our gift cards can be used at Olive & June, The Backspace
and Parkside.

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food/ experience
Parkside Projects
who we are

Building upon the philosophy of food and hospitality that has made Parkside a standard for downtown dining, Shawn Cirkiel opened Olive & June in 2012. Excited by the opportunity to be just a few minutes north of downtown near family and friends, Olive & June focuses on Southern Italian and is named after he and his wife’s grandmothers.

Olive & June highlights a long list of superlatives including as many as 12 different pastas made in house daily, the most comprehensive list of Amari and Grappa, original Italian influenced cocktails, and the largest and most diverse Italian wine list in the city curated by beverage director and advanced sommelier Paul Ozbirn. Parkside Projects’ executive pastry chef Erica Waksmunski, also responsible for all pasta and bread production, rounds out Olive & June’s unique menu with outstanding desserts.

Shawn’s dedication to sourcing local, finding the best ingredients, and making everything in house continue to be a theme, but at Olive & June they are appreciated in a beautiful 3 story building surrounding a 200 year old oak tree. The atmosphere is as casual as Austin, but the service and attention to detail makes Olive & June a perfect spot for a weekly haunt or a special occasion.

our people

Creativity and innovation in the kitchen have made Shawn Cirkiel one of Austin’s most coveted chefs and restaurateurs. 8 years ago, Cirkiel opened parkside—the city’s first gastro pub—to much fanfare. The accolades continue on for this sophisticated spot, which is housed in a converted two-story space on East Sixth Street, as they do for Cirkiel’s subsequent ventures: the backspace, a widely popular Neapolitan-style pizzeria, olive & june, an updated version of family-style Southern Italian dining, and Bullfight, an authentic Spanish restaurant featuring a variety of small, shareable plates and wildly popular takes on Spanish tapas.

Cirkiel’s passion for local and seasonal food extends beyond the scope of his restaurants and has become a driving force behind his notable community engagement. As a child growing up on a farm, Cirkiel learned early on the integral role fresh ingredients play in cooking. He took that core knowledge with him to the Culinary Institute of America, where he refined his skills and style and developed an even deeper appreciation for sustainable food. He soon moved to Napa Valley to work in the kitchen at the esteemed Domaine Chandon before landing a job at New York’s Café Boulud. An entrepreneur by nature, Cirkiel moved to Austin to embark on his own endeavor: He took over as the owner/chef of the city’s beloved Jean-Luc’s Bistro, followed by a move to Uchi.

It didn’t take long for devotees to realize Cirkiel was very talented. His success spilled over to parkside, the backspace, olive & june – named for his grandmother and his wife’s grandmother, and Bullfight. Inspiration for the many classic Italian dishes at olive & june came from the family dinners Cirkiel enjoyed as a child in the Italian-American neighborhood of the South Bronx, where Cirkiel’s father was raised. The vision for Bullfight came from Cirkiel’s love affair with Spain, and represents his most passionate work yet – bringing ambitious, thoughtfully-modernized Spanish classics and a colorful mix of regional tastes and flavors to Airport Boulevard.

Cirkiel’s devotion to smart (sustainable) cooking and the community is evident by his involvement in many projects, including an initiative at Austin’s Highland Park Elementary, where he has helped develop healthy-eating, exercise, and gardening programs. Cirkiel is also a founding chef of the Sustainable Food Center’s Farmers Market in downtown and a board member and secretary for the Sixth Street Austin Association, which has been fundamental in raising funds to restore the legendary district. And while the chef maintains a high profile around town and in the media—he’s been noted in numerous publications, including Southern Living, Food Arts, Cooks Illustrated, Bon Appetit and the Los Angeles Times—Cirkiel doesn’t stay out of the kitchen for long.

events director

Allison Gueli is a virtuoso when it comes to creating events to remember. An event-planning authority, Gueli was raised in the Midwest, and obtained a degree in hospitality business from Michigan State University before moving to Austin in 2005. With her impressive 15-plus years of industry experience, including several years planning events for Word of Mouth Catering, Gueli was hired on at parkisde, Chef Shawn Cirkiel’s esteemed Sixth Street gastropub, in 2008, a mere six months after the restaurant’s opening. Since that time, Gueli has developed the events program at parkside into the flawless institution and popular special-events venue it is today.

Shortly after the opening of the backspace, Chef Cirkiel’s Neapolitan-style pizzeria, Gueli skillfully added managing the pizza shop’s events to her workload, overseeing event planning for both restaurants. She has been a part of the evolution of Chef Cirkiel’s restaurants from the beginning, growing with the chef, each restaurant’s team and the business throughout the years.

In 2014, Gueli took on the role of parkside projects events director, making her responsible for managing all special events and restaurant marketing for Chef Cirkiel’s four restaurant concepts: parkside; the backspace; Olive & June, a family-style Southern Italian eatery in Central Austin; and Chef Cirkiel’s newest venture, Bullfight, a tapas-style restaurant serving Spanish cuisine.

beverage director

Paul Ozbirn got his start in Austin’s restaurant industry in the summer of 2006 after moving from Nashville, TN and taking a job waiting tables at Vin Bistro. After a manager noticed Ozbirn’s interest in and enthusiasm for wine, he pushed him to pursue the study of wine, as well as overall restaurant service and fine cuisine. After honing his wine knowledge at Vin Bistro for a year and a half, Ozbirn took a bartending position at Botticelli’s South Congress, which led him to pass his sommelier’s Introductory Exam. Driven by a desire to further enhance his wine knowledge, he was given the opportunity to work at beloved Wink Restaurant, a fine dining establishment with a reputable wine program. Ozbirn immersed himself in all things wine, passed his Certified Exam through The Court of Master Sommeliers, and continued buying for Wink.

After a stint as the Sommelier at iconic Austin restaurant Paggi House, Ozbirn was hired as Beverage Director by renowned restaurateur Chef Shawn Cirkiel. Initially, his focus was on Chef Cirkiel’s popular Southern Italian gem, Olive & June, where he worked to hone the predominately Italian wine list, and help educate and share his knowledge of food and wine with both guests and staff.

Recently adorned with his advanced sommelier level certification in 2015 Ozbirn now oversees beverage programs for all 4 of Chef Cirkiel’s restaurant properties; olive & june, as well as the backspace, a casual, Neapolitan-style pizzeria, parkside, Chef Cirkiel’s acclaimed East Sixth St. gastro pub & newest addition Bullfight, featuring Spanish tapas. Ozbirn’s attention to detail, combined with his ambition to enhance, grow, and singularly define each establishment’s wine offerings, is further elevating Chef Cirkiel’s properties as restaurants dedicated to creative and innovative cuisine, and equally impressive, complementary beverage and wine programs.

pastry chef

Erica Waksmunski is nothing if not ambitious and versatile. Her time spent creating cooking both savory and sweet dishes in kitchens ranging from those in Michelin-star restaurants and nationally renowned eateries, to her own humble yet wildly popular food trailer has helped her develop into a distinguished chef whose following is only continuing to grow.

Waksmunski is originally from the food mecca of New Orleans, and grew up near Virginia Beach. Her early penchant and talent for baking and cooking led Waksmunski to jobs in the restaurant industry at a young age, and later to culinary school at Johnson & Wales University in North Carolina, where she perfected a range of culinary skills.

Upon graduation, Waksmunski got an internship at Everest Restaurant in Chicago, one of the country’s premier French dining establishments. Her success in the internship led to a full-time pastry sous chef job in the Everest kitchen not long after. A move to Nashville several years later landed Waksmunski a pastry chef position at Flyte World Dining and Wine, the city’s finest farm-to-table restaurant, where her love of working with fresh, seasonal ingredients blossomed.

After her experience in Tennessee, Waksmunski crossed the country on her culinary journey, staging at a variety of Michelin-rated restaurants in California, including Chef Thomas Keller’s Bouchon, Ubuntu in Napa, Sons & Daughters in San Francisco, Plumed Horse and Chez TJ, where her abilities earned her the position of pastry chef. A chance holiday visit to Austin led to Waksmunski learning of the pastry chef position opening at Chef David Bull’s Congress. After a whirlwind visit with Chef Bull, in which she worked a Friday night dinner service followed by her Saturday morning dessert tasting, Chef Bull hired her on the spot.

Waksmunski has been featured in a variety of regional and national publications, including Zagat, Eater (after launching her Red Star Southern food trailer in Austin), Texas Monthly and The Scene Magazine. Additionally, she was nominated for Best New Pastry Chef in Food & Wine Magazine and for Best Pastry Chef by CultureMap Austin.

As the pastry director for parkside projects, Waksmunski will oversee all the dessert programs and menus at parkside, Olive & June, the backspace, and Bullfight.

our projects

Parkside

First opened in 2008 on historic 6th street, Austin native Chef Shawn Cirkiel pays homage to his family with Parkside, named for the housing project in the Bronx where his father grew up.  Before “farm-to-table,”  “house made,” and casual but elevated service became the calling cards of Austin, Parkside has now set the standard for downtown dining for the better part of a decade.  Parkside, our original and our flagship restaurant, is best known for its extensive raw bar and its superior selection of oysters from around the country.  Patrons of Parkside feel at home a suit or sandals, where a seasonal menu of locally sourced proteins and produce come together in form of a beautiful lamb entrée or our awarding winning cheeseburger.  Not to be overlooked, Parkside’s acclaimed pastry chefs make dessert anything but an afterthought.  Austin’s original gastropub, Parkside continues to gain affection from tourists and locals alike, and its ingredient driven menu and consistent service are the foundation for every one of chef Cirkiel’s restaurant since.

The Backspace

Literally in the backspace behind chef Cirkiel’s iconic Parkside, is Austin’s first Neapolitan pizzeria.  Intimate and unapologetic, the Backspace is a rustic, 30 seat oasis off 6th street, featuring all Italian wine, one Italian beer, a seasonal selection of Italian antipasti and, of course, Neapolitan pizza.  The flour, the tomatoes, and the centerpiece of the dining room, our brick oven, are all imported from Italy to make a style of pie that, with our homemade mozzarella, can only be called Neapolitan.  Founded in 2010, the backspace is now open for lunch and dinner; reservations are highly recommended, but we always keep our bar counter open for walk-ins.  Have a drink at Parkside next door or take a quick tour of 6th street, and we’ll call you when your table’s ready!

Olive and June

Named after the grandmothers of chef Shawn and his wife, Olive & June opened in 2012 with an emphasis on making every pasta, as many as 12 different kinds, in house daily. If this doesn’t make Olive & June unique enough, the 3 story building is enveloped by a 200 year old oak tree with 4 different dining areas inside and out. Olive & June has the largest and most diverse selection of Italian wine, Amari, and Grappa in the city, but to central Austin’s regulars it’s equally well known for its formal yet friendly service, a hallmark of all Shawn Cirkiel restaurants. Celebrating the cuisine and culture of Southern Italy, expect to see new menu features daily focusing on fresh vegetables, pasta, and its famous piccoli piatti where everything is meant to be shared.

Bullfight

Chef Cirkiel’s newest restaurant, Bullfight, celebrates his lifelong love of Spain. Since his first job out of culinary school in a five star Spanish restaurant, Shawn has snuck away to Spain every chance he gets. The hot climate, the friendly people, and the simplicity of the food remind him of Texas and fit perfectly with his philosophy on food and service. Tapas doesn’t just mean small plates, but a mixture of authentic and elevated Spanish dishes that, like all of Shawn’s menus, feature local ingredients or the best of their kind from Spain and around the world. Everything is meant to be shared at Bullfight, including beverages where Bullfight’s program of all Spanish wine, sherry, vermouth, and cocktails are truly unique in Austin.

giving back

Since Parkside opened in 2008, community engagement has been priority for Chef Cirkiel.  Early projects include an initiative at Austin’s Highland Park Elementary, where he has helped develop healthy-eating, exercise, and gardening programs. Cirkiel is also a founding chef of the Sustainable Food Center’s Farmers Market in downtown and former board member and secretary for the Sixth Street Austin Association.

Today Parkside Projects contributes tens of thousands of dollars a year in financial support, food, and time to local charities and service organizations.  We have been incredibly fortunate in our growth and strive to grow equally in our ability to give back to Austin.  We are thrilled to receive requests daily and try to respond to, participate in, and contribute to as many people as possible.

Please send your giving requests here, if we are able to help we will respond within a few days.

events

Parkside Projects offers private dining experiences at all 4 of its unique restaurant concepts. From intimate private dining rooms to entire restaurant buyouts we are available to host any and all of your upcoming special occasions. Parkside and the backspace both offer settings in the heart of downtown Austin on historic 6th street while indoor/outdoor neighborhood options can be found at Brykerwoods Olive & June and Hyde Parks Bullfight.

Contact our Events Team to begin planning your event today!

Join us Monday, September 26 for this worldly adventure as we taste brandies from across the globe! Hors d’oeuvres will be served throughout the tasting. Hosted by Parkside Projects Beverage Director Paul Ozbirn. Starts at 6:00pm.DSC_0928

For more information & tickets: click here

careers

At Parkside Projects, our principle is to hire quality over quantity. Many of our staff have been with us more than a few years and many since the beginning of their restaurant careers. As a great source of pride, many of our managers and chefs began their careers with us. As well, other members have also become leaders of some of the best restaurants across Austin.

While we love to promote from within, we love meeting new people to grow our Parkside Projects family. Experience is important, but passion and hard work are fundamental. Please email us your resume and tell us about yourself at careers@parksideprojects.com.

 

Parkside Projects is seeking Fall 2016 interns to assist with event planning & marketing. Job duties may include but are not limited to assisting with all facets of event production, marketing, social media, restaurant reservations, and administrative work. 10-15 hours per week, flexible schedule. This is an unpaid internship position, working towards school credit a plus.

Please email resumes to allison@parksideprojects.com.

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