The historic Caldwell County Courthouse has a new neighbor. Chefs Sarah Heard and Nathan Lemlery of Foreign & Domestic have opened Commerce Cafe on the Lockhart town square at 118 S. Commerce St., a block from Smitty’s Market and a couple down from Black’s Barbecue.


The cafe serves farm-to-table comfort with a menu of Southern classics like a pork chop sandwich, chicken and dumplings, chicken biscuits and homemade pies, and the menu features Foreign& Domestic touches like green tomato jam and pickled red onions.


The couple, who live in Luling and regularly pass through Lockhart on the way to their Austin restaurant, were made aware of the opportunity in Heard’s hometown just before the coronavirus pandemic and decided the opportunity was too good to pass up in the changing barbecue town where parts of "Waiting for Guffman" were shot.


"We began to notice a new vibrancy to downtown and the beginnings of a bustling square with small shops and restaurants on every corner," Heard told the American-Statesman in an email. "I grew up in Lockhart and I am so excited to see the growth and vitality that the city is gaining as more large companies move their operations here."


Commerce Cafe will also offer a full bar which features classic cocktails, natural wine, and local beer on tap once their mixed beverage license is issued. For now, the establishment in BYOB. The restaurant from the couple who took over Foreign & Domestic in North Loop in 2017 joins former Jezebel chef-owner Parind Vora’s Lockhart Bistro, which opened in 2015, and the newly opened Texas bistro and cocktail bar Little Trouble from Justine’s veterans chef Casey Wilcox and Meghan Dodd as part of the growing hospitality scene in the town legendary for its smoked meats.


Tony Ramirez, a veteran of Fabi & Rosi, La Condesa and Judge’s Hill who Heard has worked with off and on since her teenage years, is the restaurant’s kitchen manager. Commerce Cafe is open for dinner 5 to 9 p.m. Monday -Saturday to start and will slowly expand service, with the hopes of eventually becoming an all-day daily cafe. Take a peak at what Commerce Cafe has in store at their Instagram and Facebook pages, as their website is still under construction.


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