MADE FOR SHARING
Welcome to a family-style, upscale dining experience, rooted in soulful cooking and the seasons of the Hill Country.
An airy sanctuary of
cedar and light
Earthy colors and textures create a clean, inviting space with exposed trusses, high ceilings, and big windows.
Our design is free-flowing and open, to encourage transparency and community. We want this space to be both a refuge from and celebration of the day-to-day.
INSPIRED BY NATURE
Our approach to cooking is straightforward: we are servants to the ingredients. (And often, we use familiar ingredients in unfamiliar ways.)
We have our own garden about two miles from the restaurant, and what’s growing there is what’s on the menu.
We strive to offer a complete experience to all diners, which is why many of our dishes are vegan, veggie-forward, or gluten-free. But we’re also enthusiastic about serving a giant BBQ’d beef rib to those who enjoy such things.
Our food is mindfully prepared, with the intention of highlighting the quality and seasonality of the ingredients. Everything we serve is nurtured and cared for from seed to plating, so that in the end, it will nurture you—our guest.
Founder / Owner
Seth grew up in Houston and by the age of 10, was battering onion rings at his father’s Sonic. In fact, his father’s Sonic was the only restaurant in the franchise that hand-battered onion rings to-order. Seth loved the camaraderie of that Sonic—how everyone pulled together as a team during a rush and hung out when things relaxed.
He knew then that he would end up in the restaurant business, but first he took a detour through the accounting department at the University of San Francisco. Then he attended the California Culinary Academy and afterwards, worked in various Bay Area kitchens. He spent three years at Roxanne’s, the first serious raw food restaurant in northern California, owned by the star chef Roxanne Klein. At Roxanne’s, Seth learned the value of well-sourced ingredients—real food from local farms.
Later Seth teamed up with his mother, Deborah Hugonin, and from 2004-2011, they ran their own fine-dining restaurant, Blanca, in Solana Beach, California. It didn’t take long for Blanca’s Chef de Cuisine, Wade Hageman, to become well-known. He was invited to cook at the James Beard House and was named one of the best new young chefs in the country by Esquire Magazine.
After losing his father in 2011, Seth returned to Texas to be closer to family. He knew he wanted to open another restaurant—something more affordable and approachable than Blanca. He decided on a property in East Austin, named it Pitchfork Pretty to honor his mother’s habit of buying and decoratively refinishing antique farm equipment, and the rest is history (in the making).
Executive Chef / Partner
Max was born and raised in Austin, TX. Picking plums in his grandparents’ backyard and shared meals at their table fostered an early interest in food, ingredients and cooking.
He started working in casual restaurants as a teenager making sandwiches and delivering pizza on a bike. What began as a mild fascination with the systems of a commercial kitchen quickly escalated to a desire to attend culinary school. Though after interviewing at the Texas Culinary Academy, Max decided to forego a formal culinary accreditation. Choosing instead to start as a dishwasher and devour cookbooks as a path to chefdom.
During this time, Max learned the restaurant term “stage” from a co-worker. A stage is an unpaid tryout for a position and is the only way to land a job in a serious kitchen. It was then, that the way forward became clear. After several stages, he earned the title of prep cook at a bistro in hyde park and never looked back.
After getting his start in Austin, Max spent some time travelling the country and working in a few really nice restaurants, including Eleven Madison Park in New York, and Coi and Saison in San Francisco.
At Max’s last chef post in San Francisco, Old Bus Tavern, Seth experienced Max’s cooking for the first time. Soon after, Max was hired to open Pitchfork Pretty. His unique approach to cooking showcases a love of nature and gift for simplicity. He is still amassing cookbooks and enjoys gardening with his wife and their young daughter in his freetime.
GENERAL MANAGER / PARTNER
Food has always been an emotional and fundamental part of Alex’s life. He grew up in Florida, where his family spent a lot of time at the table, surrounded by his Cuban grandmother’s cooking. When he couldn’t sleep as a kid, he watched the Food Network. Later he paid his way through Florida State University by working at restaurants.
In 2009 he moved to New York and was hired as a food-runner at Jean-Georges, which was then one of six three-star Michelin restaurants in the country. He moved up the ranks, becoming a server and, a few years in, the service director at the 200 seat SOHO staple, The Mercer Kitchen.
Briefly Alex stepped away from restaurants to explore entrepreneurship. He and friends started Throne Watches, a company that makes ethically-produced wristwatches. But Alex wanted to move to Austin, where his sister lived, so he could be the “fun uncle” and a reliable presence in his two nephews’ lives.
In Austin he helped open and was service director at Apis Restaurant and Apiary. Then he became the opening general manager at Otoko, an eminent Japanese Omakase restaurant with a 20-course tasting menu, where the service is so involved that only 24-diners are seated a night. Now a veteran of the Austin dining scene, Alex brings his expertise and guest-oriented mentality—as well as his belief that food should be a connector, and that connection should be emboldened by space and energy in which its served—to Pitchfork Pretty.
IT ALL STARTS HERE
Several months before opening Pitchfork Pretty, owner Seth Baas had the opportunity to buy the abandoned lot behind his house. At the time, the lot’s primary features were a shack and a collection of stolen bikes.
Chef Max and the kitchen staff sifted the existing soil, spread fresh compost, converted the shack into a greenhouse, and planted the first round of seeds. Since then, Max and his wife Jenny have tended the garden, with help from professional farmer Rebecca Hume, who handles crop planning and design.
Some of our plants are sought out, such as a specific strain of cilantro. Others are picked up on a whim, at a farmer’s market or a plant swap. Often our ingredients are used the very day they’re harvested. Because of our garden, our guests can be confident that our ingredients are at their freshest, most seasonal, and most vibrant.