New cafe brings ‘Good Juju’ to West Campus food scene

Kartik Sridhar

Students looking to grab a bite to eat, study in a lounge setting or relax with a few drinks can get their fix at Good Juju Café, located on 26th and Nueces streets in the heart of West Campus. Since last December, chef and entrepreneur Madison Butler has provided a friendly space she describes as slightly alternative and always ready to party while accommodating various dietary restrictions. 

“We’re in Austin,” Butler said. “I want to make sure that I’m doing right by providing for the weirdos in Texas that connect in this little blue circle.” 

Good Juju Café occupies the space previously used by Twisted Root on the ground floor of Grand Marc. The restaurant was entirely made over before opening, and now, Good Juju’s versatile atmosphere is one of its best qualities. After ordering from a walk-up counter, guests have three seating options. The first is the indoor dining area, providing a cozy environment conducive to studying with its eclectic music, individual table lighting and coffee menu. 

For those looking to relax and take advantage of the many drink specials, the bar serves up local brews with a friendly and knowledgeable bar staff. The bar doubles as a smoothie station, offering a great alternative for guests who aren’t drinking or want a healthier beverage.  

Finally, patio seating is available for customers who want fresh air along with the occasional live performance from a local jazz trio. The different seating options combined with the sleek décor and quirky staff result in a cohesive ambiance that caters to Austinites and college students alike. 

In line with the variety of seating options comes an expansive menu that accommodates vegan, halal, gluten-free and even paleo diets. Don’t let the menu’s health-conscious options fool you — the flavors here are bold, innovative and mouth-watering. Willie’s Secret Stash, a menu featuring appetizers and small plates, offers delicious fried items like the “Dope Fries,” a $5 plate of golden waffle fries topped with shredded chicken, Dr. Pepper barbeque sauce and a spicy aioli. These aren’t the standard run-of-the-mill cheese fries that you’ll find in most restaurants — the combination of the sauce and aoili strikes the perfect balance between comfort and heat. 

Good Juju Café has daily specials, most notably the 50-cent wing special. Available on Thursdays and Sundays, the wing special is both a customer and a staff favorite. While customers love the special for its taste and value, the staff gets an opportunity to serve their creative house-made sauces. Though the specials are frequent and flavorful, the full menu boasts an array of entrées that incorporate flavors from around the world. From comfort food like the fried chicken plate to the spicy Vietnamese inspired Bahn-Bahn, customers can be sure to be satisfied no matter their dietary preferences. Butler credits her ability to create such dishes to her education at Escoffier Culinary School in Austin, as well as previous industry experience.

“A great wealth of diversified ingredients to beg, borrow, steal and play with led to this menu,” Butler said. 

While creativity and talent shine through on the lunch and dinner menu, Good Juju Café’s best selling items are their recurring breakfast specials. The $2 breakfast taco of the day, sold daily until they run out, ranges from staples like the bacon, egg and cheese taco to the delicious sweet potato hash, black bean and kale taco. More recently they have rolled out the $4.20 grab bag, a playfully priced to-go breakfast consisting of two pastries and a cup of coffee.  

Good Juju Café adds character to West Campus as it capitalizes on Butler’s passions, talents and personality.

“Opening this restaurant allowed me to provide a new environment for others,” Butler said. “It’s a cool way to meet people and experience your community unfolding — it’s grassroots.”