FOODWORKS Moves From Corporate to Historic With New Cafe in Historic French Legation Restoration


After a two-year restoration, the historic French Legation in downtown Austin is reopening with the addition of a new café in the visitors center, thanks to a partnership with FOODWORKS, a Chicago-based foodservice organization that specializes in unique dining solutions.

The new café powered by FOODWORKS will allow visitors to stop at the coffee bar or grab a variety of quick bites and sweets while checking out the gift shop for mementos for friends and family. The FOODWORKS mobile app will be available for easy online ordering from the café and visitors center, where guests can purchase tickets and snacks while maintaining necessary social distancing.

Last year, FOODWORKS launched its first Market Cafe in New York City, followed closely by Chicago. Market Cafe was designed as a localized and customizable dining experience to fit the current workforce climate, offering a streamlined concept and modern technology to allow corporations and businesses to offer delicious dining options to employees and guests in their buildings without the same operational costs of a full-service cafe.

This partnership between FOODWORKS and the Texas Historical Commission represents a new type of project for the Market Cafe concept—moving away from the corporate setting to revamp the beauty of a historical building with modern technology and an adaptable dining solution to fit the guests needs. The new café and visitors center make a great addition to the historic structure and landscape, providing a new but familiar destination where people in the community and visitors can come together.

The public is welcome to stop by for the Grand Reopening of the French Legation Historic Site on October 30, 2021. During this time, The Café will also be open to the public from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be guided tours made by reservation at the top of the hour, self-guided tours, scavenger hunts, and a coloring station perfect for any age. The land features two acres of rolling lawns and beautiful greenery surrounding the front porch, where visitors can gather to see the stunning view of Austin’s skyline and catch a glimpse of the Texas State Capitol Building.

About the French Legation State Historic Site

The French Legation State Historic Site in Austin was built in 1841 as a private home for France’s representative to the Republic of Texas, Alphonse Dubois, after the French monarch officially recognized the Republic of Texas as a sovereign nation.

By the time of its completion, Dubois had left Austin after the incident known as the “Pig War.” The house went through a series of owners, including the Catholic Church, before it was purchased by Dr. Joseph Robertson in 1848.

The Robertson family was the last and longest private owner of the property, which remained with their descendants until it was sold to the State of Texas in 1949. The state then placed the site under custodianship of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, who operated the site as a house museum from 1956-2017.

In 2017, the Texas Legislature transferred custodianship of the site to the Texas Historical Commission, who undertook an extensive restoration of the historic home in 2019.

The historic structure and landscape provide a cultural destination where people from surrounding neighborhoods can gather. The historic preservation project is supported in part by the Heritage Tourism Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department and Visit Austin.

To learn more about the French Legation, check out


FOODWORKS partners with unique local restaurants and provides them with operating space in office buildings, retail developments, universities and other dining venues. FOODWORKS restaurant partners are neighborhood restaurants and women- and minority-owned businesses that share the same commitment to quality, sustainability and community involvement as FOODWORKS and its parent companies. For more information, visit or follow @foodworkslocal on Instagram and Facebook.



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