After making a career of covering art, food and music for his online publication COLLiDE, Alan Miller decided he wanted to give other people the opportunity to pursue those passions for themselves.
COLLiDE ATX serves as a free working space for anyone, from musicians to robotics engineers, to come together and collaborate in a creative environment, while also hosting a rotating cast of art installations, performers and chefs.
“We wanted to bring our missions and passions to life in a city that could really help embrace it,” Miller said. “Our idea is to really create something that is for the community and by the community, and to bring things in that we think have a lot of value and purpose.”
Every 60 days, COLLiDE welcomes a new chef, menu and art installation. Miller decided to keep the first round of talent local with displays from Austin-based artists Mollie Tuggle and Will Johnson and BOCA Spanish eatery chef, Patrick Armstrong.
“We gave the chefs run of the kitchen, which allows them to do something they’ve never done before by really building out menus and creating something special,” Miller said.
Although the talent is locally sourced right now, Miller plans on outsourcing skill from all over the U.S. in months to come.
“We’re trying to recognize when a chef or artist is amazing and make this their opportunity to bring their work to Austin,” Miller said.
But Miller also wants to stay closely involved with burgeoning artists in Austin’s backyard by giving them a free space to work on albums, record podcasts or even host conferences.
“Whatever it is that you’re working on, we want to be a part of that,” Miller said. “It’s very rewarding to witness the fun and creative vibe of people coming together and working in an unpretentious way.”
COLLiDE ATX provides a calm and inviting interior for people to hang out and work in. With comfortable seating, beautiful art on the walls and even a stage, it’s an ideal environment for fostering creativity.
The food, on the other hand, seems like it’s still in the trial and error phase. The biggest problem is the confusion resulting from the different menus offered at each part of the day. There is a separate brunch, lunch and dinner menu from the BOCA chefs as well as a lunch menu featuring house specialties.
Aside from that, the food itself is very good, albeit small. The menu items curated by BOCA are pleasantly authentic to Spain and lean heavily on the use of paprika.
The alitas de pollo (chicken wings), in particular, are completely battered and fried in paprika. Served with aioli and salsa brava dipping sauces, these chicken wings easily set themselves apart from any other wings served in Austin.
The best dish to snack on and share with friends is the pimientos de padron, which are salted and blistered shishito peppers. The peppers are like the Spanish equivalent of edamame. It’s a simple dish that really doesn’t need any extra flair.
Surprisingly, the best item on BOCA’s dinner menu is the gazpacho avocado shooter. The chilled soup made from tomato, cucumber and pureed avocado packs an immense amount of fresh flavor that makes the customer completely forget they are eating cold soup. The only thing that could make it better would be a full bowl option.
Though it’s still working out hiccups, COLLiDE ATX shows a lot of promise in becoming one of Austin’s most exciting hangout spots. This first round of food shows that the folks at COLLiDE ATX are more than capable of recognizing the right talent to bring in, and it will be exciting to see what the next menu will have to offer.