You may recall the days when the Houndstooth Sauce Co. hawked its soups, sandwiches and saucy wares from a humble space inside the East End Market. Chef-owner David Bressler had relocated to Orlando after cheffing about in the Atlanta area, and he managed to grab the last available vendor stall prior to East End's public unveiling in late 2013. Five years later, he and wife Monica released the Houndstooth from East End and commenced buildout of the new pooch-friendly Houndstooth inside Maitland City Centre, just a mile from the couple's home. The sauces were dropped (production costs were getting too high); an expanded selection of takeout-friendly vittles was added to the menu; and Houndstooth Sauce Company was reborn as Houndstooth Kitchen & Eatery.
Sandwiches are still the focus, but some not-so-ordinary sides ($3/$6/$12) can be had with them – apple-poppy slaw; orzo salad with basil balsamic; and a potato salad blended with white barbecue sauce. The latter is an Alabama staple, and that sweet home state plays large at Houndstooth. Monica's whole family hails from there, and David's a 'Bama grad. The eatery's name, in fact, is a tribute to the houndstooth hat donned by Bear Bryant, the legendary coach of the Crimson Tide. Keeping true to 'Bama's colors, David even fashions a red barbecue sauce to go with the white, both of which can be found juicing up the braised brisket taco ($3.50). Personally, I thought the Reuben ($10) and its numerous layers of lean corned beef on pressed marble rye made better use of brisket. I've had this sandwich three times since they've opened, so mazel tov!
Speaking of sandwich, Houndstooth is sandwiched between Boku Sushi and Sanford Brewing Co. If you'd like to sit at one of the tables outside and grab a beer from next door, the Bresslers have no issue with it. I suppose they'd be fine if you grabbed some sake from Boku. Or maybe some nigiri. About the only thing the Bresslers probably wouldn't be cool with is if you wore orange and navy blue – the colors of Auburn – anywhere near their shop.
You might get smoked, and not in hickory like the hefty turkey club ($12) with garlic-lime aioli. I wore navy blue and got duly greased by an overly viscous caprese ($10). A side of turkey chili ($2), sweetened with brown sugar, made an ideal neutralizer. On another visit, as I waited on avocado toast ($7) and a fried chicken sandwich ($9.50) – the chicken is brined in pickle juice before being marinated in buttermilk – I noticed all six of us, customers and workers alike, were wearing masks. Oh, and both the toast and the chicken sandwich were outstanding.
Surprisingly, the pandemic hasn't hit Houndstooth as hard as its neighbors. Takeout was brisk before COVID-19 and business has been steady during. Employees are mostly mask-conscious, and there's a face guard above the register for good measure. If you're making a mental list of restaurants to patronize over the next few weeks, Houndstooth is one you'll want to dog-ear.