Maie Day: A Fun, Casual Chophouse on South Congress

I've now eaten at Maie Day multiple times, and each time I ask myself, "why isn't everyone screaming from the rooftops that this is the best steakhouse in Austin??" Maybe it's because when diners ask for good steakhouse recommendations, they're looking for classic white tablecloth/baked potato/red wine places. But I vote that if you're in Austin and you want a FUN chophouse, something that's totally unique and local, you should book a reservation at Maie Day.

Maie Day South Congress

Maie Day's Location

Maie Day is located on the ground floor of the trendy South Congress Hotel.

It's in the space that was originally Central Standard, a New American restaurant that was "good" but not "awesome." (In my opinion, it was really good food, but it lacked anything interested. It was just another pretty, vanilla, New American restaurant.)

Maie Day South Congress

It's a pretty big restaurant space, with an open-fire concept, a big lively bar, a private event room, and a shaded patio adjacent to the South Congress Hotel courtyard.

Maie Day offers complimentary valet parking and validated South Congress Hotel garage parking for up to 2 hours. Or you can search for street parking on South Congress Ave.

The Concept Behind Maie Day

So when I heard that Michael Fojtasek, the three-time James Beard finalist chef behind award-winning southern restaurant Olamaie would be opening a new concept in the South Congress Hotel, I immediately followed the news.

And then I immediately booked a reservation at Maie Day when it opened in 2022.

And I then I walked in the front door and immediately fell in love. 🙂

Maie Day South Congress

The main idea behidn this South Congress chophouse is to completely throw out any pre-conceived notions of what a steakhouse should be.

There are no white tablecloths, pre-set cabernet wine glasses in the room, or NY-style cheesecakes on the menu.

Maie Day is all about big, shareable, locally-sourced cuts of meat, fun sides (also shareable), craft cocktails, and a community-driven space.

Maie Day South Congress

Maie Day is an open dining concept, with a large corner bar near the host stand (the bar is a fun place to dine solo or with a friend!) and a big central dining space with long tables.

There's also a private event space in the back corner, which can be rented out to parties who book in advance.

Maie Day South Congress

The table arrangements lends itself well to big groups. The last time I was dining there, a bachelorette party strolled in to their 7:30 dinner reservation and was able to dine at a table for 12 in the middle of the room.

But the tables can also be separated, which is how my husband and I enjoyed our date night here on a Friday evening in the spring.

A Look At Maie Day's Food and Drinks

Maie Day South Congress

The cocktails at Maie Day are easy and refreshing. There aren't many big, bold drinks on the menu (as this is HOT Austin Texas and a lighter spritz goes best with our weather.)

But there are a few boozier options, if you're hoping for somethign bold and robust. Things That Rhyme With Orange (pictured above) is a sweeter and more citrus-y version of a something like an old fashioned. It's made with whiskey, licor 43, orange cream, vanilla liqueur

Maie Day South Congress

And One Fine Apple (pictured above) is Maie Day's take on a tiki drink with coconut rum, agricole, pineapple amaro, pineapple gum, lime, tiki bitters. It's cute and yummy, the type of drink that nearly anyone would enjoy.

None of the craft cocktails are overly sweet, and they're made with one or two more unique ingredients to set themselves apart as something different than a typical cocktail you might find at a steakhouse.

(Of course, the full bar could easily make you your standard gin martini or a negroni or whatever classic steakhouse cocktail, if you'd prefer that.)

Maie Day South Congress

The Smoked Fish Dip is served with house "Ritz" crackers, shaved celery, smoked paprika. It's a surprisingly large amount of dip, so you could share this with a table of four.

Maie Day South Congress

The Potato Rolls are served in groups of two (perfect for date night or a networking dinner) and are glazed in a thin sheen of butter.

They're also served with Maldon-topped sorghum butter.

They're good, but they're not as good as the Parker Rolls at Hestia or the buttermilk biscuits at Olamaie.

Honestly, at $8.50 for two rolls, I would prefer that they simply serve the same famous biscuits that they make at Olamaie. After all, this isn't a classic steakhouse menu, so why not mix it up a bit by serving the crowd-favorite biscuits?

Maie Day South Congress

The ribeye is, in a single word, perfection. I can't think of a single thing that could make it better.

It's prepared medium-rare and topped with Jacobson salt and beef tallow. The lack of toppings or sauces or garnishes allows the quality of the beef is to show. It's perfectly pink and fatty and flavorful and absolutely decadent.

Maie Day is a chophouse, not a steakhouse, which means there's a lot more to the menu than just steaks.

They offer a single big pepper-glazed, whiskey-brined pork chop (which was sold out when I dined at Maie Day most recently.)

If you don't eat red meat, they also offer butterflied and grilled fish, a half grilled and lemon-honey brined chicken, and a big variety of meat-free sides.

Maie Day South Congress

The sides, like the meat, are served in big portions and made to be shared. The mac & cheese is made with fusilli pasta and lots of tangy Tillamook cheddar.

Maie Day South Congress

The grilled green beans are rich and tangy, cooked in that smoky grill and then topped with benne seed tahini and a generous squeeze of lemon.

Maie Day South Congress

Ask anyone, anywhere what to order for dessert at Maie Day, and they'll tell you to get the "world famous" chocolate cake.

It's nearly $20 a slice, but the slice is essentially 1/4 of a cake. (Too much for 2 people, in my case. Share this with a table of 4 or 6!)

The rich, gooey chocolate cake is topped with caramel, benne seed, lemonade sauce, and coffee chantilly.

Criticism of Maie Day

Since my promise to you is to write exactly what I would tell my sister or my BFF if she were asking me for my Austin recommendations, I'll tell you just a few things that I wish Maie Day did better.

It's a bit hard to dine here solo or on a date night. The servings are BIG! They literally call this place "a community chophouse" and that everything is meant to be shared.

It would be so much fun to eat here with a party of 8. You could order a few items from the raw bar, 3 of those big chophouse mains, a handful of sides, and split the giant chocolate cake for dessert.

When I dine with just one other person, we're able to split a ribeye, split a side...and that's about it. And I'd love to try more menu items, but they're all just so BIG.

Maie Day is a pretty loud restaurant in the late evening hours. The open-dining concept is so beautful, but it also means that you might be yelling at your date halfway through the meal.

The tall ceilings, cement floors, and big shareable tables just lend themselves to a loud environment. There's not way around that.

If you hate dining in loud restaurants, book a table at 5:30 (that's what I did, and then I took advantage of the $12 cocktails during happy hour), or book a table outside on the patio. It's fairly quiet out there.

And finally, it's just not very crowded right now...and that scares me. Maie Day was packed for the first few months it was open, and it seems like the buzz has worn off a bit. And I don't want that to happen!

Maie Day is AWESOME. Truly. When someone asks for a good local steakhouse in Austin, I will always send them here, Dai Due, or Salt & Time.

And it might be that it's located in a dense restaurant region on SOCO, or that the space in the hotel is just SO big and there are so many tables to fill. But it's felt a little bit empty lately, especially in the earlier hours, and I'm just so hopeful they're able to pick up some energy so that Austin can continue enjoying this fun, lively, local chophouse.

Maie Day South Congress

Maie Day

WEBSITE | 1603 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704

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