The Flag Store of Hyde Park
If you’re lucky enough to be in Austin, Texas this week for South by Southwest (SXSW), head over to Duval Street and check out the Hyde Park Market, also known as The Flag Store of Hyde Park or, simply, the Flag Store. You’ll know you’re there when you see the gas pumps, the mini-mart, and the line of flags flapping in the breeze. Get gas if you need it, but it’s the mini-mart that’s the BIG DEAL.
First up are the refrigerated cases packed with beer. Owner Navid Hoomanrad says there are more than a thousand different kinds of beer (all the beers distributed in Texas), and there’s no reason to doubt him. Trust me. The variety is staggering. And mesmerizing. And I’m not a beer drinker. But there’s also wine, although the selection is tiny when compared to the beer.
The next BIG DEAL is the selection of ice cream, gelato and sorbet. Expect boutique brands like Jenny’s Ice Cream (Ohio) and Carnival Barkers (Texas) and flavors like Hatch Chili Chocolate, Fat Elvis and 5-Spice Pumpkin. But be forewarned. Some of them are as expensive as they are yummy. To avoid sticker shock, look at the price tag before you head to the check-out counter. It’s just across from the wall of chocolate packed with a hundred different kinds of chocolate bars.
Browse the Vosges (Chicago) chocolate bars stacked near the cash register while you’re waiting in line. They’re next to the nicely packaged edible insects (think bacon and cheese flavored crickets) which, according to the owner, pack a substantial crunch. Here again, I’ll take his word for it.
The store does stock everyday edibles like cereal, coffee, milk, and juice, along with housewares and drug store items like a wrench or a night light or insect spray. So, in a way, the Flag Store is really a convenient place to shop. Especially if you’re in the mood for a cold beer…or ice cream…or edible insects.
The Hyde Park Market, 4429 Duval Street, Austin, Texas 512.524.4217
Hours: 6 am-midnight Sunday-Fridays, 6am-1am Saturdays