A Plainfield, New Jersey native and certified sommelier, Joe Bixel, one of the chefs and owners of Porter Gastropub, developed a love for food and wine in his early years. Learning how to cook from his grandfather, a former cook for the navy, as well as possessing an admiration for Julia Child’s love of French cuisine, Bixel knew he wanted to become a chef at a young age.
Bixel began his foray into the culinary world in New York, earning a degree from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, where he spent several years learning about American and classic French cuisines and the restaurant business. He also developed his deep interest and love for wine, receiving a certificate from the Sommelier Society of America. Additionally, he took positions as a cook at the 21 Club, Lutèce, and Atlas; an executive sous chef at a private club; and sous chef at The Waldorf Astoria Hotel, as well as The Ritz-Carlton Central Park.
It was when Bixel worked in the kitchen at The Ritz-Carlton that he met Neil Joiner, another one of the owners and chefs of Porter. Their similar interest in food and the restaurant business brought the two together. Bixel was fond of the way people in the South idolized food, since it was much different from the east coast. With his high ambition and determination, he eventually came to Austin to continue his culinary journey alongside two of his closest friends, Joiner and Trevor Lane, the third owner of Porter.
While past experiences has certainly inspired him, Bixel lends a lot of inspiration from his father who told him, “one day you’ll be a business owner at a young age, because I know you have it in you. Now go get me a Johnnie Walker with a twist and we’ll talk about it,” Bixel, who lost his father, has kept these words close to his heart, and keeps a bottle of Johnnie Walker in his house as a reminder.
When Bixel is not busy experimenting with food and drink menus for Porter, he is spending time with his wife and family. Bixel enjoys hanging out at Deep Eddy, running, golfing, competing in Tough Mudder and playing ping-pong —which he proudly claims to be unbeatable at. As to why he chose Austin? He believes it is well on its way to becoming the next restaurant mecca.