A beautiful new art was born, or rather perfected, during the pandemic - the art of fruit, cheeses, and cold cuts. Charcuterie took the world by storm as an elevated alternative to takeout two years ago during which Marie Smith monopolized its growing popularity into a thriving business here in Brownwood. Grazed and Confused first opened in Marie’s backyard in October 2020 and will successfully transition to a downtown storefront in less than one month!
Marie Smith and her sister have always had a passion for food. Roughly twenty years ago, they opened a bakery/deli in Brownwood but the timing wasn’t right. One day, after starting a family and pursuing other interests, her stepmom shared a Facebook post that would redirect Marie’s career entirely. A woman in Marble Falls was making cute little lunch boxes and Marie’s sister commented that Marie herself might enjoy doing this too. Thus, the lightbulb was lit and the journey began.
Quickly Marie and her husband Joe, who is comically referred to as Mr. Confused, learned they’d need a commercial kitchen and so transformed a storage building in their backyard into a fully functioning culinary incubator. In April 2021, the couple was ready to start delivering charcuterie lunch boxes, which Marie calls lunchie munchies, to hungry Brownwood patrons.
Word on the lunchie munchies quickly spread amongst locals and have become wildly popular. When ordering, customers have the choice between a 5 oz portion of chicken salad with a croissant or a variety of cured meats for their protein, but both options include cheeses, crackers, fruit, cucumbers, candied pecans, a stuffed pimento pepper, and chocolate. The Smiths now deliver an average of 40 lunch boxes every Wednesday and have even acquired weekly “autoships” including one from a local salon.
Though Marie’s true artistry is evident in her larger 18-inch boards. Spend a minute browsing the Grazed and Confused Facebook page to see how absolutely stunning her arrangements can be using fun cookie-cutter shapes, special folding techniques, and aesthetic placement. Don’t even get us started on the holidays, this might be when Marie’s creativity is at her peak! For example a popular 4th of July tray this year was modeled after the American flag using colorful fruit patterns and star-shaped cheeses. But you don’t have to wait for Christmas to feast your eyes. Larger trays can be ordered year-round and are perfect for events such as baby showers, bachelorette parties, birthdays, school meetings, work celebrations, et cetera. In fact, Marie’s favorite part of her job is getting to be a part of her customers’ special occasions. Just don’t be surprised if the charcuterie board ends up being the center of attention!
With such quality food and a clear passion for their work, it’s no surprise that the Smith’s success has propelled them to their own storefront at 304 North Broadway. Having kept a close eye on the development of our downtown, Marie realized the spark in Brownwood’s recent entrepreneurs and wanted to join the revitalization efforts! Matt McCrane, the building’s owner, leveraged the BMDD Building Improvement Incentive Program to transform a vacant space into two new retail stores - Grazed and Confused and a cool interior plant store (who’s entrance will be in the back).
Brownwood’s current restaurant offerings require a timely sit-down meal, but Marie’s vision is to create a fast-casual destination, catering to those who don’t have very long lunch hours. She believes you shouldn’t have to sacrifice quality for time.
With a new venue comes new possibilities! Grazed and Confused will continue selling the charcuterie and chicken salad lunch boxes as grab-and-go items but will also add easy carry-out items including sandwiches, salads, soups, and pastries. Morning brunch options will cater to a healthier diet featuring yogurt bowls and lighter pancakes. And who can resist a seasonal menu with soup and pumpkin spice specials? If you’ve ordered from Marie before, you are familiar with her addictive homemade glazed pecans, which she plans to sell by the pound once open! Still in partnership with Boar’s Head, Grazed and Confused meals will continue to be of the utmost quality and we anticipate the new menu will be even more delicious than before!
While the cuisine will be tailored to fast dining, a collection of 5-6 tables will accommodate those who have a minute to sit down. Marie saw the remodeling process as an opportunity to bring in bright colors and a modern farmhouse interior design. She and her husband have enjoyed refurbishing more antiquated furniture, even painting chairs with blue, yellow, and coral Dixie Belle paint from their fellow small business, Saturdays. There’s also lots of excitement over a statement blue couch. Needless to say, not only will Grazed and Confused’s charcuterie be photogenic, but so will its storefront!
When at a crossroads of what to do with their future, Marie said “we can keep doing the same thing, or we can jump into a new adventure!” She encourages anyone with the smallest interest in starting a business to take the risk for, “now is the time!”
The Smith’s couldn’t be more grateful for the support they’ve received from the Brownwood community. With an estimated Grand Opening this October, they are thrilled to join our town’s rapid growth!