Each week in Austin360, we offer a rotating list of places to eat right now. This week: With summer winding down, I take a look at some places outside of town that make for a nice day-trip.
(*This is not a comprehensive list. Don’t see one of your favorites below? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add it to our online listings.)
Pig Pen. 5435 Ranch Road 1623. 830-644-2042, alberttexas.com. One of the best burgers in Central Texas. Chef-driven bar food from a trailer in an idyllic country setting. Only open on Wednesdays and weekends.
Maxine’s on Main. 905 Main St. 512-303-0919, maxinescafe.com. Great spot for breakfast in the historic town center.
Uptown. 315 Main St. 830-833-0738, uptownblanco.com. A touch of sophistication across from the beautiful courthouse.
Red Bud Café. 410 Fourth St. 830-833-0202, redbud-cafe.com. Sandwiches and salads at this cute café on the square.
Old Coupland Inn. 101 Hoxie St. 512-856-2777, couplanddancehall.com. You’ll find Central Texas staples like catfish and barbecue, but let’s be honest, you’re getting the chicken-fried steak.
The Barber Shop. 207 Mercer St. 512-829-4636, barbershopbar.com. Good place for a frosty pint.
Rolling in Thyme & Dough. 333 U.S. 290. 512-894-0001, thymeanddough.com. Enjoy lunches and baked goods at this cute spot that also has a nursery. They do dinner on Thursdays.
Meyer’s Elgin Smokehouse. 188 U.S. 290. 512-281-3331, cuetopiatexas.com. You’ve likely had their sausage elsewhere. Get it from the source.
Southside Market. 1212 U.S. 290. 512-281-4650, southsidemarket.com. Sausage with a story that dates back more than a century.
Cabernet Grill. 2805 S. RM 16. 830-990-5734, cottonginlodging.com. Texas cuisine, steaks and a nice selection of Hill Country wines.
Otto’s German Bistro. 316 E. Austin St. 830-307-3336, ottosfbg.com. Bistro fare with a German bent off the main drag.
Gristmill. 1287 Gruene Road. 830-625-0684, gristmillrestaurant.com. Family-friendly spot feels like dining in an elaborate treehouse.
Texan Café. 207 East St. 512-846-2885, texancafe.net. Chicken-fried steak and pie … the culinary backbone of small Texas towns.
Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que. 604 W. Young St. 325-247-5713, coopersbbq.com. Authenticity earned over 50 years of smoking great meat.
Snow’s. 516 Main St. 979-773-4640, snowsbbq.com. You’ve gotta get up pretty early on Saturday mornings to get some of the best brisket in the state. But it’s worth it.
Black’s Barbecue. 215 N. Main St. 512-398-2712, blacksbbq.com. Probably the best brisket in the Central Texas barbecue Mecca.
Chisholm Trail Bar-B-Que. 1323 S. Colorado St. 512-398-6027. It doesn’t get as many headlines as its barbecue brethren, but this place has been putting out solid smoked meat for more than 30 years.
Smitty’s Market. 208 S. Commerce St. 512-398-9344, smittysmarket.com. The fire pit that greets you in line and the pressed-tin ceiling make this some of the best barbecue-eatin’ ambiance in Central Texas.
Kreuz Market. 619 N. Colorado St. 512-398-2361, kreuzmarket.com. When I pop into the brick building that looks like a massive feed store, I always get jalapeno-cheddar sausage.
City Market. 633 E. Davis St. 830-875-9019, lulingcitymarket.com. If you can drive from Houston to Wimberley without stopping for ribs here, you’re stronger than me. And a darn fool.
Blue Bonnet Café. 211 U.S. 281. 830-693-2344, bluebonnetcafe.net. Go on Sundays and get the turkey and dressing at this institution named after the hat, not the flower.
Alpine Haus. 251 S. Seguin Ave. 830-214-0205, alpinehausnb.com. Get a taste of Germany in the heart of Texas.
Buttermilk Café. 1324 Common St. 830-625-8700, thebuttermilkcafe.com. Carol Irwin gives her chef spin to comfort food at breakfast and lunch.
Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que. 1125 Texas 337 Loop. 830-627-0627, coopersbbq.com. It doesn’t have the history of the original, but it does have good barbecue.
Huisache Grill. 303 W. San Antonio St. 830-620-9001, huisache.com. New American standards at this handsome building that’s almost 100 years old.
Royer’s Cafe. 105 Main St. 979-249-3611, royerscafe.com. Steaks, lamb, quail … OK, OK, you’re going for the pie. But don’t eat dessert first.
Opie’s Barbecue. 9504 Texas 71. 830-693-8660, opiesbarbecue.com. These guys switch it up a bit by smoking over mesquite. They make really good barbecue and tater-tot casserole, which, yes, is a thing.
Louie Mueller. 206 W. Second St. 512-352-6206, louiemuellerbarbecue.com. Wayne Mueller runs the restaurant opened by his grandfather 64 years ago. You should try it all but definitely don’t miss the beef rib. They don’t get any better.
Leaning Pear. 111 River Road. 512-847-7327, leaningpear.com. Farm-to-table freshness at this beautiful creek-side restaurant. The chicken-fried quail and corned beef Reuben are two of my favorite sandwiches in the state.
Linda’s Fine Foods. 500 FM 2325. 512-847-5464, lindasfinefoods.com. You just might find some evening music on the porch, and you’ll definitely find some good homemade food with a range of flavor profiles, like Vietnamese noodles and brisket quesadillas.
Guide on the go
Take Matthew Odam’s 2013 Dining Guide — a list of his top 50 restaurants — with you by bookmarking Austin360.com/diningguide2013 on your smartphone or tablet. See the list on your computer ataustin360.com/odamtop50.