Austin restaurants: Where to order takeout

Enoteca's Salsiccia pizza  Photo by Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN.
Enoteca’s Salsiccia pizza Photo by Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN.

Restaurant listings

Regularly in Austin360, I offer a rotating list of places to eat right now. This week: With all of this rain, staying in for lunch or dinner sounds nice. These places fit the takeout bill. Don’t see one of your favorites listed? Leave a comment or email me at modam@statesman.com.

Guide on the go

Take my 2014 Dining Guide — a list of my top 25 restaurants and 100 other places I like to eat — with you by bookmarking Austin360.com/diningguide on your smartphone or tablet.

Annies Café & Bar. 319 Congress Ave. 512-472-1884, anniescafebar.com. Grab a hot meal, fresh salad or sandwich from this Congress Avenue restaurant.

Asia Café. 8650 Spicewood Springs Road. 512-331-5788, asiamarketaustin.com. This restaurant was too good to be contained to the back of the Asia Market, so it took over the neighboring space, serving dishes such as whole spicy fish and jade chicken.

Blue Dahlia Bistro. 1115 E. 11th St. 512-542-9542, bluedahliabistro.com. A refreshing and savory assortment of dishes that nod to French country cuisine.

Blue Star Cafeteria. 4800 Burnet Road. 512-454-7827, bluestarcafeteria.com. Salads, pastas, sandwiches and an eclectic array of appetizers make this a one-stop spot that can please a variety of tastes.

Bouldin Creek Cafe. 1900 S. First St. 512-416-1601, bouldincreek.com. One of Austin’s true temples to vegetarian and vegan fare; even the most avid meat-eater will be impressed with dishes like portobello fajitas or the zucchini migas.

Chen’s Noodle House. 8650 Spicewood Springs Road. 512-336-8889. Hand-cut noodles from Mr. Chen at this tiny spot that serves a delicious noodle soup overflowing with pork, tofu, egg and a host of vegetables.

East Side King. Multiple locations. 512-422-5884, eskaustin.com. Paul Qui and his partners created a stable of Asian-fusion trailers. The group now includes brick-and-mortar locations at Hole in the Wall and on South Lamar Boulevard.

Elizabeth Street Café. 1501 S. First St. 512-291-2881, elizabethstreetcafe.com. French colonial Vietnamese cuisine that sources responsibly. Make sure to grab some dessert from the pastry menu.

Enoteca. 1610 S. Congress Ave. 512-441-7672, austinvespaio.com. Vespaio’s kid sister serves comforting pasta dishes and bubbly Neapolitan-style pizzas.

Fresa’s. 915 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-428-5077, fresaschicken.com. Walk-up window and drive-thru make it easy to take home an entire rotisserie chicken for the family, or choose from an assortment of excellent tacos. My favorite is the El Presidente.

Galaxy Café. Multiple locations. galaxycafeaustin.com. Refined café food at this family-friendly spot where you’ll find salads, sandwiches and burgers.

Jack Allen’s Kitchen. Multiple locations. jackallenskitchen.com. Farm-to-table comfort food such as bacon-wrapped quail and crispy salmon, as well as a massive weekend brunch, have made this place a hit down south and now up north as well. Bonus points: curb-side service.

Madam Mam’s. Multiple locations. 512-371-9930, madammam.com. Three locations now turn out spring rolls, noodle soup, stir-fries and curries. Some of these Thai dishes pack a pretty spicy punch.

Mandola’s Italian Market. Multiple locations. MandolasMarket.com. Get classic Italian antipasti, daily specials and bubbling pizzas at one of three locations around town.

Matt’s El Rancho. 2613 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-462-9333, mattselrancho.com. An Austin institution serving classic Tex-Mex. They even pack the Bob Armstrong Dip components in separate containers, allowing you to mix at home.

Maudie’s. Multiple locations. maudies.com. If you haven’t had Maudie’s Diablo Sol Food queso, you can’t really call yourself an Austinite.

Quality Seafood Market. 5621 Airport Blvd. 512-452-3820, qualityseafood.wordpress.com. Great fried shrimp, grilled catch of the day and Gulf oysters are some of the keys to the staying power of this restaurant-market.

Sap’s Fine Thai Cuisine. 4514 Westgate Blvd. 512-899-8525, SapsThai.com. A comprehensive menu of Thai food, from soups to noodles to stir-fried specials and curries.

Taco More. 9414 Parkfield Drive, 2015 E. Riverside Drive. 512-821-1561. The two locations of this taqueria serve great tacos and traditional Mexican dishes such as cabrito consommé.

Tarka Indian Kitchen. Multiple locations. 512-892-2008, tarkaindiankitchen.com. Fast-casual Indian cuisine from the Clay Pit founders, with a nice balance of both non-traditional and traditional dishes.

Threadgill’s. 301 W. Riverside Drive, 512-472-9304; 6416 N. Lamar Blvd., 512-451-5440; threadgills.com. Chicken-fried steak from the comfort of your own couch.

Top Notch Hamburgers. 7525 Burnet Road. 512-452-2181, TopNotchAustin.com. New ownership was wise not to change the aesthetics at this classic car-hop spot that was featured in “Dazed and Confused.” The charcoal-grilled burgers have a unique flavor, and the fried chicken is nice and crispy.

Restaurants lend a helping hand to central Texas flood victims, first responders

Photo by Jay Janner
Photo by Jay Janner

In the aftermath of the floods that wreaked havoc across central Texas over Memorial Day weekend, a number of businesses are stepping up to help the many families, homes and businesses affected.

In addition to donating $100,000 to the Red Cross, Texas fast food favorite Whataburger announced that it will offer free meals to first responders aiding in relief efforts in certain areas until June 9.

Local burger favorite Hopdoddy Burger Bar will be donating all profits from their two Austin locations on June 4 to Barnabas Connection.

All day on June 4 Texas-born chain Chili’s will be sending 15 percent of the sales from their 210 Texas locations to the Central Texas Chapter of the American Red Cross. All customers have to do is mention the Red Cross or the Texas floods.

JuiceLand will donate half of all profits from their monthly special, ‘Wild Child’ (a blend of dragon fruit, mango, banana, pineapple, lime, maca and coconut oil), to Austin Disaster Relief Network (ADRN).

The Leaning Pear in Wimberley is making meals free for pick up for flood victims and volunteers aiding in the clean up. Starting Thursday and running through Thursday, the Leaning Pear will be donating 100 percent of the sale of from their daily specials, which use donated local ingredients from local farms and ranches to Barnabas Connection.

During the month of June, Swift’s Attic will be donating a portion of the profits from its locally-farmed specials to ADRN.

Instead of a particular day or special, Buzz Mill‘s fundraising campaign is based around a rain catcher, which they recently installed at their East Riverside location. Every time it rains, Buzz Mill will share the progress as well as a link to where fans and customers can donate online to ADRN. When the rain catcher is completely full, Buzz Mill will host a party with donated kegs so customers can instead donate the money they would spend towards disaster relief efforts.

View this post on Instagram

After concluding the wettest May in Texas history, we rejoice for the filling of our lakes, but must also come together to help those whose lives were damaged in the storm. For the month of June, The Buzz Mill will be working with the Austin Disaster Relief Network specifically with the Memorial Weekend Flood Fund. Our newly built water catcher will track the rainfall, and once achieving critical mass, we will throw a party with free beer to raise money for those in need. ADRN is a local non-profit, and 100% of your dollars will stay focused on this disaster. Please tell your friends and donate now at– http://www.adrntx.org/index.php/memorial-wknd-flood-fund/ #ATX #Austin #Texas #AustinFlood #ADRN

A post shared by buzzmillcoffee (@buzzmillcoffee) on

Check here for the most up-to-date coverage of the missing victims in Hays county and damage throughout central Texas.

This article has been updated to reflect current restaurants offering deals and services. Restaurants that have previously donated time, food or money include Taco Cabana, San Marcos BBQ, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, Doc’s Bar and Grill, Blue Dahlia Bistro and the Saxon Pub. 

Blackbird & Henry launches Community-Supported Restaurant program

The buttermilk-brined chicken at Blackbird and Henry on Guadalupe Street (Martin do Nascimento/AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
The buttermilk-brined chicken at Blackbird and Henry on Guadalupe Street (Martin do Nascimento/AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

In an attempt to reward regulars and raise money, campus-area bistro Blackbird & Henry has started a Community-Supported Restaurant (CSR) program. Participating diners pay $1000 for a $1250 credit to chef Mark Schmidt’s restaurant (ostensibly a 25-percent discount). The credit can be used for food, drink, and gratuity. In addition to the credit, CSR participants also received priority access to reservations and Blackbird & Henry events. Blackbird & Henry is not the first Austin restaurant to integrate the system to their business model; chefs Todd Duplechan and his wife, Jessica Maher, run a similar program at their South First Street restaurant Lenoir. For more information on Blackbird & Henry’s new program, email info@blackbirdandhenry.com.

Austin restaurants: Where to eat brunch in Austin

Chicken and waffles at Little Barrel and Brown. (Credit: Jay Janner AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Chicken and waffles at Little Barrel and Brown. (Credit: Jay Janner AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Regularly in Austin360, I offer a rotating list of places to eat right now. This week: With parents and friends descending on the town for graduation, in the May 22 print edition of Austin360, I spotlight 40 of the best places to eat brunch in Austin. The list below includes dozens more, as well as critic’s picks. Don’t see one of your favorites listed? Leave a comment or email me at modam@statesman.com. (Note: this list does not include traditional breakfast places, trailers or bakeries.)

» Check out an interactive map of Matthew Odam’s top 25 spots for brunch «

* = Outdoor seating available

+ = Critic’s pick

1886 Cafe & Bakery. 614 E. Sixth St. at the Driskill Hotel. 512-391-7066, 1886cafeandbakery.com

Scene: Small café offers a classic feel at Austin’s oldest hotel.*

Brunch hours: 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: Texas pecan waffles ($12), bread pudding French toast ($13), Brazos huevos rancheros ($13), smoked salmon and bagel ($13)

Annie’s Café & Bar. 319 Congress Ave. 512-472-1884, anniescafebar.com

Scene: Sidewalk seating, a classic bar and floor-to-ceiling windows help define this Congress Avenue restaurant.*

Brunch hours: 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, and 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday

Highlights: Grilled salmon and vegetables ($15/.95), buttermilk griddle cakes ($7.50), tomato-brie soup ($8.25)

Apis. 23526 Texas 71. 512-436-8918, apisrestaurant.com+

Scene: Surprising elegance at the edge of the Hill Country.*

Brunch hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday

Highlights: Wagyu bavette steak and eggs ($ 19), beef pastrami benedict ($16), sweet corn pancake ($15), chickpea stew ($13)

Arro. 601 W. Sixth St. 512-992-2776, arroaustin.com

Scene: Modern French bistro amid West Sixth bar scene.

Brunch hours: 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday

Highlights: Almond French toast with cherry syrup and crème fraîche ($13); smoked salmon with hard-cooked egg and rye toast ($16); niçoise salad ($15); eggs, shrimp and pain de mie ($19)

Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden. 79 Rainey St. 512-386-1656, bangersaustin.com

Scene: Sausage and beer heaven with massive outdoor seating area.*

Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

Highlights: Pastrami-styled cured salmon ($10), six different sausages ($8), Banger’s Benedict ($12), Banger’s breakfast sandwich ($10)

Barlata Tapas Bar. 1500 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-473-2211, barlataaustin.com+

Scene: High ceilings, modern design and a convivial atmosphere.

Brunch hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: Tortilla Espanola ($9.50), choriburger ($12), poached eggs with jamon Iberico ($14)

Blue Star Cafeteria. 4800 Burnet Rd.512-454-7827, bluestarcafeteria.com

Scene: Refined take on diner food.*

Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: Quiche Lorraine ($7.95), vanilla-battered French toast ($7.95), open-faced egg sandwich ($9.95)

Chez Zee. 5406 Balcones Dr. 512-454-2666, chez-zee.com

Scene: Colorful neighborhood staple has been in business for more than 25 years.

Brunch hours: 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: Crème brûlée French toast ($8.95), Southern grilled pork chop and eggs ($16.95), chicken and waffle ($14.95)

Clark’s. 1200 W. Sixth St. 512-297-2525, clarksoysterbar.com+

Scene: Jewel box restaurant feels like an ocean-side retreat.*

Brunch hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: Oysters, crudo plate, beef tartare, wood-grilled shrimp toast, cioppino on grits, hangar steak and eggs

Contigo. 2027 Anchor Lane. 512-614-2260, contigotexas.com/austin+

Scene: Open-air environment, wood and iron décor, and large outdoor tables give restaurant ranch-like feel.*

Brunch hours: 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday

Highlights: Quiche, rabbit and dumplings, smoked trout, beef tongue hash, housemade breads

Eastside Café. 2113 Manor Rd. 512-476-5858, eastsidecafeaustin.com

Scene: Quaint restaurant built in an East Austin old house sources some ingredients from its on-site garden.

Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: Baked huevos Mexicanos ($12.95), smoked salmon Benedict ($14.95), apple-almond waffle ($11.95), blueberry blintzes ($11.95), garden vegetable enchiladas ($11.95)

El Naranjo. 85 Rainey St. 512-474-2776, elnaranjo-restaurant.com+

Scene: Fresh and elegant restaurant from Mexican chef Iliana de la Vega.*

Brunch hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: Ceviche de la semana ($14), three-egg omelet with queso oaxaca served with refried black beans, avocado, salsa verde and house baked fresh bread ($12), braised beef tenderloin tips ($15), chilaquiles con crema and queso ($10)

Elizabeth Street Café. 1501 S. First St. 512-291-2881, elizabethstreetcafe.com+

Scene: Adorable French colonial-style café and bakery with wrap-around patio seating.*

Brunch hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday

Highlights: Croissant with Niman Ranch ham and gruyere ($5); Nutella and banana stuffed crepe ($11); brioche French toast ($11); breakfast banh mi ($8); sticky rice with ginger sauce and poached eggs ($14)

Enoteca. 1610 S. Congress Ave. 512-441-7672, austinvespaio.com+

Scene: Vespaio’s laid-back kid sister on Austin’s showcase boulevard.*

Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

Highlights: Semolina-buttermilk pancakes ($9), porchetta panini ($13), croquet madame ($16), poached eggs on focaccia with Niman Ranch ham or spinach and roasted tomato ($11), crab cake with poached egg and hollandaise ($16)

Epicerie. 2307 Hancock Dr. 512-371-6840, epicerieaustin.com+

Scene: French-inspired neighborhood café.*

Brunch hours: 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

Highlights: Scrapple ($10), “Mad dog” pancakes ($10), croque madame ($12), eggs benedict ($12)

Fonda San Miguel. 2330 W. North Loop Blvd. 512-459-4121, fondasanmiguel.com+

Scene: Austin’s original expansive temple to the flavors of Mexico.

Brunch hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday

Highlights: Sprawling buffet includes black drum ceviche, cochinita pibil, chicken mole poblano, chicken mole verde, jicama fruit salad, beans and rice, housemade tortillas, arroz con leche, bread pudding, almond flan ($38.95).

Frank. 407 Colorado St. 512-494-6916, hotdogscoldbeer.com+

Scene: Fun and irreverent lovers of encased meat, beer, and whiskey.

Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday; (“Brunch for drunks” runs from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. with limited menu)

Highlights: Chicken and bacon waffles ($11.75); shrimp and grits ($13); Makers Mark toast with blueberry-bourbon syrup; pulled-pork Benedict ($9)

Freedmen’s Bar. 2402 San Gabriel St. 512-220-0953, freedmensbar.com+

Scene: Historic building with great ambiance and cocktails and a large courtyard.*

Brunch hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

Highlights: Barbecue Benedict with choice of brisket, pulled pork, or sausage ($11); jalapeño cheese grits ($6); various smoked meat by the plate or pound

Green Pastures. 811 W. Live Oak St. 512-444-4747, greenpasturesrestaurant.com+

Scene: Genteel Victorian estate tucked away in the trees of South Austin.

Brunch hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday

Highlights: Rotating buffet may include prime rib, shrimp cocktail, hot smoked salmon, eggs Benedict, dessert buffet. Coffee, tea and punch included ($38).

Hightower. 1209 E. Seventh St. 512-524-1448, thehightoweraustin.com+

Scene: Scruffy and personable neighborhood restaurant and bar.*

Brunch hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: Boudin scramble ($9), ricotta toast ($7), carnitas sandwich ($10), grit waffle ($8.50)

Hopfields. 3110 Guadalupe St. 512-537-0467, hopfieldsaustin.com+

Scene: Rustic French bistro meets American pub.*

Brunch hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily

Highlights: Corned lamb hash ($13, weekends only), hamburger on a French toast bun ($13), Full English ($14)

Hyde Park Bar & Grill

4206 Duval St., 512-458-3168; 4521 West Gate Blvd. 512-899-2700, hpbng.com

Scene: The original has been serving neighbors (and treating strangers like neighbors) for more than three decades.

Brunch hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: Eggs Benedict ($9.99), migas ($7.99), chicken and waffles ($9.99)

Iron Cactus

Multiple locations.  ironcactus.com

Scene: Standard Tex-Mex fare.*

Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. (Stonelake location also offers brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.)

Highlights: Brunch buffet includes huevos rancheros, migas, scrambled eggs, and hickory smoked bacon. ($14.99; $8.99 for children age five to 12; Kids four and under eat free; $12.99 for seniors)

Jack Allen’s Kitchen. Locations in Oak Hill, Round Rock and West Austin. jackallenskitchen.com+

Scene: Farm-to-table Texas comfort.*

Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday

Highlights: Buffet includes layered enchilada casserole, chicken-fried chicken, tomato-basil pie, and eggs cooked to order ($16.99).

Javelina. 69 Rainey St. 512-382-6917, javelinabar.com

Scene: Rustic bar in heart of the city.

Brunch hours: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: Breakfast tacos ($1.5), breakfast sliders ($2.50), Javelina eggs ($5.49), Migas burger ($8.49)

Josephine House. 1610 Waterston St. 512-477-5584, josephineofaustin.com+

Scene: Bright and charming Clarksville café.*

Brunch hours: 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: Coddled egg with shaved cured ham ($13); grits, mushrooms, duck confit, kale and poached egg ($18); petit filet and egg ($35); Lyonnaise salad ($16).

La Condesa. 400 W. Second St. 512-499-0300, lacondesaaustin.com+

Scene: Vibrant restaurants nods to Mexico City from the heart of downtown.*

Brunch hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: Roasted carrot salad ($11), huevos Condesa with roasted chicken and fried eggs ($15), chilangos ($13), Cuban sandwich ($13)

LaV. 1501 E. Seventh St. 512-391-1888, lavaustin.com+

Scene: Refined French-influenced fine dining restaurant with several handsome and sun-dappled dining spaces.*

Brunch hours: 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday

Highlights: Honey-cheddar scone ($6), chicken liver pate ($15), duck rillettes ($14), buckwheat crepes ($15), Wagyu burger ($19)

Lamberts Downtown Barbecue. 401 W. Second St. 512-494-1500, lambertsaustin.com+

Scene: Classic old building colored in handsome wood fixtures gives the feel of an upscale saloon.

Brunch hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday

Highlights: Buffet includes fruit and berries, classic new potato salad, jicama and cilantro slaw, house-smoked salmon, roasted garlic and rosemary crusted prime rib, brown sugar and coffee rubbed natural brisket, coriander and maple crusted Berkshire pork ribs ($40).

Launderette. 2115 Holly St. 512-382-1599, launderetteaustin.com+

Scene: Eclectic and energized café with clean lines and bold flavors.*

Brunch hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: Buttermilk pancakes ($8), Bacon sticky bun ($6), asparagus Benedict with truffle Hollandaise ($18), pork and grits ($16), fried oyster Florentine ($14)

Little Barrel and Brown. 1716 S. Congress Ave. 512-582-1229, littlebarrelandbrown.com+

Scene: Fun and relaxed environment with a neighborhood American pub feel.

Brunch hours: 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: Fried chicken and waffles ($13), duck pastrami hash ($16), tofu scramble ($12), kale Caesar ($8), hamburger ($11)

Manuel’s. 310 Congress Ave. 512-472-7555; 10201 Jollyville Rd. 512-345-1042; manuels.com

Scene: Serving quality Mexican food for more than 30 years.

Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

Highlights: Huevos rancheros ($10), three-egg omelet ($10), grilled beef tenderloin with Mexican potatoes ($16)

Max’s Wine Dive. 207 San Jacinto Blvd. 512-904-0111, maxswinedive.com

Brunch hours: 10 a.m. Saturdays, 9 a.m. Sundays.

Highlights: Fried chicken and waffles, fried three-egg sandwich with bacon and Gruyère, a bowl of jalapeño cheese grits with pulled pork called the SXSW.

Moonshine. 303 Red River St. 512-236-9599, moonshinegrill.com

Scene: Historic home gives the feeling you’re dining at your grandparents’ house.*

Brunch hours: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday

Highlights: Buffet includes King Ranch casserole, migas, green egg scramble, green chile cheese grits, deviled eggs, spiral ham with pineapple chipotle glaze, white chocolate bread pudding ($17.95)

Mulberry. 360 Nueces St. 512-320-0297, mulberryaustin.com

Scene: Cozy neighborhood wine bar.*

Brunch hours:10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: BLT sandwich ($14), pork Benedict ($12), smoked salmon ($12)

North by Northwest Restaurant and Brewery. 10010 N. Capital of Texas Hwy. 512-467-6969; 5701 W. Slaughter Ln. 512-301-6969, nxnwbrew.com

Scene: Brew pub with a family-friendly vibe.

Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: Greek omelet ($8.95), brunch pizza ($8.95), poached eggs with shrimp-and-crab cakes ($10.95)

Odd Duck. 1201 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-433-6521, oddduckaustin.com+

Scene: Farm-to-table restaurant centered around a wood-burning stove offers taste of the country in middle of the city.*

Brunch hours: 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday

Highlights: Spring salad with strawberries, avocado, feta, and snow peas ($9), corn dog with chorizo verde ($8), pork flank taco ($9), kohlrabi tots with goat confit ($12), French toast with pig face ($10)

Olivia. 2043 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-804-2700, olivia-austin.com+

Scene: Fine dining restaurant takes on a sophisticated country vibe at brunch.*

Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: “Picnic-style” fried chicken ($18), Willie Nelson chicken-fried steak and eggs ($19), buttermilk pancakes ($11), shrimp and grits ($17)

Opal Divine’s. 3601 S. Congress Ave. 512-707-0237; 12709 N. Loop 1. 512-733-5353, opaldivines.com

Scene: Large beer bar with a taste for scotch.

Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. (MoPac location starts at 9 a.m.)

Highlights: Chicken fry and eggs ($12), French toast combo ($9), Austin omelet – with tomatoes, sprouts and avocado on a bed of white queso ($11)

Perla’s. 1400 S. Congress Ave. 512-291-7300, perlasaustin.com+

Scene: Expansive patio offers great people watching while eating seafood on landlocked South Congress Avenue.*

Brunch hours: 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: Wood-grilled oysters ($15), tomato and cucumbers gazpacho ($13), oak-grilled branzini scramble ($24), lobster omelet ($26)

Punch Bowl Social. 11310 Domain Dr. 512-368-9070, punchbowlsocial.com/austin

Scene: Playhouse for grown-ups.

Brunch hours: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily

Highlights: Blintz ($7), smoked brisket hash ($13), huevos rancheros ($12), cast iron burgers ($12)

Red’s Porch. 3508 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-440-7337, redsporch.com

Scene: Casual hang with a country vibe.*

Brunch hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: New Orleans beignets ($6.95), shrimp and grits ($9.95), steak and eggs ($13.95), migas ($7.95), fried chicken and waffles ($9.95)

Roaring Fork Stonelake

10850 Stonelake Blvd. 512-342-2700, roaringfork.com

Scene: Refined clubby vibe by the lake.

Brunch hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

Highlights: Green chile pork ($9), Elgin sausage migas ($10), honey-dipped fried chicken, biscuits and gravy ($13).

Russell’s Bistro. 1601 W. 38th St. 512-467-7877, russellsbistro.com+

Scene: Mellow and friendly neighborhood café.

Brunch hours: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: Banana-pecan pancakes ($9), crème brûlée French toast ($9), eggs Benedict ($10), Russell’s migas ($9).

Salt & Time. 1912 E. Seventh St. 512-524-1383, saltandtime.com+

Scene: Bright butcher shop with seated dining service throughout the day.*

Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

Highlights: Breakfast biscuit ($11), pork and waffles ($13), chilaquiles ($9), beef heart salad ($9)

Searsucker. 415 Colorado St. 512-394-8000, searsucker.com/austin

Scene: Cavernous yet comfortable spot with lounge and bar seating up front.

Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

Highlights: Cowboy steak and eggs ($18), mushroom scramble ($11), fried chicken ($11), pork belly hash ($15)

Second Bar + Kitchen. 200 Congress Ave. 512-827-2750, congressaustin.com/second+

Scene: Consistency and a good time in one of the best locations downtown.*

Brunch hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: Texas benedict with pulled pork shoulder ($16), bacon-pecan bread pudding ($12), veal meatball sub ($12), grilled pineapple and berry salad ($8)

South Congress Café. 1600 S. Congress Ave. 512-447-3905, southcongresscafe.com

Scene: A popular pit stop for Southwestern fare amidst the South Congress shopping madness.

Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

Highlights: Tuna tartare ($11), crab cakes ($14), very blue salad ($8), goat cheese and bacon omelet ($12), jalapeño venison meatloaf ($12)

St. Philip. 4715 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-358-7445, stpaustin.com+

Scene: Family-friendly restaurant with a large bar and Wonka-esque bakery attached.*

Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: Fried chicken and funnel cake ($15); fennel sausage pizza ($15), s’mores waffles ($9), quiche of the day ($9.50), brisket hash ($13)

Swift’s Attic. 315 Congress Ave. Suite 200. swiftsattic.com+

Scene: The boisterous clubby atmosphere gives way to a more relaxing vibe during daylight hours.

Brunch hours: 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday

Highlights: Turkey hash ($12); poached eggs and pork cheeks ($16); Korean BBQ strip steak with fried eggs ($22); forbidden rice bibimbap ($11), foie gras PB&J pancakes ($20)

Takoba. 1411 E. Seventh St. 512-628-4715, takobarestaurant.com

Scene: Lively Mexican food restaurant with large outdoor seating area.*

Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: Menudo ($7), molletes ($6), Baja ceviche ($8.50), migas ($7.50), chilaquiles ($7.50)

Taverna. 258 W. Second St. 512-477-1001, tavernabylombardi.com

Scene: A small taste of Italy, complete with sidewalk seating.*

Brunch hours: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Highlights: Shrimp and asparagus omelet ($11.50), vanilla French toast ($9.50), pan-fried eggs with sausage and truffle oil

Texas French Bread. 2900 Rio Grande St. 512-499-0544, texasfrenchbread.com+

Scene: Quaint bakery and café is a fixture in the campus area, with good reason.

Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: Ham and egg sandwich ($10); buckwheat crepe with ham, egg, and cheese ($12); pork Milanese ($14

Threadgill’s. 301 W. Riverside Dr. 512-472-9304; 6416 N. Lamar Blvd., 512-451-5440; threadgills.com

Scene: A taste of Old Austin. Bluegrass Brunch (North Lamar), Gospel Brunch (Riverside).

Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.

Highlights: Migas, grits, biscuits and gravy, omelet station, pancakes, fruit.

Trace. 200 Lavaca St. at the W Hotel Austin. 512-542-3660, traceaustin.com+

Scene: Sophistication with a sidewalk view in the Second Street District.*

Brunch hours: 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: Farmer’s breakfast ($16), croque madame ($16), shrimp and crab Louis sandwich ($16), golden malted waffle ($13)

Trio at the Four Seasons. 98 San Jacinto Blvd. 512-685-8300, triorestaurantaustin.com+

Scene: Exceptional service in a calm and classy dining room.*

Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday

Highlights: Amazing buffet includes crab claws, sushi, smoked fish, charcuterie, omelet station, cheese board, pastries, ceviche, eggs Benedict, pancakes, carving station, dessert station ($56, children $28)

Zocalo. 1110 West Lynn St. 512-472-8226, zocalocafe.com

Scene: Airy dining space befitting the clean approach to Mexican.*

Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Highlights: Chilaquiles ($8.79), huevos verde ($8.29), breakfast burrito ($8.29), granola bowl with fruit ($6.29)

Z’Tejas. 1110 W. Sixth St., 512-478-5355; 9400A Arboretum Blvd., 512-346-3506; 10525 W. Parmer Lane, 512-388-7772. ztejas.com

Brunch hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (Arboretum and Sixth Street). 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday (Parmer Lane).

Highlights: Barbacoa breakfast enchiladas w($10.75), chicken-and-potato hash ($9.50), migas ($9.50), sweet pancakes ($8)

 

Chi’lantro giving away free kimchi fries at noon downtown

What is Asana? I don’t really know. But chances are you will find out if you head down to Congress Avenue and Seventh Street between noon and 2 p.m., as the website has teamed with Chi’lantro to give away free kimchi fries. Chi’lantro opened its second brick-and-mortar this week. The restaurant is located at 5222 Burnet Rd.

TripAdvisor users name Texas #2 state for barbecue; rank Franklin #9 in the country

A tray at Franklin Barbecue. (Credit: Laura Skelding AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
A tray at Franklin Barbecue. (Credit: Laura Skelding AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Travel site TripAdvisor has culled and calculated reviews from its thousands of users to determine that Texas is the number two state for barbecue in the country. The state takes a back seat to Tennessee, maybe fitting as the state sent many here to fight for our independence. That or it’s blasphemy! Losing to a state that slathers sweet sauce on its ribs!

Rounding out the top 10 are Missouri (with Kansas nowhere to be found), North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, California, Virginia, and New York. Scoff at New York all you want, but they are stepping up their barbecue game. California, however? Pure insanity.

In addition to the top states, Trip Advisor also determined users’ highest-rated barbecue restaurants in America. Franklin Barbecue came in at number 9, which is something of a farce given the fact Aaron Franklin just became the first pitmaster to ever win a James Beard Award for best chef in his region. View the rest of the top 10 barbecue restaurants, according to TripAdvisor users, here.

As for the fine print, the ranking of states is “based on the quality of ratings and volume of reviews for barbecue restaurants, giving more weight to reviews written in the past year, as well as the total number and percentage of restaurants in each state that are classified as barbecue, giving more weight to those with a minimum of 100 reviews.” And the restaurant rankings are based on “establishments that have a minimum of 100 reviews and were ranked by quantity and quality, giving more weight to reviews written in the past year. Chain restaurants with more than 10 locations were excluded.”

 

 

New York Times critic pans Tex-Mex restaurant in Manhattan

The real Bob Armstrong Dip (right) at Matt's El Rancho. (Peter Yang AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
The real Bob Armstrong Dip (right) at Matt’s El Rancho. (Peter Yang AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Excellent New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells used his most recent review to explore Manhattan restaurant Javelina’s “authentic Tex-Mex.”

Wells begins his review with a wink and nod to (and smirk at) Texas exceptionalism :

“I like Texans. I love their food and their music and their boots. I admire their ability to tame landscapes that are hostile to human life. I respect how quick they are to stick up for their state and its culture. In fact, I may be slightly afraid of Texans. I have no desire to mess with them. I can read the bumper stickers.”

He goes on to say that the state pride had him a little worried about having to possibly say something critical about our national food. He closes his entry with a tongue-in-cheek sarcastic curtsy: “Lucky for me, I have only good things to say about Javelina.”

After that misdirect, he spends the next several hundred words mocking what sounds like a pretty miserable restaurant experience. A few outtakes:

On the obnoxious noise (to which some Austin diners may be able to relate): “It always sounds as if somebody were telling a woman at the far end of the table that he had just found $1,000 under the menu, and the woman were shouting back that Ryan Gosling had just texted and he’s coming to the restaurant in, like, five minutes!”

On the odd beauty (and apparent disaster at Javelina) that is queso: “One of Javelina’s calling cards, queso, is usually suggested by the servers when taking orders. Occasionally this Tex-Mex cheese fondue is served hot, but more often it arrives lukewarm, which prevents trips to the emergency room. The cooler temperature offers the added benefit of allowing a latex-like film to congeal on top, which provides an interesting contrast in texture with the liquefied cheese below.”

Wells notes that Javelina, opened earlier this year by Dallas native Matt Post, serves both a Bob Armstrong and a Mag Mud, obvious rips of the dishes from Matt’s El Rancho and Magnolia Café. It is not clear whether Javelina asked either restaurant

On the gruff protocol and lack of hospitality: “The best news of all, for anybody who hates waiting around to settle the tab: There is no need to ask for the check. It is dropped without warning as soon as the last dirty plate has been cleared, and sometimes even earlier.”

For Wells’ complete critique of the restaurant, check out the full review here. And, while we’re talking negative reviews from Wells, if you haven’t read his 2012 review of Guy Fieri’s Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Manhattan, check that out here.

 

 

 

 

Temporarily closed: Torchy’s Tacos at South First and El Paso streets

The Trailer Park taco from Torchy's Tacos. (Credit: Tina Phan/American-Statesman)
The Trailer Park taco from Torchy’s Tacos. (Credit: Tina Phan/American-Statesman)

Don’t panic. Torchy’s Tacos at 2809 S. First St. (at El Paso Street) has not closed permanently. The popular taco joint in the old South Austin building closed about 10 days ago for cleaning, but a spokesperson says they hope to re-open for business on Saturday (22), if not Monday (25).

Now open: Chi’lantro on Burnet Road     

Food from the Chi'Lantro food truck in 2010. Clockwise from bottom: a burger with sliced beef and spicy red sauce served with spice-dusted fries, a bottle of Jarritos fruit punch soda, a beef-and-cheese quesadilla with chili sauce and sesame seeds, and a burrito with pork, rice, egg and veggies. (Mike Sutter AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Food from the Chi’Lantro food truck in 2010. Clockwise from bottom: a burger with sliced beef and spicy red sauce served with spice-dusted fries, a bottle of Jarritos fruit punch soda, a beef-and-cheese quesadilla with chili sauce and sesame seeds, and a burrito with pork, rice, egg and veggies. (Mike Sutter AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Korean-Mexican fusion restaurant Chi’lantro opened at 5222 Burnet Rd. today. It is the second brick-and-mortar location of the popular food truck that claims to have invented kimchi fries. The restaurant is open Sunday-Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to midnight.