Pride of Texas-Austin Dining
If you’re new to Austin, especially if you’re new to Texas, you must introduce yourself to Tex-Mex fare. Chuy’s has several locations around town, as does Torchy’s Tacos. Check out El Arroyo too, where the sign in front of the downtown location offers a daily dose of humor and often insight to local politics. Fonda San Miguel delivers an upscale meal from Mexico’s interior. And the popular Maudie’s, VIVO, El Mercado, Trudy’s, Z’Tejas, and Matt’s El Rancho are only the tip of the iceberg. Tex- Mex is best served up with an ice-cold beer or a margarita. Just sayin’ . . .
Once you’ve mastered Tex-Mex, get Texas barbecue on your radar. County Line has two Austin locations, and both will satisfy your heartiest appetite. For years, musicians have frequented Sam’s BarB-Cue after gigs, and Austin music legend Stevie Ray Vaughan was a longtime patron. The Salt Lick in ripping Springs is worth the drive south of town, as is Black’s Barbecue in Lockhart—recognized by both the Texas Senate and the Texas House of Representatives for their part in Texas history. Also in Lockhart, Kreuz Market serves up your BBQ piping hot on a sheet of butcher paper. Roll up your sleeves and dig in.
Sixth Street, the heart of Austin’s entertainment district, is known for bars, music, and nightlife, and it does not disappoint. Smack in the center is Old Pecan Street Café, one of the best ways to enjoy Austin at its finest. The limestone walls were originally part of a livery dating back to 1872 and previous tenants include Chinese laundries, a saloon, and a drugstore.
Hut’s Hamburgers is an Austin institution worth visiting, as are the Cedar Door, the Tavern, The Oasis, and Hyde Park Bar and Grill. Toss those names around, and you’ll start sounding like a local. Whole Foods’ flagship store in Austin offers an immense selection for healthful dining and a charming outdoor patio space right on the edge of downtown. In the wintertime, take the kids to the ice rink on the roof. Central Market, with its playground, green space, and live music, serves up delicious, healthy options, too. Cook your own tasty meals from these stores’ bounties, or check out Sprouts, Natural Grocers, and Sun Harvest.