People from Austin are very unique. There’s the man who rides his bike around Town Lake in a thong, the health-nuts who do yoga on the paddle boards and the hipsters who wander SoCo. The restaurants of Austin have a quirkiness to match the variations of unique people in this city.
As an Austinite myself, I frequent cool new places to eat that others would consider “Austin-y”. I love trying new restaurants, but I sometimes forget some of my old favorites, some of which have been around longer than I have. If you ever feel out of place in Austin and want to immerse yourself amongst the locals to get a true sense of the town, try one of these unique “Austin-y” places that are sure to make you feel like you were born in raised in the live music capital of the world.
Magnolia Café is a 24 hour café that I have frequented with my friends and family since before I can remember. The staff is always friendly (even at 3 am) and fits the Austin scene perfectly. From enchiladas to bison burgers, the menu has everything to satisfy a craving for home-cooked comfort. For breakfast, the pancakes are a must (and to satisfy a sweet tooth, add some chocolate chips, it’s rock star).
Location: 2304 Lake Austin Blvd
Hours of Operation: Open 24/7
Shady Grove is one of those places that will make you feel like you need to go on a 5-mile run afterwards, but it is so worth it. If you have a craving for some quality comfort food in addition to some live music, look no further.
Location: 1624 Barton Springs Rd
Hours of Operation: Mon-Thurs 11am-10:30pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 10am-10:30pm
Matt’s’ El Rancho
If you are on the prowl for really good Tex-mex in Austin (and who isn’t?), Matt’s El Rancho is your one and only stop. Matt’s is famous for its Bob Armstrong queso, a blend of queso, guacamole and ground beef (possibly one of the most genius Mexican food inventions ever). You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. One of my favorite entrees is the tacos al carbon, which is fantastic in its simplicity. The enchiladas are also delightful.
Location: 2613 S. Lamar Blvd
Hours of Operation: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday, 11am-10pm, Friday and Saturday, 11am-11pm. Closed Tuesdays.
At Hula Hut, you get the combination of quality Tex-mex and an awesome view of Lake Austin. I love the quesadillas and the Hula Hut queso (because I always love me some queso), but others also rave about the pipeline enchiladas. Hula Hut is the perfect place if you are craving a margarita and a view of the lake.
Location:3825 Lake Austin Blvd
Hours of Operation: Sun-Thurs 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm
Gourdough’s Public House
The name says it all for this place. “Gordo” in the Spanish language means “fat”, and changing the end to “dough” in English just amplifies that this fried dough place will do some serious damage to your waistline. But that’s not to say that it isn’t amazing and totally worth it. Every concoction at Gourdough’s is a rich and delectable combination of flavors. If you are feeling extra adventurous, try the doughnut burger. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like, a burger with a doughnut as the bun. Your cholesterol levels may significantly spike… but hey, life is short, right?
Also, check out the newest Gourdough’s food truck location right behind the Co-op at 411 W. 23rd St.
Location: 2700 S. Lamar Blvd
Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri 11am-12am, Saturday 10am-1am, Sunday 10am-12am
Nau’s Enfield Drug
Nau’s has been around since 1951. It’s unique because it’s not just an old pharmacy where people still get their prescriptions, it’s also home to one of the best burgers and milkshakes in Austin that many people don’t even know exists. If you are ever in the Clarksville neighborhood, grab yourself a burger you won’t regret. Or, if you are around in the morning and don’t fancy an early morning burger, just grab some breakfast tacos.
Location: 1115 W. Lynn St
Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri 7:30am-4:15pm, Saturday 8am-4:15pm, Sunday 10:30am-3:30pm
Hut’s, how I love thee. Let me just put it this way. If you have a raging appetite or a killer hangover and the only cure for either of those is something hearty involving a decent amount of grease, look no further.
As soon as you walk into this burger joint/sport’s bar, you know you are in dude heaven. With the Longhorn memorabilia on the walls, the rustic atmosphere and kitchen and the line that sometimes extends out the front door, you know you’re in the right place. Hut’s burgers, which come in a wide variety of combinations, are huge and packed with flavor. Also, the onion rings are the size of your face and dangerously good. If your hangover is really kicking your butt, I like the good ol’ chili cheese fries cure. They are the best in Austin.
Location: 807 W. 6th St
Hours of Operation: Mon-Sun 11am-10pm