You could spend every weekend for a year eating your way through Austin and still have the unshakable feeling you’ve barely scratched the surface of the city’s unique cuisine. That shouldn’t stop you from giving it a go, though. Take break from the tacos and give one of these exceptional, under-the-radar eateries in the Texas capital a try.
5015 Duval St, Austin, TX 78751
You ain’t had biscuits and gravy until you’ve had Biscuits & Groovy. This small food truck in the Duval neighborhood attracts round the block lines for its biscuit-based breakfast and brunch concoctions. It’s so good, the owner Jon could probably charge double for disco-themed delights like the Donner Summer and The Village Biscuits.
What to order? The Johnny Hash comprises of three soft and fluffy buttermilk biscuits, topped with white gravy home fries, sausage pieces, crushed maple bacon, cheese and chives. We advise throwing some scrambled eggs on it too because… y’know, why not? Total cost? $10.
902 E. Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX
When you see a line of 100 people at 10am in near-freezing temperatures you know this is going to be good, but THIS good? Wow. The beef brisket at La Barbeque is the most flavorful and juiciest you can sample and the world-class pork ribs aren’t far behind. This food truck just east of I-35 is open from 11 until everything is gone so get there early. It’s well worth the wait and they tap a complementary keg to keep everyone happy while they wait.
What to order: Get everything, but don’t miss out on the brisket and ribs. The ribs sell out fast and when they’re gone, they’re gone. Don’t forget the sides either. The ‘slaw and potato salad are out of this world.
1950 IH35 South, Austin, TX
One of Austin’s more distinctive eateries, The Whip In pub and convenience store offers South East Asian-inspired cuisine with a Texan twist. It’s a great place for snacking on the small bowl appetizers and enjoying one of the 72 craft brews on tap (including the odd cask ale selection). There are daily dinner specials too and the menu is veggie and vegan friendly. With the regular live music acts, it’s an awesome place to take your date for a relaxed and unique experience.
What to order? The vegetarian "Dhaba" bowls or the Dal sliders served with warm naan bread and fries. Double win.
2024 S Lamar Boulevard, Austin, TX 78704
Barley Swine in South Austin might offer the most unique, creative and imaginative menu in the city. From the caviar tacos to the beet trifle, every one of the 12 courses challenged perceptions just as much as the taste buds. There’s intense flavor concoctions with endless depth combined with friendly staff and a casual vibe. Try to get a Captain’s seat overlooking the kitchen; it’s fascinating to watch these guys work.
What to order? It’s a tasting menu, which changes daily, depending on the locally sourced ingredients available. Open your mind and dive in. It’s $75 a head, but it’s quite an experience. A drink pairing is also available, and highly recommended.
407 Colorado St, Austin, TX 78701
After an evening in the iconic bars and music venues on downtown 6th Street, Frank is a great way to round off the night while keeping the party going. Open until 2am, it offers awesome artisan gourmet hot dogs (all the sausage is made in house) in a casual setting. There’s a great beer list and coffee selection depending on where you’re at in the evening. President Eisenhower once said: “It seems to me that some people want champagne and caviar when they should have a beer and hot dog." Amen to that.
What to order? The Notorious P.I.G. is smoked pork sausage, topped with jalapeño, mac & cheese and BBQ sauce. The corned beef hash waffle fries with sauerkraut are out of this world, too.
Downtown, South Lamar, South Austin (Trailer)
Gordough’s has three locations in Austin each serving up donut-based cuisine. So there’s a selection of sandwiches and burgers with donut buns and entrees like meatloaf, chicken fried steak, pulled pork and fried chicken, all served on top of a piping hot… yep, you guessed it… donut. Then there are the desserts.
What to order: When you visit the trailer location in South Austin, have a Son of A Peach donut. The decadent dessert, served hot, comes with cream cheese icing, spiced peach filling, and a cake mix topping. Big enough for two, but you’ll be fighting over the last bite.