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Thread: Austin mom and pop restaurants

  1. #1
    Spinning Toe
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    Austin mom and pop restaurants

    While going to a used furniture place in south Austin a few weeks ago I drove around the neighborhood and found a mom and pop diner. It was awesome. I know many of you folks are Austin locals and I would like some recommendations for good places to eat.
    I'll give up the goods for New Braunfels and put in a couple of my faves in Columbus, OH.

    New Braunfels: The Gruene Onion Grill and Huisache Grill. Both are pushing towards upscale. In New Braunfels upscale means the deluxe entree is about $20. Sadly, there are not any diners in NB that I like.

    Columbus: Nancy's and Korean Restaurant. Both are on High Street. Nancy's is in Clintonville and Korean Restaurant is by OSU just north of Lane. I miss both of these on a daily basis. I also miss being able to walk out my front door and be sitting down watching a movie in Studio 35 in two minutes, but thats another topic. They have a good beer selection there too.

    It takes about 45 minutes to get to Austin. But, for a good local eatery I think its worth it.

  2. #2
    Spinning Toe
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    OH man! Austin has SO many good places to eat! I don't live there, but I often get drunk there!

    Let's see:

    Hickory Street Grill - Awesome breakfast buffet and soups. Huge amount of options on the buffet. Just wonderful. Go here on Sunday morning when you are hung over.

    El Arroyo - Mexican food that is o so good. This is a popular hangout, so if you are into that sort of thing, go on Friday or Saturday nite. If not, go anytime. The food is always great, and the Corona is always cold.

    Sorry, I don't ever drive, so I don't even know the addresses on these. A quick whitepages.com search should yield gold.

    With the recent bastardization of Austin's food scene by EVIL corporate Amerika, these little gems are getting harder and harder to find. Enjoy them while they last!

  3. #3
    Spinning Toe
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    San Marcos is right up the road from New Braunfels, and has some good places. Gil's Broiler down on the square comes to mind first. Good burgers, and make sure to get some Manske Rolls.

    If you want some good New York style Italian up here in Austin, Reale's Cafe in NW Austin is worth a try. I am very partial to their calzone and pizza.

    Artz Rib House is the best place I have found for ribs here in Austin, and I have tried all I can find. It's down on Lamar in South-central Austin. They usually have live music in the evenings.

    While it's not in true Austin, Pecan Street Deli here in Pflugerville is REALLY good. I consider it one of the hidden treasures around here. The owner works the kitchen, and he always looks through the serving window to say hi and chat with people while cooking up a storm. You get the feeling he just genuinely enjoys what he does. Don't know if you can get any more mom and pop than that. They have everything from breakfast tacos to steak and eggs in the morning, and everything from Reubens to Burgers the rest of the day. You'd be hard pressed to spend more than $8/person in there too.

  4. #4
    Broad Band
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    Quote Originally Posted by CounterMeasure
    If you want some good New York style Italian up here in Austin, Reale's Cafe in NW Austin is worth a try. I am very partial to their calzone and pizza.
    Yeah, Reale's is good.

    Austin has many mom and pop Vietnamese restaurants. I like Triumph on Spicewood. Another good choice: Kim Phung on north Lamar.

  5. #5
    New Romantic RickH's Avatar
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    There was a place called Las Manitas downtown that served great eggs and chorizo. I'm not sure if they're still there or not.

  6. #6
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    Another good place for NY-style pizza and antipasto called Home Slice Pizza, well recommended (http://www.homeslicepizza.com/index.html), located in South Austin (on South Congress).

    --- Alan

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by King Lupid
    Hickory Street Grill - Awesome breakfast buffet and soups. Huge amount of options on the buffet. Just wonderful. Go here on Sunday morning when you are hung over.
    We went here for breakfast when we were passing through Austin last December. They had the best french toast I've ever had. Only a few days earlier, I declared the french toast at Rather Sweet in Fredericksburg to be the best I ever had. Texas knows its french toast.

    We were tired after a long day of driving & seeing a few sights around Austin, but after coming back to the hotel we decided to go out again to try Amy's Ice Cream. I had a hot fudge sundae made with their Mexican Vanilla ice cream, it was fantastic. It made it worth braving Austin's bizarro highways and frontage roads.

  8. #8
    Spinning Toe
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    Thanks guys. This list should keep me happy for the next few months.

  9. #9
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    Austin I think has some of the more bizarro highways and frontage roads in all of Texas. Having to get off a major cross-artery just to get onto an interstate (183 to I-35) is just annoying as hell (but thankfully not one I have to take anymore since the tollroad opened). Then there are the two-lane highways with stoplights (360) and double-decker areas (I-35 downtown). The on-ramps/off-ramps to the frontage roads are an extremely eclectic mix of super-short or extremely long, depending on where you are.

    I don't know of that many mom & pop places honestly, I haven't been looking around hard enough. There's a Burger House that just opened up in northwest Austin which has great burgers and very good fries.

    --- Alan

  10. #10
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    Is that the place that's famous for its seasoned salt? At Mesa and Spicewood Springs? I work about 15 seconds from there.

  11. #11
    World's End Supernova
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    Man, lots of Austin folks on Qt3. I'm going down to hobnob with Dell in a month, anything else to see/do besides all of these restaurants?

    H.

  12. #12
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    You can slowly drive past Warren Spector and Richard Garriott's houses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPR
    Is that the place that's famous for its seasoned salt? At Mesa and Spicewood Springs? I work about 15 seconds from there.
    That's it. Technically I suppose it's not seasoned salt (which is typically loaded with, what, paprika, tumeric, etc.) it's more of a garlic-salt/pepper mix I think. Anyway it's not bad at all, and definitely not as strong as say... Safeco Field garlic fries (lol). And they give you a giant heaping of it no matter what size you order.

    Word of warning though, it's a small, cramped space and gets busy very fast at lunch time. They do have a patio but not sure if they light the burners in the daytime or not (they ought to).

    Speaking of famous houses, reminded me of another restaurant - The Oasis. Not really mom & pop, but it's certainly one of the more unique establishments around (and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg). Not nearly as pleasant in the winter months since a lot of it is outdoor patios high up, but still, worth at least one visit at some point. A lot of mansions are nearby (including Garriott's current place), and you can see Chris Roberts' place across the Lake (among others).

    --- Alan

  14. #14
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    ... in fact I think I'm gonna head over to Burger House for lunch today.

    --- Alan

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    Skishores Waterfront Cafe, and since we're giving Garriot's Britannia Manor as a point of reference, it's about 7 minutes down the road from it. Go down City Park Road and then turn left on Pearce Road at the "SKISHORES/GREENSHORES" sign pointing left. Follow it until you go down a steep 10% incline as you near the water, and pull into the parking lot instead of following the road.

    Either plug the lat/long directly into maps.google.com: 30.3335 -97.8232 or go to www.skishores.com for a more stylized map.

    They're open March - October, and on warmish days in Winter. Really good burgers. Get the Border Burger that comes with guacomole and sauteed onions & jalapenos. Yuuummm.

    p.s.-I drove around these roads when I first got to Austin over 9 years ago. I was just driving randomly to see where I'd end up. There was nothing in those parts except for forest and a few construction sites. Now it's all $500,000+ houses and a golf course.

  16. #16
    Broad Band
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Dunkin
    Speaking of famous houses, reminded me of another restaurant - The Oasis. Not really mom & pop, but it's certainly one of the more unique establishments around (and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg). Not nearly as pleasant in the winter months since a lot of it is outdoor patios high up, but still, worth at least one visit at some point.
    Have they built the Oasis back up? It burned down a year or two ago and they'd been serving food out on the patio, but despite its nice location eating outside sucks, whether in summer or winter.

  17. #17
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    Yeah, they rebuilt the Oasis. All the inside seating is back. When I was out by Lake Travis in September, the lake level was scary low. Like 40 feet low. I hope the rain we've been having helps raise it a bit.

    http://www.ph.utexas.edu/~gavenda/2006.GIF

    Hmmm, nope. The lake is still missing several billion gallons of water.
    Last edited by Lunch of Kong; 02-09-2007 at 01:16 PM.

  18. #18
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    From what I saw on the news the lake levels are still like 50% below normal, and that was after one of the wettest Januarys on record.

    Yeah the Oasis is built back up, however. I don't mind eating outside on that deck at all in the summer or bumper seasons. And Tues/Wed in Austin was just gorgeous - shorts weather.

    --- Alan

  19. #19
    Spinning Toe
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    I am in San Marcos every Friday morning and I went to a place that appears to be a bought out Kentucky Fried Chicken. The name is Taqueria La Fonda (forgive my recall and spelling).

    Good god almighty that place is good. I start thinking about eating there every Wednesday.

  20. #20
    6th Grade Spelling Bee Loser World's End Supernova Rimbo's Avatar
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    1. Rudy's BBQ.

    2. WanFu, out on Oltorf near the AMD facility. WARNING: The difference between the quality of food between the a la carte menu and the "lunch/dinner specials" menu is night and day; order off the a la carte menu and enjoy some of the finest soft-shelled crab, etc. you've ever had; order off the "specials" menu, and expect to die of tuberculosis three days later.

  21. #21
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    Rudy's is a chain now, with franchises n'stuff. Can't call it mom and pop.

    Screw Wanfu. That's for college students who live down south and have nowhere else to eat at 3 in the morning.

    For some really really good chinese seafood, Go to T&S Seafood on North Lamar. Closes at 1am, and this is the place that other chefs go to eat when they close their restaurants for the night. You have to get Shrimp with Salt and Pepper at least once. The hostess always reminds me about their dimsum during weekend lunch time, but I keep forgetting to go.

  22. #22
    Spinning Toe
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Wong
    Rudy's is a chain now, with franchises n'stuff. Can't call it mom and pop.
    And I won't call Rudy's good either. There is way too much deviation in the quality of the product. Sometimes you go and it's pretty good brisket. Other times you go and just down right sucks.

  23. #23
    6th Grade Spelling Bee Loser World's End Supernova Rimbo's Avatar
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    Well, I left Austin in '96, so things have changed, I guess. Although Rudy's was never really "good" back then, either. Just greasy!

  24. #24
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    You can still ask for your cut of brisket to be "Mucho Negro", though.

  25. #25
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    My wife has corrected my recollection, and it was the Kerbey Lane Cafe where we had breakfast, not the Hickory Street Grill. Website: http://www.kerbeylanecafe.com/

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    Oh yeah. If nobody has mentioned the Kerbey Lane Cafe yet, it's good.

    If you're up north, the 620 Cafe (on, uh, 620 just west of 35) has some good food. They are only open for breakfast and lunch.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPR
    Oh yeah. If nobody has mentioned the Kerbey Lane Cafe yet, it's good.

    If you're up north, the 620 Cafe (on, uh, 620 just west of 35) has some good food. They are only open for breakfast and lunch.
    Ah, Kerby Lane - had breakfast there last week for the first time. Was pretty good, the eggs benedict was decent but probably coulda had more ham on there. Was definitely not the best I ever had.. will have to try out their normal breakfast dishes. Ate at the one on 360 and.. well, near Spicewood.

    --- Alan

  28. #28
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    That's the one on 183. 360 is 7 minutes away from there. I blame the booze!

  29. #29
    New Romantic
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    I enjoy Kerbey lane, but it isn't particularly special.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Wong
    That's the one on 183. 360 is 7 minutes away from there. I blame the booze!
    I always get the two confused.

    --- Alan

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