24 hours to eat around Austin was the charge. A daunting task no doubt so where to start? Did I want to choose a certain palette, or a specific area of town? The restaurant scene in Austin has gone up more than a few pants sizes as the size of our city continues to grow, it’s become “gastronomical”! In Austin, there are restaurants to satisfy every taste, craving, and budget. Holding the belief that the key ingredients to a successful food tour are curiosity and an appetite, off we went.
Wake Up! I began the day by heading to the hip and cool East Side to Try Hard Coffee Roaster. “We work hard so you don’t have to.”, is their mantra. They serve micro-batch roasted coffee and made from scratch treats including homemade tortillas and sourdough bread. Beyond the food, they had me at vinyl with a curated soundtrack playing from open to close on a rockin’ sound system.
Breakfast Baby! Staying on the East Side to hit Sawyer and Company a restaurant that pays tribute to their predecessor, Arkie's. In 1948, Faye “Arkie” Sawyer opened his diner serving hearty breakfasts and blue-plate specials all day. For over 60 years Arkie served Austinites with the motto, “Where good food, friends and fair prices meet.” In the same vintage building, Sawyer and Co. carries on the tradition today with a full bar and the best food choices from East Austin to New Orleans.
Day Drinkin’! I must admit it, it’s a thing in ATX. On this hot day we head toward our favorite hideaway just off downtown, backing up to Shoal Creek, Irene’s. This classic American restaurant and bar named after one of the partners grandmothers is described as a “drinking, smoking, gambling woman with an immense heart and a keen understanding of true hospitality.” The restaurant fits the bill and is known for great food and better cocktails.
Truckin’! Food trucks and Austin fit together like peanut butter and jelly, and peas and carrots. It’s the great weather and the social gene of Austinites that act as the fertilizer for our Food Truck Parks. The convenience of having so many choices in one spot is helpful when feeding a crowd. A favorite spot is the Rainey Street Food Truck Lot. A walk down Rainey Street has my appetite revved back up and ready to try a few trucks for a late lunch.
Whining is Allowed! I’m stuffed, but the tour must go on. After careful consideration and loosening of my pants I head toward Winebelly. Named one of the, “Top Wine Bars in the US” by Food and Wine magazine, this south Austin tapas-and-wine destination has over 150 wines by the bottle with none costing over $99. The menu nods toward Spain with many eclectic selections. The vibe is always Austin laid-back-cool.
Midnight Snack! There’s been only one stop for a midnight snack for true Austinites since 1948 - Mrs. Johnson’s Bakery on Airport Blvd. What to make of a donut shop that doesn’t start baking until 7:30pm? Obviously, they know their crowd and they’ve perfected the late night hot, dripping, sweet, goodness that brings complete joy to your senses after hours. It’s the perfect exclamation mark to punctuate a self-indulgent day.