Talk About Restaurants
The land of “culinary startup” seems to be Austin, Texas – we’re not just the live music capital, nor just silicon hills…
The Statesman just released a list of the top 50 restaurants. I’ve been to (almost) all of them, and I only take issue with one or two of the ones on their list. And yet… this just scratches the surface in Austin.
In the area of burgers alone:
- No mention of Phil’s Ice House (the 78704 please)?
- Ski Shores (border burger is the way to go)?
- P.Terry’s? (Austin’s version of in-n-out)
- Mighty Fine (Red Yeller White)?
- Hat Creek Burger?
- Top Notch? (secret sauce was once almost lost!)
- Yume Burger?
Don’t get me started on steak places… And in the land of TexMex… Almost no mentions, so I’ll list a few that veer into TexMex and tacos:
- Peached Tortilla. Yes, it is that good. Get the Banh Mi slider or taco.
- Taco Deli. Get the Deli Belly. Do not pass go. Or get the Cowboy taco.
- Torchy‘s. Like the black sheep of the taco family, but man they’re good. Ace of Spades (ask for it wrapped to go, trust me) is amazing.
- South Congress Cafe. Best fusion Tex Mex ever. Ask for the carne asada even if it isn’t on the menu, its that good.
- Garridos – excellent high-end tacos. And atmosphere. And service.
- Chuys. Oh sure, they’re big and public now, but they haven’t screwed up the food – its still awesome. Whatever your order for dinner, try the tres leches for dessert. You’ll thank me.
- The above are my regular choices – and there are dozens more, no exaggeration at all.
Oh sure. But what about BBQ? Franklin’s deserves to be on that top-50 list. But how do you not mention:
- Salt Lick
- JMueller’s BBQ
- Blue Ribbon BBQ
- Rudy’s BBQ
- and honorable mention: every BBQ place in Lubbock :)
I almost forgot diners, an Austin specialty!
- Threadgills – perhaps the most historic
- Maudie’s – a local favorite
- Kerbey Lane
- Magnolia Cafe
- 24 Diner
- Just the beginning…. how do you categorize Max’s Wine Dive?
Almost every one of these restaurants started as a family endeavor. Often they risked everything they had to start these restaurants – mortgaging house and savings to get that restaurant off the ground. These are great startup stories. More power to them!
And speaking of great non-tech startups, I’m off to the Red Velvet Events 10-year anniversary party downtown in Austin (at the Rattle Inn, a great venue).