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).