The Austin Food & Wine Alliance is a vital piece of Central Texas’ culinary community, fostering awareness and innovation statewide through grants, educational programming, and events.
When it comes to eating in Austin, the nonprofit’s Executive Director Mariam Parker is the one to ask. Luckily, we have an in. Here, our resident Luck Family foodie shares a comprehensive guide to the can't-miss spots for Austin eats:
“Texas barbecue is different than other BBQ regions in the U.S. Brisket is the big focus here. Sauce or no sauce is still a debate, depending on who you talk to.” Franklin Barbecue is almost as famous for its amazing fare as its near-constant line. Parker notes that La Barbecue is “a good second option but can have a long line, too.” Micklethwait Craft Meats offers “great barbecue out of a trailer.” LeRoy & Lewis“ utilizes the whole animal [and puts] creative spins on dishes, i.e. the cheddar cheesecake.” Or, head out to Lockhart, about 45 minutes south of Austin. “Make that trip for Black’s, Smitty’s, and Kreuz Market.”
Tacos in the morning are a must in Austin. According to Parker, “Institutions with breakfast tacos are a staple.” Try Veracruz All Natural for the Migas, or the La Reyna - “a delicious, healthy take on a breakfast taco.” Nixta is a great stop for “more vegetarian based tacos,” while Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ offers a “nice mix between tacos and barbecue”. Other stops of note include: El Primo, Pueblo Viejo, Discada, and Joe’s Bakery.
Austin Food & Wine Alliance has helped many local purveyors through their grant program, including Luck grant recipient Dai Due - a shop and restaurant dedicated to highlighting local food traditions. Take home a taste of Texas while supporting Austin’s culinary community. For cheese plate essentials, pick up Two Hives Honey at Antonelli’s, and hit the downtown Whole Foods Market for local goat cheese from Bee Tree Farm and amazing Confituras jams and salts. Satisfy your sweet tooth at the Srsly Chocolate shop in Taylor or vegan bakery Skull & Cakebones. Libations lovers can imbibe at Texas Keeper Cider, which has a tasting room; pick up local mead beverages at Meridian Hive Meadery; and enjoy high quality, single-site wines from The Grower Project.
Beloved divey institution Texas Chili Parlor is a must for this Texas treat.
Austin’s diverse and thriving beer scene has something for everyone: Check out Parker’s favorite local brewery, Hops & Grain; or Rainey Street’s Craft Pride, which only sells Texas beers. Blue Owl is the place to go for sours, while Zilker Brewing, Live Oak Brewing, and Jester King Brewery offer a variety of unique offerings as well.
If you’re tapped out on Texas wine, pull up to the bar at these Austin establishments: the Roosevelt Room for classic cocktails; an actual garage experience at Garage Bar; Rainey Street favorite Half Step; a speakeasy experience at Midnight Cowboy; Seven Grand whiskey bar; the low-key Whisler’s; and Donn’s Depot, a bar in a train car.
Celebrate Texas’ Czech heritage with this cherished staple at Kolache Shoppe.
Treaty Oak Distilling offers craft whiskey cocktails; Garrison Brothers are the kings of Bourbon; Desert Door handcrafts the hard-to-come by sotol spirit, and San Luis Spirits produces small-batch quality liquors.