BACK TO TOP

2003ReadersFood

Best 24 Hour/Late Night
Magnolia Cafe

Rumor has it Kent and Diana were just hoping for a short-term solution to a fabric surplus when they opened the Mag. But once those tables got covered in the crazy collection of ends-of-bolt cloth, people started sitting at those tables, the place filled up around the clock, and the rest is history. The South Congress location is excellent for watching movie stars, rock stars, and aspiring types late at night. The Lake Austin location has a different but equally cool vibe. May we recommend breakfast tacos with chipotle and a short stack of gingerbread pancakes? (Might as well get some queso while you're waiting.)

Magnolia Cafe South, 1920 S. Congress, 512/445-0000, www.magnoliacafeaustin.com

Magnolia Cafe, 2304 Lake Austin Blvd., 512/478-8645, www.magnoliacafeaustin.com

Best Bakery
Upper Crust Bakery

For more than 22 years, the Upper Crust has offered its fresh, flaky goodness in many shapes, including fruit tartlets, rich cakes, artisan breads, and pies. A great place to gather for breakfast with friends, its wholesome, neighborhood-bakery appeal is oh-so-deliciously Austin.

Upper Crust Bakery, 4508 Burnet Rd., 512/467-0102, www.theuppercrustbakery.com

Best Breakfast
Kerbey Lane Cafe

Whether it's a full stack drenched in syrup or a hearty cup of oatmeal, a Kerbey Lane breakfast inspires the type of appetites that are as unlimited as the variety of choices on their menu. We recommend any of their delicious omelettes, avaliable with tofu and plenty of cheese! Don't forget a side of fruit or bacon to complete your feast. Their around-the-clock menu is great at any hour and even better for those who get there early.

Kerbey Lane Cafe, 3704 Kerbey, 512/451-1436, www.kerbeylanecafe.com

Kerbey Lane Cafe, 13435 Hwy. 183 N. #415, 512/258-7757, www.kerbeylanecafe.com

Kerbey Lane Cafe, 2606 Guadalupe, 512/477-5717, www.kerbeylanecafe.com

4 more locations

Best Caterer
Word of Mouth

Again. Year after year. Scrumptious goodies presented with irresistible style are the hallmark of Word of Mouth. Many of their items are often-requested favorites, but the main thing Word of Mouth dishes out is excellence. From intimate dinners to magnificent weddings to enormous charity events, they are the last Word in catering.

Word of Mouth, 2501 N. Lamar, 512/472-9500, www.wordofmouthcatering.com

Best Coffehouse
TIE: Spider House, Little City

While both local legendary koffee klatches have delicious drinks and unique atmospheres, each has its own select comforts. For wireless Internet access with your cup of joe and the oasis of their outdoor patio, try Spider House. For people-watching to distract from those textbooks, try Little City. With locations within walking distance of campus, both provide a perfect place to study or hook up after class.

Spider House Patio Bar & Cafe, 2908 Fruth, 512/480-9562, www.spiderhousecafe.com

Little City, 916 Congress, 512/476-2489, www.littlecity.com

Best Diner
Star Seeds Cafe

Star Seeds. The all-night institution, bewilderment to the uninitiated, scourge of the Sunday church crowd, server of the drunk and very drunk alike. A just, yet merciless, eatery – no, entity. Migas, you are good and plentiful. Bacon cheeseburger, we are awed by your fortitude. Breakfast taco – you are legend. Your minions strike swiftly, serving you 24 hours a day. Yea, come humbly to the altar, but expect no burnt offering.

Star Seeds Cafe, 3101 Interstate 35 Frontage Rd, 512/478-7107, www.starseedscafe.com

Best Home Delivery
TIE: Austin's Pizza, EatOutIn

We’re pleased as pepperoni and extra cheese to know you like your pizza local. Austin’s Pizza is an entirely homegrown affair but four years young, with a scrappy attitude and sumptuous pies (offering old standbys and exotics like broccoli, peanuts, and soy cheese) – and did we mention their delivery folks are the cutest in town? What if you’re not in the mood for 'za, but hate the thought of jockeying for a parking space or an interminable wait for a two-top? Why bother when the best seats in the house are on your couch, and the best food in town is but a phone call – better yet, an Internet click – away? That’s all it takes to get the likes of Chuy’s, Hula Hut, and Bombay Grill (among 2 dozen-plus local restaurants to choose from) delivered to your door, by our tie winner, EatOutIn. Better yet, the delivery drivers won’t laugh at you in your jammies; they’ve been doing this since 1986, so you can bet they’ve seen it all before.

Austin's Pizza, 7301 RR 620 N., 512/795-8888, www.austinspizza.com

EatOutIn, 4131 Spicewood Springs Rd. Ste. N-4, 512/346-9990, www.eatoutin.com

Austin's Pizza, 1817 S. Lamar, 512/795-8888, www.austinspizza.com

7 more locations

Best Local Food Trend
Breakfast Tacos

Can something so entrenched in Austin's food culture as breakfast tacos really be called a "trend"? We're not sure, but our fair city's overwhelming abundance of cheap, tasty breakfast tacos is invariably one of the first things expatriates miss about Austin.

Best Lunch-Hour Spot
Unclear Winner:

We said it before, we'll say it again: Freebirds is the best thing that ever came out of College Station. The joint that offers you burritos the size of your head (or bigger even) apparently also mandates that all new employees get heavily tattooed and pierced during orientation. Everyone is always in a good mood there. The Statue of Liberty busting out of the wall clutching a burrito is a nice, subtle touch. And their patented Bad Ass BBQ sauce is just that.

Best Neighborhood Grocery
TIE: Wheatsville Co-op, Fresh Plus

The secret, of course, to being a great neighborhood grocery is having a neighborhood that wants one – a store that responds to its customers' needs, not the other way around. Both Wheatsville and Fresh Plus have done the job for Austin's urban pockets for more than a generation.

Wheatsville Food Co-op, 3101 Guadalupe, 512/478-2667, www.wheatsville.coop

Fresh Plus, 1221 West Lynn, 512/477-5574, www.freshplusaustin.com

Wheatsville Food Co-op, 4001 S. Lamar, 512/814-2888

3 more locations

Best Produce
Central Market

Part of the HEB family, Central Market has two locations with two wonderlands of produce in Austin. We counted 30 kinds of apples, 20-plus kinds of chile peppers, and more than 10 kinds of mushrooms. Not only do they have the variety and size to beat most other produce sections, the freshness is consistently better than their competitiors and is definitely worth the money.

Central Market North, 4001 N. Lamar, 512/206-1000, www.centralmarket.com

Central Market South, 4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-4300, www.centralmarket.com

Best Special-Occasion Restaurant
Jeffrey's

If we could eat at Jeffrey's every day, we definitely would. The candle-light ambience combined with the helpful waitstaff and magnificent culinary creations make for one hell of a special occasion. And man oh man ... those Crispy Oysters are just to die for. Dress up or dress down, and enjoy this gem of a restaurant.

Jeffrey's, 1204 W. Lynn, 512/477-5584, www.jeffreysofaustin.com

Best Waitstaff
Chez Zee

The slacker service common in many Austin restaurants has no place at Chez Zee. With a reputation like this Austin legend's, business is hoppin' most of the time. The waitstaff here exudes a casual elegance that is softened a bit by genuinely eager, friendly attitudes. They may dress like other waiters, but they might as well be wearing wings and halos when they're dishing out that heavenly brunch – with such items as the Crème Brûlée French Toast – you'll think you've died and gone to heaven.

Chez Zee, 5406 Balcones, 512/454-2666, www.chez-zee.com

Readers: Entertainment
Readers: Kids
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)